How can we best prepare our students for their future in an increasingly diverse and globalizing world? Internationalization of the curriculum is one of the pedagogical techniques that has been widely discussed and implemented in many countries. In the following section, we are going to talk about what is curriculum internationalization, why it is important, and some tools and strategies that you can use to internationalize academic programs and courses.
Knight (1994) has defined internationalization as “the process of integrating an international or intercultural dimension into the teaching, research, and service functions of the institution” (p.7). According to Leask, “Internationalization of the curriculum is the incorporation of international, intercultural, and/or global dimensions into the content of the curriculum as well as the learning outcomes, assessment tasks, teaching methods, and support services of a program of study” (2009, p. 209).
After conducting research and working with colleagues on this topic for several years, the following are the rationales for internationalizing the curriculum that Leask highlighted in her book, entitled “Internationalizing the curriculum”:
The curriculum is linked to broader issues of social power nationally, internationally, and globally (Bernstein 1971). The big problems of the world, such as poverty, the spread of infectious diseases, the capacity to feed a growing world population in the future, and issues of environmental sustainability, require that the graduates of tomorrow are not restricted or parochial of mind. Therefore we need to ensure that the students of today have access to knowledge and wisdom from all parts of the world, are open to new ideas regardless of the origin of those ideas, develop the capacity to solve tricky problems and find innovative solutions, and are committed to actions that benefit others as well as themselves. —Leask, 2015, p. 23
Further, she articulated the rationales from different disciplines:
As members of a caring professional nurses have an ethical responsibility toward all members of the global community
(Bachelor of Nursing).
We have a responsibility to empower staff, students, and industry to be global citizens and practitioners. This means they must be:
(Bachelor of Media and Communication).
The big problems in biology are international problems that require international solutions. There are many important problems to be solved in the developing world
(Bachelor of Biological Sciences).
Internationalization of the curriculum can be targeted at both the program and course level. The Questionnaire on Internationalization of the Curriculum (QIC) has been widely used to stimulate reflection and discussion among groups of faculty members about the internationalization of the curriculum in their program (Leask, 2015). Different versions of the QICs have been developed, which can be accessed through this website: http://ioc.global/questionnaire-for-internationalisation-of-the-curriculum-qic/.
Course content and design
Ideally, course content should include diverse perspectives on social, economic, political and/or environmental issues and differences in professional practices across cultures. Some tips for broadening topic areas through intercultural approaches include:
Learning and teaching activities
A wide range of teaching and learning strategies can be specifically designed to develop graduates who demonstrate international perspectives as professionals and as citizens. Tips for internationalizing learning and teaching activities include:
Materials, tools, and resources
A wide range of teaching tools, resources and support materials can assist students with acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a global citizen. Tips for internationalizing your learning materials, tools and resources include:
Ideally, assessment tasks should measure the specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes of students that are related to global citizenship. Tips for internationalizing assessment include:
Barker, M., Frederiks, E., Farrelly, B., & Shallcross, L. (2011). The GIHE good practice guide to internationalising the curriculum. Griffith University.
Knight, J. (1994). Internationalisation: Elements and checkpoints. Ottawa: Canadian Bureau for International Education.
Leask, B. (2009). Using formal and informal curricula to improve interactions between home and international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(2), 205–221.
Leask, B. (2015). Internationalizing the curriculum. Routledge.