Some interesting global developments related to new cross-border delivery of educational services are currently taking place in higher education. In recent years many Canadian universities have joined their Australian and British counterparts in establishing their presence overseas. To this end, several universities have established various partnership agreements and opened branch campuses and franchises in Asia and the Middle East. Some that come to mind are Hong Kong campus of the UWO’s Ivey School of Business, University of Calgary’s nursing education program in Qatar, Al-Ahram Canadian University in Egypt and Canadian University in Dubai. Our own institution has also began the foray into cross-border education. Many of us here at UW are currently following with interest the developments related to the opening of UW campus in Dubai.
Amidst all these exciting and bold global initiatives by Canadian universities, it is easy to overlook the efforts of individual faculty members who are trying to find creative ways to bring the international and the global into their classrooms. In higher education literature, this process of bringing international perspectives into the content and delivery of the course is known as course internationalization. While there is a perception that some disciplines and courses lend themselves better to internationalization while others are not, there is emerging evidence reported by faculty from various disciplines as to how the possibilities of applying international lens to virtually any course. Here are a couple of examples of how faculty members in computer science internationalized their courses:
Here, at UW, we also have some interesting course internationalization projects underway. A couple weeks ago I had a chance to talk to Josh Neufeld of Biology about his fourth-year biology course. Josh and his tech-savvy undergraduate student, Forest Rong Wang, created a collection of digital interviews from international researchers whose articles were used in the course. Josh came up with an idea to send Webcams to the international researchers in his field and to invite them to return recorded interviews with their ‘behind-the-scenes’ perspectives on their scientific discoveries. All ten researchers responded enthusiastically and provided insightful interviews, telling Josh’s students about how their scientific discoveries were made, how this discovery shaped their career, and what they love about science and academia. During the course, Josh’s students not just did presentations based on research articles but also watched interviews with each of the researcher who conducted the research and wrote the article. What a neat idea! And the best part is that this approach can work in many other courses.