Internationalisation of the curriculum: What does it really mean?

‘Internationalisation of the Curriculum – what does
it really mean?’
11.00am -12.00 noon
Liverpool University
20 June 2011
Associate Professor Betty Leask
ALTC National Teaching Fellow
University of South Australia
The meaning of IoC is ‘not always
• ‘While the appeal of the idea of
internationalization of the curriculum
appears ubiquitous it is not always clear
what it means and how it might represent
a new way of prioritizing and organizing
learning’ (Rizvi and Lingard 2010, p. 173)
• an ‘educational reform’ that requires that
we think differently about the universality
of knowledge (Mestenhauser, 1998, p. 21)
• Boy with moon in cart
‘Frontiers’ in IoC
• the borders between ‘teaching’, ‘learning’ and
• the point where students and teachers engage
with each other and with curriculum content and
learning takes place
• the ‘regions at the edge of the settled area’,
outside the comfort zone of students and staff
A National Teaching Fellowship
Internationalisation of the Curriculum in Action
‘How can we internationalise the curriculum in this
discipline area in this particular institutional
context and ensure that, as a result, we improve
the learning outcomes of all students?’
• Funded by the Australian Learning and
Teaching Council (ALTC)
• Aug 2010-Nov2011
• What does internationalisation of the
curriculum mean in theory?
• What does it look like in action in
different disciplines?
• What are some of the blockers and
• Where can you start? And then what?
What does it mean in
‘Process’ and ‘product’
• An internationalised curriculum (product)
will purposefully develop the international
and intercultural perspectives (skills,
knowledge and attitudes) of all students
• IoC is the incorporation of an
international and intercultural dimension
into the preparation, delivery and
outcomes of a program of study (process)
(Leask 2009)
It’s about more than content and it has
a discipline perspective
• ‘internationalising curricula is not just
about content, it also requires changes in
pedagogy to encourage students to
develop critical skills to understand
forces shaping their discipline and
challenge accepted viewpoints’
(Zimitat 2008)
An internationalised curriculum will
• engage students with internationally informed
research and cultural and linguistic diversity
• purposefully develop defined international and
intercultural perspectives
• progressively assess learning outcomes
• prepare students to deal with uncertainty by
opening their minds and developing their ability
to think both creatively and critically
• move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries
and dominant paradigms
International and intercultural
• the knowledge, skills and self awareness
students need to participate effectively as
citizens and professionals in a global
society characterised by rapid change and
increasing diversity
• in the context of the discipline and the
Some myths about IoC
1. It’s about teaching international students
2. We just need to include a few comparative,
international case studies
3. It’s about adapting our teaching to make it
accessible to offshore students
4. It’s about adapting the curriculum for offshore
delivery (contextualisation/localisation)
5. If we could get more students to go on
exchange or study abroad we’d have an
internationalised curriculum
6. It only concerns the formal curriculum
IoC doesn’t happen in a vacuum
• Global, national and institutional contexts
are important
• Knowledge in and across the disciplines is
• The formal and informal curriculum are
both important
The informal curriculum
• various extra-curricular activities and
support services that help to define the
culture of the campus
• ‘hidden’ messages
• the total student experience
IoC is related to
• the cultural foundations of knowledge and
practice within the discipline and related
professions – this often means
challenging commonly held beliefs
• students and staff engaging productively
with difference, including different ways of
thinking, both within and beyond the
IoC is related to
• learning activities focused on the
progressive development in all students
of international and intercultural skills,
integrated across a program of study
• assessment of student progress towards
achievement of international and
intercultural learning outcomes.
Can be related to the development of
graduate attributes
• Statements of generic graduate attributes. E.g:
(1) Communication ... across professional and cultural
(2) Analysis and inquiry ...
(3) Problem-solving novel situations
(4) Working ... with others
(5) Professionalism and social responsibility ...for
benefit of others and the environment
• What do these mean for global careers (in the
context of the discipline)?
Characteristics of an internationalised
• Disciplinary driven
– From rationale to outcomes
• Context sensitive
– Multiple layers
• Future oriented
– Critical perspective on the past and present
• Founded on excellent teaching
– ‘Aligned’ and student focussed
Examples of IoC in
Learning outcomes for nurses in a globalised world
• Ability to co-operate and collaborate in joint efforts
across national and cultural boundaries
• Intercultural communicative competence required for
provision of professional health care to patients from
diverse cultural backgrounds
• Ability to obtain and utilise ideas and experiences from
different parts of the world
• Ability to function within the healthcare organisations of
the future
(Sandstrom 1998)
Public Relations
• Public Relations as a discipline is culturally
constructed and culturally specific
• Students considering differences in conceptual
and professional approaches, and relating these
to particular social and political contexts e.g.
analysis of communication materials generated
in relation to:
– Power blackouts in Malaysia and Western Australia
– Water issues in Singapore & Malaysia
– Taiwanese government elections
(Surma & Fitch 2006)
• There has been a tendency to be tokenistic and
to focus only on international and comparative
law options (rather than as part of the core
• IoC in Law requires a fundamental review of
materials and legal skills and teaching
methodologies, rather than a series of
patchwork additions
(International Legal Education and Training Committee
2004, p.7)
• a curriculum based on a critical analysis of the
connections between culture, knowledge and
professional practice in science within a
globalised world
• employs problem-based methodologies
• prepares students to be flexible, adaptive and
reflexive problem solvers who can conduct
community-based as well as industry-based
(Carter 2008 p.629)
• Linguistic and cultural diversity likely to increase
not decrease – not only related to IS
• Need to require, support and assess/assure
development of professional communication
skills as part of degree
• Tweaking rather than major addition to content –
still possible to cover technical skills
• Program-level approach with changes at subject
level- but not all subjects (Evans et al 2009)
What are the main
blockers to IoC?
