Why we internationalize

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Other opportunities for internationalization in the curricula include study abroad, teach abroad, and collaborative online international learning.

International @ USask

USask endeavours to provide support to academic units and individual faculty to:

  • build international and cross-cultural content
  • generate associated learning outcomes
  • use effective teaching strategies and assessment to support students in intercultural growth.

The goal of internationalized courses is to help students extend beyond narrower, monocultural perspectives to more global and inclusive ones. Content alone is not sufficient to accomplish the change. Course internationalization, then, can be conceived as “a process by which international elements are infused into course content, international resources are used in course readings and assignments, and instructional methodologies appropriate to a culturally diverse student population are implemented" (Schuerholz-Lehr et al., 2007, p. 70).

International and cross-cultural content

A simple way to start internationalizing a course is to add assigned readings or other media from international perspectives. This can be a way to start conversations and to look for similarities and differences between Canadian and foreign content. Even the writing and presentation structure might reflect cultural differences. This is a rudimentary form of internationalization that does not require much effort, and it’s efficacy is limited. Students may not value or be changed by this experience.

A more involved way to internationalize your course is to involve your students in a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) experience. Your students will work with students from a similar or complementary course at a university abroad to meet course outcomes. Past participants overwhelmingly state that the experience was beneficial to their learning and a valuable addition to their course.

Like any ability or skill, an instructor's intercultural teaching capacity requires practice and development.

Learning outcomes & assessment

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For help on writing robust course outcomes, refer to this article:

All Aligned - Outcomes

Adapting or adding to course outcomes is a more robust manner of ensuring that internationalization is achieved in a course. Students are assessed on their skills, abilities, and knowledge of specific international or intercultural competencies. When assessment is done effectively, a student is able to describe what they know and how they know it. This is a deeper level of understanding and requires higher order thinking. Students should be able to address cognitive, affective, and behavioural aspects of their learning.

“Effective instructors are able to critically evaluate the curriculum and create learning materials that transcend the limitations of monocultural disciplinary paradigms, scaffold student learning so students have a chance to master intercultural skills relevant to their discipline, and design assessments that allow students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways.”  Dimitrov, N., & Haque, A. (2016)


Tools for Assessment

Teaching Practices Survey

Teaching Practices Survey Assessment of an instructor’s self-reported practice in course design, instruction and assessment. An instructor can use this on their own, or develop a version for their unit. Teaching Practices Survey - UBC

Assessment of Student Intercultural Competence

There are market tools such as The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) or Cultural intelligence (CQ) that can be used to assess students over longer periods of time (1-2 years).
Within the timeframe of a typical 3 credit unit undergraduate course, consider using an assessed or self-assessed rubric such as the AAC&U intercultural knowledge and competence value rubric.

Introduction to Intercultural Communication

This USask developed course outlines foundational concepts in intercultural communication to help USask students process their intercultural experiences and provide them with tools to communicate effectively with cultures outside of their own dominant culture. It can be embedded as modules within your existing Canvas course or any faculty, staff, or student can self-enrol for a non-credit version for co-curricular record offered by the International Student and Study Abroad Centre.

Student Evaluation

There is an optional Intercultural Module available to users of the Student Learning Experience Questionnaire (SLEQ). Contact your unit’s SLEQ administrator for more information.
Questions include:
  • To what degree did this course help students become more aware of cultural difference?
  • To what degree did the learning experiences in this course help you practice working with groups of diverse race, culture, religion, gender, orientation and/or origin?
  • At the time of registration for this course, my confidence in working with cultural difference was…high/low?
  • At the time of completing this survey, my confidence in working with cultural difference was…high/low?

Teaching strategies

Inclusion and access to learning are fundamentals of internationalized learning experiences.  This can help international students feel seen in a USask course and also help domestic students grow their global identity. We want all our students to become the graduates the world needs.

Tips & Tricks

Be Clear

Make it evident to students in which ways course material draws on a global voice. Being clear and explicit with your intentions helps them understand the ‘why’ behind course material and assessment choices.

Take a Different Point of View

Have students practice perspective-taking, simulations, or experiential learning to develop empathy and a better understanding of their own identity. Discursive strategies help students learn by actively building knowledge collaboratively. Citizen Education Instructional Strategies Resource - Concentus.ca

Build for Choice

Allow students to pick the format of assignments or the path of mastery they choose (individualized projects or research areas). Here are practical ways to plan for choice in assessment. Choice in Assessment - All Universal Design for Learning (AllUDL)

Design for Learning

Plan the course with principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) or Universal Instructional Design (UID). Just like an automatic door is not only used by a person in a wheelchair, good course design doesn't only help students with support designations. Universal Design helps us think through processes that benefit all learners, not just those who might struggle. More on UDL: UDL Examples - UDL On Campus and more on UID: Universal Instructional Design - U.Manitoba

Be Reflective

A reflective practitioner takes time to think about how they interact with students, how students interact with each other, what students consume and what students produce to demonstrate learning in the course. These continuous questions can help guide an instructor to make small and incremental changes to their practice. Read more about Inclusive Teaching Strategies: Reflecting on Your Practice - Educatus, GMCTL

Dimitrov, N., & Haque, A. (2016). Intercultural teaching competence: A multi-disciplinary model for instructor reflection. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 437–456.

Schuerholz-Lehr, S., Caws, C., Van Gyn, G., & Preece, A. (2007). Internationalizing the Higher Education Curriculum: An Emerging Model for Transforming Faculty Perspectives. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 37(1).