The evolution of international education

The evolution of international education EAIE Forum

The modern classroom is evolving – technologically, demographically, pedagogically – but what does that mean for professionals working in internationalisation? From curriculum design to training for administrative staff, from integrating refugee students to connecting in virtual classrooms, the 2019 issue of Spring Forum explores our current moment in the evolution of international education.

We have become used to saying that change is a constant in our lives, and that the pace of change is getting faster and faster. We only have to look at the mobile phones that we carry to realise how communication and connectivity have been radically transformed in the digital age. In our professional lives, those of us working in international education also generally feel that we’re at the forefront of leading or responding to change in our work environments, given the fundamental shifts which exposure to the international world has brought to students and staff, to our institutions and organisations.

However, for many of us, our direct experience of the classroom is now several years ago (or indeed a few more!) and we perhaps haven’t spent a lot of time reflecting on how the classroom has evolved since then. For many of us, memories of secondary and higher education are fixed at a point in time, only perhaps to be revisited when a new generation in our community – our children, nephews and nieces – starts to discover them. In this way, we are like the alumni who return to their alma mater several years after graduation only to discover that there are new buildings, that favourite cafes or bars are no longer there, and some of the schools and departments have new names.

This issue of Forum gives us an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which the classroom has responded to a globalised world

So, this issue of Forum gives us an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which the classroom has responded to a globalised world, as well as to re-frame our understanding of how institutions have moved to adjust to new forms of diversity on our campuses. Presenting perspectives from Europe, North America and Asia, the authors in this edition look at technological innovations in the classroom and new ways of leveraging a more diverse community on our campuses. Certain of the authors also look beyond the physical classroom to consider faculty development needs, for example, or to frame the learning environment as the campus as a whole, rather than its individual classrooms. We’re also delighted that Prof Eric Mazur, a Dutch physicist and educator at Harvard University known for his ’peer instruction’ teaching method, accepted to be interviewed for this edition.

What we know, from the latest EAIE Barometer and other surveys, is that higher education institutions are now more internationally focused than ever before. A full 78% of respondents in the second edition of the EAIE Barometer (September 2018) indicated that their institution referenced internationalisation in its strategy in some way. And this focus on internationalisation has led to greater geographical and cultural diversity in our student and staff communities, as well as new approaches to the curriculum that make use of internationally-relevant subject matter, and pedagogical techniques designed for a new age. We started to reflect on what these changes meant in the Winter 2015 edition of Forum on Internationalisation at Home, and this edition allows us to examine these questions in more depth.

As new Chair of the EAIE Publications Committee, this is also the first issue of Forum which I have had the honour to edit. With thanks to the other members of the Committee, to our Editorial Coordinator and, in particular, to Laura Rumbley (former Committee Chair and now Associate Director, Knowledge Development and Research for the EAIE) for all of their support and guidance.

Spring Forum is here!

The classroom is evolving – what does that mean for your day-to-day work in internationalisation? Browse the magazine for diverse practitioner perspectives.

Douglas Proctor
Swinburne University of Technology, AustraliaIn addition to being Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Swinburne University of Technology, Douglas is also Chair of the EAIE Publications Committee and Editor of Forum.