Internationalizing The Curriculum In Practice

Gerry Urwin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This is an exposition of a UK/ Australian project to encourage the development of practical business skills for Business undergraduates, particularly focusing on international team working and communication. This fits well with the Australian National Strategy on Work Integrated Learning in University Education initiative . It also addresses the UNESCO (2013) Intercultural competences: conceptual and operational framework which argues that one of the key characteristics of contemporary societies is the high levels of cultural diversity and the proliferation of opportunities for intercultural interactions, meaning that ‘Increasingly different groups co- exist in close proximity and need to understand and negotiate concepts, perceptions, opportunities, and actions’.
The objectives of the project are ambitious and include the development of, in UK terminology ‘employability skills’ and what Deardoff refers to as ‘intercultural competence’ stemming from the belief that in order to prepare ‘21st century graduates to live in and contribute responsibly to a globally interconnected society,’ it is essential to help them develop a number of attributes and qualities that will enable them to
successfully engage in intercultural encounters and to facilitate intercultural interactions that unfold as intercultural dialogues where mutual understanding takes place.
The project aims to link Coventry University final year undergraduate business students with counterparts in La Trobe University, Melbourne. It involves a 3 week exercise where students are given the task of assessing the suitability of a proposal to internationalize a small to medium size enterprise (SME). Melbourne students consider the case for operating in the UK, Coventry students consider operating in Australia. Groups consist of 2/3 students from each institution. Students are given a short case study describing the firm and the sector, and asked to prepare a short presentation with supporting evidence of the feasibility of their firm operating in the new location. Students present results using ‘Pecha Kucha’ style and this is recorded and posted online for assessment by their international counterparts. Students are allocated to groups with contact details and are required to use Skype instant messaging, teleconferencing and videoconferencing facilities (including file and screen sharing) to work together and help each other achieve their task.
This paper will examine the process of this type of curriculum development, identifying issues and difficulties in creating an effective teaching and learning environment for our students, that also encompasses the other key stakeholder group, employers. It suggests possible solutions to these issues, based on the experience of this project. releases/Landmark-strategy-to-make-graduates-more—job-rea dy-#.VU3GGflViko
Deardorff , D.K. (Ed.). (2009). The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Higher Education Academy, 2014. Internationalising Higher Education Framework. research/themes/internationalisation/internationalisation-frame work .
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 30 Oct 2015
EventThe 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) - Melbourne, Australia, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 27 Oct 201530 Oct 2015
Conference number: 12th


ConferenceThe 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL)
Abbreviated titleISSOTL


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