Blockers 1: Institutional
1. Lack of leadership at institutional and ‘local’
2. Poorly conceived and managed
internationalisation strategy
3. Lack of financial support
4. Reward systems e.g. recruitment and
promotion policies
5. Structural barriers, such as time to meet as a
course team
(Childress 2010; Leask forthcoming)
Blockers 2: Individual
1. Rejection of neo-liberal, market driven
approach to internationalisation at local and
national level
2. Disciplinary ‘headsets’ - lack of motivation
3. A preference for working independently
4. Lack of desire and/or ability think outside of
traditional disciplinary paradigms
5. Don’t know where to start
(Childress 2010; Leask forthcoming)
Where to start
You’ll need to work as a team
You’ll need to agree on why
• What is the rationale for IoC in your
Look carefully at what you’re already
What do you already do?
How well do you do it?
What could you do better?
The big picture and the detail
• A tool to stimulate reflection and
How international is the curriculum
Case studies
from different
Clearly defined
and assessed
A Questionnaire on IoC - QIC
• A guide to help you make a start
• 16 questions e.g.
Assessment Tasks and Arrangements
• 10.1 Assessment tasks never require students to consider issues from a
variety of cultural perspectives
• 10.2 Assessment tasks rarely require students to consider issues from a
variety of cultural perspectives
• 10.3 Assessment tasks sometimes require students to consider issues from
a variety of cultural perspectives, but no systematic approach to this has
been discussed by the course team
• 10.4 Assessment tasks systematically require students to consider issues
from a variety of cultural perspectives so that it is assured by the end of the
course that students can do this effectively
Where to next?
• As a result of the completion of the QIC
possible ‘next steps’ are identified.
Modifications to Rationale/
reasons for
other follow-up change
Focus on IOC in context
• Set course goals
– what skills, knowledge and attitudes will be required
of graduates of this degree to enable them to work
and live in a globalised world
• Define international/intercultural learning
outcomes related to achievement of course
goals in selected units
• Systematically ‘map’ and track development and
assessment of these outcomes – how will you
know that your graduates have achieved these
outcomes – and that they are the right ones?
The informal curriculum
The ‘way we do things around here’
Peer mentoring programmes
Global leadership awards
Extra curricular actvities
• What and who, and whose knowledge and
skills are valued?
A metaphor...
There’s no single foolproof ‘recipe’
1. Every ‘kitchen’ has a different layout and
various combinations of tools and ingredients
2. There’s no universal set of ingredients or
method and consequently many different
‘flavours’ will result
3. While there are some critical differences in the
location of our kitchens, we also have much in
common and can learn from each other
Each program and discipline has to develop its
own approach – this is intellectual work that
only academic staff can undertake, but they
need time and support
Students, professional associations and
employers need to be actively involved in IoC
Staff and students need to be rewarded for
Want to learn more or contribute?
Contact me: [email protected]
Visit the website
Presentations and workshop slides
PD resources
Themed literature review
Discussion Forum
Case studies of IoC in Action
Carter, L. (2008) Globalization and Science Education: The Implications of Science in the New Economy Journal
of Research in Science Teaching Vol 45, No. 5, pp. 617-633
Childress, L. (2010) The twenty-first century university: developing faculty engagement in internationalisation
Complicated Conversation Vol 32. New York: Peter Lang.
Egron-Polak, E, & Hudson, R. (2010) Internationalization of Higher Education: Global Trends, Regional
Perspectives IAU 3rd Global Survey Report
Freeman, M., Treleaven, L., Ramburuth, P., Leask, B., Caulfield, N., Simpson, L., Ridings, S., & Sykes, C. (2009)
Embedding the development of intercultural competence in business education ALTC Project Final Report
Sydney: ALTC
International Legal Education and Training Committee (June 2004) Internationalisation of the Australian Law
Degree. Canberra; International Legal Services Council (ILSAC)
Leask, B. (2009) Using formal and informal curricula to improve interactions between home and international
students. Journal of Studies in International Education, Vol. 13, No. 2, 205-221
Leask, B. & Beelen, J. (2010) Enhancing the engagement of academic staff in international education in Europe
and Australia: Background Paper 2. Paper prepared for the IEAA-EAIE Symposium: Advancing Australia-Europe
Engagement. Hawthorn: International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).
Mestenhauser, J. (1998) Portaits of an internationalized curriculum. In: Mestenhauser, J. & Ellingboe, B. (eds)
Reforming the Higher Education Curriculum. Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press, pp. 3-35.
Rizvi, F. and Lingard B. 2010. Globalizing Education Policy Abingdon: Routledge.
Sandstrom, S. (1998) Internationalisation in Swedish Undergraduate Nursing Education: It’s interpretation and
implementation in the context of nursing with tender loving care. Research Bulletin 96 Helsinki: Faculty of
Education: University of Helsinki.
Zimitat, C. (2008). Student Perceptions of the Internationalisation of the Curriculum. Chapter 13. In L. Dunn and M.
Wallace (Eds), Teaching in Transnational Higher Education (pp. 135-147), London: Routledge.
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards