Changes in government policies and the social and economic context within which universities operate has resulted in increasing pressure for them to attract more international students and to internationalise their curricula. This, in turn, has put pressure on staff development units to develop strategies to assist staff to support student learning and achieve institutional goals.
This paper describes some of the professional development programs and resources developed at the University of South Australia to support the internationalisation of teaching and learning.
The first section describes resources that have been developed to assist staff to internationalise their courses. These include guidelines on structural options and pathways for course design and strategies for broadening the scope of the subject to include international content and contact. It also includes a description of a range of teaching and learning processes developed to assist all students to develop international perspectives; processes which value and include the contributions of international students.
The second section of the paper looks specifically at qualitative differences in the development of international perspectives in graduates. It describes a range of assessment strategies designed to assist students to focus their energies appropriately across a course and to develop international perspectives as professionals and citizens.
This approach is designed to maximise the reciprocal benefit and value of internationalisation in the short term and, ultimately, to embed internationalisation into the culture of the institution.
The professional development program and resources developed at the University of South Australia to support the internationalisation of teaching and learning is a case study of how one staff development unit has approached this task.
The infusion approach focuses on the development of strategies designed to ensure that international perspectives permeate both the teaching methodology and content of subjects and the structure and organisation of courses. However, as Knight pointed out, an 'infusion' approach requires university teaching staff to develop new knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Staff development strategies are therefore an important and integral part of the process of internationalising the curriculum. The challenge for staff developers has been to assist academic staff from a vast range of disciplines to understand what internationalisation and an internationalised curriculum means for how they teach and what they teach. This requires exploding some of the myths associated with internationalisation - that it is:
Such 'myths' need to be exposed and confronted before it is possible to move on to explore what internationalisation of the curriculum really means for both individual staff members and teaching teams.
The Graduate Qualities were introduced to the University of South Australia in 1996, after a twelve-month period of consultation with stakeholders. They indicated a significant shift in the way the university defined 'quality' - a shift from an emphasis on inputs (such as funding, academic staff qualifications and student entry scores) to an emphasis on educational outputs. They also indicated a significant shift in what was valued about the education provided at the University of South Australia. The focus of the Graduate Qualities is very clearly on the student and what the graduating student will have achieved during a course of study. They are used as a framework for curriculum development and evaluation in all undergraduate courses as well as for quality assurance and improvement processes. By their very nature they focus all of these processes on students.
Graduate Quality Seven states that graduates will demonstrate international perspectives as professionals and as citizens. Nine indicators are provided to staff as a guide to the general sorts of characteristics that graduates who have achieved the quality might exhibit. As part of the course planning process, course and subject writers develop more elaborated or different indicators, which relate specifically to their subject area. The generic indicators for Graduate Quality 7 are detailed in Table 1:
|A graduate who demonstrates international perspectives as a professional and a citizen will...|
|7.1||display an ability to think globally and consider issues from a variety of perspectives|
|7.2||demonstrate an awareness of their own culture and its perspectives and other cultures and their perspectives|
|7.3||appreciate the relation between their field of study locally and professional traditions elsewhere|
|7.4||recognise intercultural issues relevant to their professional practice|
|7.5||appreciate the importance of multicultural diversity to professional practice and citizenship|
|7.6||appreciate the complex and interacting factors that contribute to notions of culture and cultural relationships|
|7.7||value diversity of language and culture|
|7.8||appreciate and demonstrate the capacity to apply international standards and practices within the discipline or professional area|
|7.9||demonstrate awareness of the implications of local decisions and actions for international communities and of international decisions and actions for local communities|
It is significant that these indicators focus not only on the acquisition of skills and knowledge related to professional areas but also on the development of values and cross-cultural awareness. There is also a strong focus on the application of skills and knowledge, on taking action rather than on passive development. Thus these indicators signal that the emphasis in the development of this graduate quality will need to be on more than content.
Subjects and courses are required to provide a Graduate Quality Profile in all formal course documentation, indicating the 'weighting' of each quality within each subject and within the whole course. The requirement was introduced as a mechanism for ensuring that the Graduate Qualities informed subject and course planning and decision-making and that they were reflected in the objectives of the subject, in the teaching and learning arrangements and in the assessment tasks and practices. A subject which gives any weighting at all to Graduate Quality #7, must be able to demonstrate how it develops international perspectives in all students and thus it focuses attention on both Australian and international students. As all students are assessed in the same way, according to the same criteria and the curriculum must develop the same graduate qualities in all students, the focus of internationalisation is moved from 'international students' to all students.
However, the implementation of graduate qualities involves not only staff, but also students. Students are becoming increasingly aware of the significance of the Graduate Quality profile of the subjects and courses they study. A series of information leaflets and activities designed to introduce students to the meaning and significance of Graduate Qualities have been developed. Students will soon be actively encouraged to select subjects and courses based on their Graduate Quality profile. This will enable students to develop a substantial portfolio of evidence related to their graduate qualities to present to prospective employers. In relation to internationalisation this means that any student wishing to pursue an international career or to demonstrate an understanding of international issues or cross-cultural communication skills will have the power to select subjects and courses which will develop and assess the sorts of attributes that their prospective employers are seeking.
One of the most significant means of influencing the curriculum is through students and some of these strategies may result in pressure to internationalise coming from the student body as well as from management.
Peters (1997) outlines selection criteria which she sees as important when hiring staff to teach on international programs. She argues that staff teaching on international programs must have certain basic skills and knowledge needed to be a successful teacher in any environment such as knowledge of the area, classroom management skills and the ability to clearly define learning goals and design good curricula. But they must also be culturally aware, have the ability to make use of international information and examples and have the skills to manage a group in which a broad range of communication and learning styles are present.
Both Peters and Farkas-Teekens describe a broad range of skills that it would be unusual to find or develop in any one lecturer. Thus Farkas-Teekens advocates team teaching and working in groups as the best way to develop a curriculum for international teaching. At the University of South Australia we are increasingly using a model of staff development based on small group reflective practice. The model has been used successfully for the past three years. The approach involves six stages in which staff from a number of different areas of the University bring together their particular expertise to address specific issues within a given subject (Hicks and George 1998). The approach is student-centred and the group involved in the review of the subject always involves a subject specialist, a learning adviser who works predominantly with students and a professional/staff developer who has particular expertise in the area of curriculum design. In international contexts at least one of these people should have experience or specific skills and attitudes applicable to an international teaching context. These people work together and, within the shared framework of the Graduate Qualities, empower individual academics to make informed decisions about the objectives of the subject, the assessment and the teaching and learning activities (Leask, Medlin and Feast 1999).
In relation to achieving Graduate Quality #7 this process has resulted in a clarification of what internationalisation means in different subjects within a discipline area and the implementation of significant changes to the content, teaching and learning and assessment arrangements in subjects. For example, in a large core subject, Economic Environment, this process resulted in the following changes (documented in Feast 1998 and Feast 1999) being implemented:
Schön (1987, pp5-6) described reflective practice as a strategy for dealing with a 'problematic situation' - one which 'presents itself as a unique case', which cannot be solved by applying any one rule of professional knowledge. The implementation of Graduate Quality #7 can be defined as a 'problematic situation'. Alderson (1996) described academic staff development for internationalisation as a journey which at each stage requires 'exploration and negotiation of understandings, re-examining of currently held beliefs, reflection on current practice, gathering and learning information from a variety of resources, and opportunities for the social construction of knowledge' (p6). She advocates that staff development consultants work more closely with schools rather than providing generic courses for academics across the university. The strategies described here are consistent with Schön's and Alderson's views and have been proven to be effective in implementing curriculum change by assisting academic staff to 'merge thinking and doing' (Ramsden 1992; p16).
Graduate Qualities, as a framework for curriculum planning, was initially resisted by many academic staff, who saw it as imposed by management and irrelevant to their daily practice. The most significant gains that have been made in relation to the permeation of all Graduate Qualities into the curriculum, including Graduate Quality #7, have been as a result of a model of staff development based on small group reflective practice.
The ways in which Australian universities are internationalising curriculum has been the subject of a several studies (Back and Davis 1995; Back, K., Davis, D. and Olsen, A. 1996). In 1995 a typology of internationalised curriculum was published (IDP Education Australia 1995). The typology is 'mixed', in that it uses overlapping rather than mutually exclusive categories. This is 'symptomatic of the multidimensional nature of international education' (Mestenhauser, 1997) and reflects the complexity of internationalisation. To assist academics at the University of South Australia to relate this typology to the achievement of Graduate Quality #7, the generic indicators associated with this quality (see Table 1) were linked to the OECD typology (see Table 2).
|Internationalised curricula typology||G.Q.7 Indicators|
|Curricula which prepare graduates for defined international professions.||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.8, 7.9|
|Curricula leading to internationally recognised professional qualifications.||7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.8, 7.9|
|Curricula leading to joint or double degrees in international and language studies.||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9|
|Curricula in which compulsory parts are offered at or by universities abroad, staffed by local lecturers (including exchange and study abroad programs).||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.9|
|Curricula with an international subject or area/language studies.||7.1, 7.2, 7.7.6, 7.7|
|Interdisciplinary programs, such as region and area studies, covering more than one country.||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9|
|Curricula in which the traditional/original subject area is broadened by international cross-cultural/intercultural approaches.||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9|
|Curricula in foreign languages or linguistics which explicitly address cross-cultural communication issues and which provide training in intercultural skills.||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8|
|Curricula in which the content is especially designed for overseas students.||7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8|
A successfully internationalised curriculum will need to emphasise a wide range of teaching and learning strategies designed to develop graduates who demonstrate a range of international perspectives as professionals and as citizens through:
In order to provide this guidance for academic staff, the Code of good practice: teaching and learning at the University of South Australia was used as a framework for describing teaching and learning strategies to achieve the graduate quality on international perspectives. The code describes a broad range of 'good teaching practices' in fairly general terms. By 'internationalising' these practices it is possible to internationalise both content and teaching and learning arrangements and to assist students to develop the characteristics associated with Graduate Quality 7.
For example, the Code of Good Practice states that teachers should communicate their own enthusiasm for the subjects they teach and arouse students' curiosity, interest and creative endeavours in the subject, including making adequate time available to advise individual students. How can this exemplar of 'good practice' be internationalised? It is suggested that this could be achieved by:
Some of these teaching and learning strategies for internationalisation focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning for all students from all educational and cultural backgrounds but pay particular attention to the needs of international students. They represent 'good teaching practice', although many have been identified in the literature relating to the effective delivery of courses to international students (Ballard and Clanchy, 1997). Thus, staff are advised that in order to assist in the development of students'' communication skills they should model effective communication strategies such as:
|A graduate who demonstrates international perspectives as a professional and a citizen will...||Online learning tools/tasks/activities to achieve this outcome|
|display an ability to think globally and consider issues from a variety of perspectives||Participation in online discussions and debates in which they must take different roles and give perspectives other than their own.|
|demonstrate an awareness of their own culture and its perspectives and other cultures and their perspectives||Students required to explain their point of view on an issue 'online' from a cultural perspective.|
|appreciate the relation between their field of study locally and professional traditions elsewhere||Web research into professional traditions in other cultures.|
|recognise intercultural issues relevant to their professional practice||Scenarios with obvious intercultural issues embedded within them presented as problems to be solved by an online tutorial group.|
|appreciate the importance of multicultural diversity to professional practice and citizenship||Multicultural teams formed online and set problem-solving tasks related to the professional area|
|appreciate the complex and interacting factors that contribute to notions of culture and cultural relationships||Students from different cultural groups interview each other online and post a report on key aspects of the other students culture to an online forum.|
|value diversity of language and culture||Research project into contributions made to the professional area by different cultural groups. Results posted by students to an online discussion group or seminar.|
|appreciate and demonstrate the capacity to apply international standards and practices within the discipline or professional area||Comparison of international standards based on collaborative research and analysis undertaken by students from different cultures|
|demonstrate awareness of the implications of local decisions and actions for international communities and of international decisions and actions for local communities||Appropriate case studies related to professional area included in course and analysed by students.|
Online delivery provides a range of opportunities for internationalisation of curriculum as well as for international delivery of the curriculum. Staff development strategies need to assist staff to us the full range of tools available to them to assist students to achieve desired learning outcomes.
|Scoping||Involves identifying the range and significance of cultural and national perspectives:
|Enabling||Involves the skills necessary for effective communication across national and cultural boundaries:
|Training||The general purpose and application of the enabling skills are elaborated and made more meaningful by relating them to the particular discipline or field:
|Relating||An expansion of the training level which involves adapting behaviour to deal with the particular context:|
As with any program of learning, students will not necessarily move in neat progression from one level to another. There may be movement backwards and forwards between levels as students' knowledge and skills develop. Students should, however, be assisted to move through the levels of understanding and achievement in relation to internationalisation during their course of study. More complex learning tasks designed to challenge students and assist them to demonstrate their level of achievement in relation to the Graduate Quality should be introduced to students in a planned and coordinated way. And the more complex the skills and knowledge being developed, the more complex the assessment tasks will need to be. Thus the complexity of the assessment tasks should grow at the same rate as the complexity of the learning tasks. Only when this happens will students be given valid feedback on their progress towards achievement of the desired learning outcomes of the subject and course in relation to the development of the Graduate Quality #7. This implies that learning experiences and assessment need to be planned and coordinated at the course level as well as the subject level.
The implementation of Graduate Qualities has provided a framework within which this can happen at the University of South Australia. It is supported by a team-based approach to staff development, which has facilitated some productive discussion at course as well as subject level.
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|Author: Betty Leask, University of South Australia|
Phone (08) 8302 0618 Fax (08) 8302 0021 Email email@example.com
Please cite as: Leask, B. (2001). Internationalisation: Changing contexts and their implications for teaching, learning and assessment. In L. Richardson and J. Lidstone (Eds), Flexible Learning for a Flexible Society, 389-401. Proceedings of ASET-HERDSA 2000 Conference, Toowoomba, Qld, 2-5 July 2000. ASET and HERDSA. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/aset-herdsa2000/procs/leask1.html