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Internationalising the student experience: a review of practice - challenges, successes, issues and practice?. Rajesh Dhimar ( Sheffield Hallam University HEA/UKCISA:TIS Project Conference Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in HE: Exploring New Frontiers

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Internationalising the student experience a review of practice challenges successes issues and practice

Internationalising the student experience: a review of practice - challenges, successes, issues and practice?

Rajesh Dhimar (

Sheffield Hallam University

HEA/UKCISA:TIS Project Conference

Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in HE: Exploring New Frontiers

June 2011

Today s session

Today's session

  • Current context

  • Higher Education Academy framework for internationalisation

  • Faculty perspective and core objectives

  • Faculty approach to internationalisation - 3 strands (International Business Development, mobility and Learning, Teaching and Assessment)

  • Developments in internationalisation and LTA in the Faculty of Development and Society at Sheffield Hallam

  • Scoping project - summary, findings and recommendations

Internationalising the student experience a review of practice challenges successes issues and practice

Current context - what's internationalisation all about?

What can be surmised

What can be surmised?

Curriculum issues for internationalisation

Curriculum Issues for Internationalisation

  • Learner mobility challenges

  • Accommodating international students in and out of LTA practice - should we rearticulate our LTA to be more flexible for a diverse body of students?

  • Inclusivity-contributing to an evolving society vs. traditional HE delivery (private sector/class/hierarchy)

  • Need a realistic, thought through approach across HE institutions - Employer engagement/Widening Participation/lifelong learning/graduate attributes

  • Focus on partnership and collaboration between HE institutions

Higher education academy framework for internationalisation 2009 11

Higher Education Academy - Framework for Internationalisation (2009-11)

The HEA identifies five core components of an Internationalisation process and the Faculty is clustering its own activities around these components:

  • Institutional; (values, policies, partnerships)

  • Staff; (supporting, developing and rewarding)

  • Students; (diversity, communication)

  • Curriculum; formal and informal (internationalised curriculum, exchanges, integration)

  • Support; (services & facilities, pastoral, linguistic/ cultural/academic)

Faculty perspective internationalisation project at sheffield hallam 2007 2010

Faculty perspective - Internationalisation Project at Sheffield Hallam (2007-2010)

  • University's Corporate Plan (2008-13)

  • Sheffield Hallam International Strategy (2005-2010) (New strategy is being developed during 2010/11)

  • All Faculty international strategies/plans

  • Heads of International Development in each of the 4 Faculties

  • Approx - 14% of Sheffield Hallam students are international (rising year on year)

  • Existing rationale - one way of trying to address current reputational and income needs

  • The Internationalisation project is set in the context of other institutional related activities delivered by:

    - International Office

    - International Student Support

    - International Marketing

    - Partnership Support Unit

3 paradigms for internationalisation

3 paradigms for internationalisation

Research on student perceptions of mobility

New partnerships with overseas HEI's

Student information sessions to promote mobility opportunities

Work on Undergraduate course structures to enable mobility

Internationalisation of the student experience conference to share and promote good practice

Attendance and representation at European/International recruitment fairs

Development of 3 international focused optional modules in ASS

Project to scope current practice and future direction in internationalisation and LTA

International visits to HE institutions in China, India, Africa and the Middle east

New curriculum partnership link with St Francis College

Internationalisation Special Interest Group

Ongoing internationalisation project developments to support lta strand in 2008 09

Ongoing Internationalisation Project developments to support LTA strand in 2008/09

Learning teaching and assessment lta

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA)

"to ensure that all students can benefit from an "internationalised" experience even if they are not physically mobile, for example by studying modules with an international focus and by working with students from other countries and cultures".

Faculty Internalisation Strategy (2007-2010)

Internationalising the student experience a review of practice challenges successes issues and practice

" Internationalising the curriculum is an important and strategic initiative of universities worldwide. An internationalised curriculum has the potential to enrich the educational experience of both local and international students by providing a range of opportunities for study and cultural exchange. This includes student mobility programs as well as incorporation of international content"

Martin, J. and How, Kee.L (2008)

Enquiry scoping internationalisation and learning teaching and assessment staff perspectives

Enquiry- scoping internationalisation and Learning, Teaching and Assessment (staff perspectives)

Purpose and aims

The objectives of the scoping exercise were to:

  • Enquire about the opportunities that courses offer to integrate international and cross-cultural perspectives through learning, teaching and assessment

  • Consider the international relevance of subject material through learning, teaching and assessment

  • Explore understandings of different pedagogical cultures to ensure that teaching and learning remains sensitive to student’s educational contexts

The approach to enquiry

The approach to enquiry

  • Opportunities for:

  • mobility

  • cultural diversity

  • curriculum content

  • student and staff profiles

Stage 1. Course profile information

Stage 2. Conversational dialogue

Internationalising the student experience a review of practice challenges successes issues and practice

What did we find? Emerging themes

Within discipline context

Diversity of staff practice

Diversity of staff practice

  • There was a general awareness of cross-cultural, global, citizenship issues

  • The notion of HE being internationalised generally, was not necessarily something which was a core feature of subject curriculas.

  • Interestingly, there was a common perception that 'Internationalisation' was perceived to be about the process of recruitment and teaching of international students and opportunities for work based learning/student placements abroad.

