Digitalisation and internationalisation

Digitalisation and internationalisation EAIE Forum

As we all know, the world is moving fast and furiously toward ever more integration of technology in our lives. Smartphone apps allow us to navigate our way through traffic across town, as well as guide us to meetings and professional events in far-flung locations around the world. Our medical histories are available to our local general practitioners, distant hospital staff and sometimes to our pharmacists just around the corner. Some of the newest refrigerators can even prompt us when we need to restock on specific groceries! But, what does the surge of new technologies and technology-enhanced approaches to education and communication mean for internationalisation? The Spring 2020 edition of Forum magazine, focused on the theme of ‘Digitialisation’ aims to find out!

What are we seeking to achieve?

Digitalisation offers the promise of improving processes by leveraging information that’s electronically at our fingertips. But, what specifically is the field of international education seeking from the ‘digital revolution’? Are we trying to streamline administrative processes for efficiency, cost savings or other purposes? Are we hoping to expand the possibilities for impact with respect to Internationalisation at Home? Are we seeking to improve the inbound our outbound student mobility experience? Are we aiming to enhance the way partnerships are managed? Are digital solutions expected to provide new avenues for effective teaching and learning, with a view to boosting intercultural learning outcomes? Articles that help us better understand and assess our rationales and aspirations for digitalisation, as we move to invest time and energy in exploring these new resources, are most welcome.

What does digitalisation look like IRL (‘in real life’)?

Setting our sights on a particular set of goals is one thing, but crafting an actionable roadmap to achieve those objectives is another. This issue of Forum will also be interested in showcasing real-world examples of how digital platforms have been incorporated into real international education programmes, projects, initiatives or strategies in different contexts. In what ways are technologies already playing crucial ‘lead’ or ‘supporting roles’ in internationalisation activities? What is the added value that practitioners are seeing from digitalisation and what are some building blocks for success in this space? Forum readers are eager to learn more!

What needs special attention?

Although technology is often dangled in front of us as a source of many answers to a multitude of problems, we also know that the story is more complicated than that. Yes, digitalisation can offer an array of exciting new possibilities to support innovation. But, at what price? Are there winners and losers in this game? Are our abilities to operate in alignment with the values we espouse (such as excellence, inclusion and collaboration) strengthened in the age of digitalisation, or do we need to pay particular attention to certain aspects of technology-enhanced internationalisation that may complicate those aspirations? This issue of Forum will be enriched by contributions from individuals with experience working with technologies in connection with internationalisation, who can reflect critically and candidly on these issues.

The conversation around digitalisation and international higher education is rich and quickly evolving. Add your voice to the discussion by submitting an article for consideration to by 13 January 2020! Submission guidelines can be found here.

Laura E. Rumbley
EAIE, the NetherlandsLaura is Director, Knowledge Development and Research, at the EAIE.