The Covid-19 pandemic forced universities around the world to redefine the way education is provided for students who are physically unable to come to class. The pandemic could also be an opportunity to redefine what international higher education means, said Professor David Goodman, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU). This month Professor Goodman delivered the final China Speech delivered by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences for 2020.
Professor David Goodman
International is not a product that can be bought easily or tangibly. Bringing international students to a university for example does not necessarily mean its internationalization, he said.
Instead, he suggested that an international university is the place where people from different countries and cultural backgrounds contribute interesting, unique ideas to make something new to a university like XJTLU.
True international higher education is an ongoing conversation about how to bring people, ideas and challenges together, said Professor Goodman.
With that in mind, universities can explore how this can happen with fewer international travel requests, he said, such as XJTLU’s ability to provide Chinese students with an international education within their own country.
Innovation of education
Digital technology enables students to access university libraries in other countries, get instructional content from multiple sites, and meet and communicate with people from different cultures.
There is a whole range of resources and resources waiting online for staff and students. Marked by Professor Goodman.
XJTLU online and mixed HyFlex instruction used in the last two semesters have already crossed physical boundaries. However, he said, international universities have not utilized these technologies to their best effect. He noted that consumer interest and ingenuity with digital products is likely to lead to advances in teaching and learning.
He cited Deakin University in Australia as an example of this drive for improvement: its academic staff records 10-20 minutes of lecture at a time rather than a full hour, enabling students to look at leisure and resolve issues uploading, broadcasting or downloading larger recordings.
Another example would be the short courses offered by various global content providers through the XJTLU Learning Center – these offerings will constantly evolve based on the needs of users, he noted.
Professor Goodman said examples like this point to other opportunities in transforming international higher education, such as short-term programs, which could become a new way to earn a university degree,
I am not saying that universities will be fully adapted to digitalism and consumerism. However, I suspect that part of the curriculum may need to be changed, to listen to the needs of consumers, he said.
Change is the key word
Possible changes in international higher education should not be feared.
The world is changing all the time, and so is international higher education. We can embrace change and look forward to a bright new future because there is no reason to be against it,
For internationalization and international higher education, what we need is hope and imagination. Said Professor Goodman.
By Ying Jiang
Edited by Tamara Kaup
Photo by Wenjun Liu
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