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Internationalisation of the Curriculum

What is Internationalisation of the Curriculum (IoC)?

IoC has become a central factor in Higher Education (HE) where best practices aim to increase awareness around the formal curriculum design and informal 'hidden' curriculum, content, pedagogy, learning activities and assessment. One of the most utilised definitions of IoC is the ‘incorporation of international, intercultural, and/or global dimensions into the content of the curriculum as well as learning outcomes, assessment tasks, teaching methods and support services of a programme of study (Leask 2015, p.9). Internationalisation is one of the five strands in the Education Strategy 2016-2021 and identified as a key factor to promote inclusivity at Queen’s.

Why is IoC important in the Higher Education learning environment?

In order to support and prepare all our students to live, learn and work effectively in global contexts, all aspects of learning, especially the formal curriculum should integrate international and intercultural dimensions. Where possible, staff involved in designing or reviewing courses should incorporate content that fosters a global outlook, builds awareness to the plurality of perspectives in professional practice and develops intercultural competence to successfully engage with individuals, organisations and concepts originating from varied cultural, national or geographical backgrounds. 

In terms of the curriculum, we live in a global economy that demands our graduates have the employability and life skills, knowledge, attitudes and ability to live and work across borders and within different cultural contexts; in effect to become global citizens (Mellors- Bourne et al., 2015; Clifford, 2013; Barker, 2011). It is, therefore, the responsibility of those facilitating the curriculum to ensure student outcomes include the ability to develop an international perspective both personally and professionally (Leask, 2001). 

Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate an ability to think globally and consider issues from a variety of perspectives.
  • Explore how [subject] knowledge might be constructed and applied in a variety of cultural contexts.
  • Critically review [subject] practice through reference to practice in [two] other countries.
  • Deconstruct and judge the merits and limitations of conventional approaches to solving [discipline] problems. 
  • Formulate, create or generate new [knowledge and strategies based upon [diverse values and perspectives].
  • Analyse international trends in innovation/challenges in [topic].
Teaching Delivery and Content
  • Teaching content such as slides, handouts, video lectures etc. include discipline-specific text, examples, illustrations, models etc. that are located in a range of cultures or contexts.
  • Student tasks involve using and/or locating material such as readings, articles, photographs, data etc. for discussion, comparison, review, analysis etc. from local and international sources. 
  • Use course content that promotes global perspectives (international case studies, comparative studies, articles and texts). Students should be rewarded for incorporating external readings into course work.
  • Students are given extensive opportunities, training and support to develop skills and in confidence in working effectively in cross-cultural situations. to work in cross-cultural groups, 
  • Content may be drawn from diverse sources (such as intergovernmental organisations, global media, research centres etc.) to build on a construction of knowledge. 
  • Explore case studies from different countries and/or cultures for comparative analysis and invite international guest speakers.
  • There is a wide range of activities integrated into the content and constructive feedback is provided.
  • Incorporate ethical issues of globalisation, for example, social justice, equity and human rights, as well as related social, economic and environmental issues.
  • Use a range of cross-cultural databases and information sources such as journals, internet sites and social media forums. 
  • Ensure that your reading lists local and internationalised texts.
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  • Incorporate intercultural issues and values relevant to the discipline and/or professional practice.
  • Assessment guidelines are accessible where technical language and symbols are unpacked and made explicit. 
  • Student learning is assessed through a diverse range of projects and assessment choice.
  • How effective are the assessment tasks in assisting students to demonstrate global, international and/or intercultural learning?

If you are already involved in a project or research that incorporates international, intercultural, and/or global dimensions or citizenship into the content of the curriculum as well as learning outcomes, assessment tasks, teaching methods, please contact CED: for a case study template.