Statutory requirements professional bodies

Statutory requirements/professional bodies

"it is one of the standards, which students have a requirement to meet, they know what the standards are and what they need to do to get there…one of the things for example around working with multicultural perspectives and an awareness of cultural diversity of people, especially in the jobs which they (students) may end up being employed in. Meeting competencies against national/international standards makes the course more meaningful for our students and so it is much more than just an academic qualification, it becomes part of what students believe in".

Curriculum change

Curriculum Change

"Our distance learning courses really do embrace internationalisation because the interest in the subject and the way it is delivered means they (students) can develop their own interests. Most of them live abroad, the idea of this module is how you connect with the locality and issues in globalisation , so you might study how a society is operating in Sheffield, but how does the world affect it? People who are interested in political movements, their interest in the wider world, people who are interested in manufacturing - they are dependent on overseas markets…how do they conceive and relate to the world…it's the concept between the relationship between a community and a society and its interactions with the wider world".

Programme course structures

Programme/Course Structures

"…it seems like there's been a recent push in internationalisation, particularly over the last year, it's generated loads of interest and activity which is demanding on staff time and we've been asking what the resource for this is (referring to staff buy out time) and where the time on the work plan to set up partnerships with other Universities comes from. I raised this with other SGL's - eventually we were told that it would come out of our own subject resource. That's the current model. This presents a problem - the actually issue then is that it needs to be built into current core work planning and there's been no preparation for that. So my question is how is your international strategy is aligned with your work planning strategy? But it seems like nobody has thought to link them to together and how you would advise subject leaders about how to do this workin practice."

Student and staff mobility

Student and staff mobility

"we include as much experience of travelling abroad as much as we can… we think the learning in terms of the experience from other cultures, even if they are just European cultures is fundamental for them (students). We've always enjoyed having international students on our courses, especially on our undergraduate courses and they bring a great deal to the rest of the cohort. Within this we've established a fantastic partnership with the host institution and they've given us a phenomenal service".

"…it's taken a long time for us to get the partnership with (reference to an institution) exchange set up, but its been brilliant for students on our module who've been away and have come back completely transformed and enthused about their experience and their own learning. This has had a massive positive knock on effect on them and how they see themselves as professionals after they finish their degree, which is really encouraging to see".

Internationalising the student experience a review of practice challenges successes issues and practice

Examples of practice

Some issues

Some issues

  • Lack of staff development

  • Access to facilities and resources to support international related activity in courses was limited

  • No explicit alignment with other institutional processes e.g. academic work planning, appraisal, CPD, SMT, course design and evaluation, validation

  • Inflexible assessment and feedback practices e.g. one year MA courses

  • Some "monocultures" in courses hinder experiences with and/or integration with other cultures

  • Are the students ready for international change? (assessment the student profile)

Implications for lta and the curriculum developing internationalisation

Implications for LTA and the curriculum: developing internationalisation

  • How can we provide effective staff development processes to support the integration of international perspectives/relevance within the curriculum?

  • How can we develop the facility, capacity and resource for supporting international related activity , which is aligned with University Central Support Services, IT Support, International Office, that includes aspects of international business development and student and staff mobility?

  • How can we modernise assessment and feedback practices to facilitate international LTA activity?

  • How can we provide students with opportunities for international related experiences both within and outside the curriculum?

  • How can we effectively use student feedback to develop international activity which is relevant to their subject?

  • How can we promote the development of international collaboration at individual, team, departmental, faculty, and institutional level?



  • The findings of this scoping exercise should be used and disseminated across the Faculty in helping to provide input to the future support for internationalisation

  • The need for a clear institutional lead and direction for Internationalisation

  • Celebrate good international practice (reward and recognition)

  • Promote greater awareness of the Internationalisation

  • Develop Faculty wide and cross-institutional links on the strategic development for internationalisation

  • Provide appropriate interventions for International learning, teaching and assessment support for staff

  • Promote professional development and staff engagement in support of internationalisation

  • Undertake further investigatory work, focusing on the needs and practices of relevant international stakeholders

Key texts and references

Key texts and references

  • Burnapp, D. et al, (2008), Supporting international students in UK Higher Education: a staff development course, The Higher Education Academy, Subject Centre for Language, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS)

  • Carroll, J. and Ryan, J.(2005), Teaching International Students, Improving Learning for All, The Staff and Educational Development Association Series

  • Hudson, B. and Todd, J. M. (2000), Internationalising the Curriculum in Higher Education - Reflecting on Practice, Sheffield Hallam University Press

  • Hyland, F. etc al, (2008), A Changing World: the internationalisation experiences of staff and students (home and international) in the UK Higher Education, The HEA, Subject Centre for Education (ESCalate) and Subject Centre for Language, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS)

  • Internationalising students' unions in higher education (March 2008) - a strategic framework and audit toolkit for students' unions, National Union of Students, supported by PMI2 funding

  • Jones, E. and Brown, S. (2007), Internationalising Higher Education, Routledge publications, British Library Catalogue

  • Ryan, J. (2000), A guide to teaching international students, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford Brookes University

  • The Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education in Higher Education -

  • The Higher Education Academy - Internationalisation support

  • Global Opportunities for UK Higher Education

  • Oxford Brookes - Internationalising the Curriculum Resource Kit

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