Course Effective teaching for internationalisation

A professional development course

 

Introduction, course rationale

An important obstacle for some European universities’ participation in international projects and European mobility schemes is the limited number of foreign language programmes and courses that they offer. Although there is a clear trend to provide an increased number of such programs and courses, the speed of this increase is rather slow and it is likely to remain so without targeted interventions. Besides undertaking structural changes and introducing new international policies, universities should provide support to their teaching staff to become competent and feel comfortable to develop foreign language courses and teach international students.

 

Aims of the course

To address these challenges, the IMPACT project aims to improve internationalisation of universities in Europe through enhancing the teaching competences of university teachers. As a significant element of the project, the course Effective teaching for international students intends to help university teachers design and teach courses attaining to the needs of international students and mixed groups of home and international students.

 

Expected learning outcomes

By the end of this course participants shall be able to:

 

  • recognise and address the needs and expectations of a diverse body of local and international students
  • use a set of approaches, principles, concepts and instruments to design and implement new undergraduate or graduate courses (or revise existing ones) that
  1. help local students cope with and benefit from international challenges and practices (internationalization at home) and
  2. attend to the needs of international students and effectively support their learning
  • assess student learning and evaluate the outcomes of their courses in a self-reflective, enhancement-led and critical manner

  

Course format and structure

This  four-semester professional development course uses active learning as the key method through which participants are to develop knowledge and skills in this area– an underlying learning principle for all instruction. By active learning it is meant that participant teachers predominantly learn through other ways than listening to workshop facilitators and reading assigned materials. In other words, course leaders have modeled the nature of the instruction participants are encouraged to take up. During the course, facilitators will create a range of opportunities for participants to formulate their own understanding of studied concepts, to trial new teaching and learning methods, to collaborate with peers in small groups and to exchange feedback. Further to that, participants will be invited and helped to implement active learning in their own classes via

 

1)     a series of 7 face-to-face workshops totaling 28 hours (semester 1). The purpose of these workshops is to help participants become competent and confident facilitators of learning for international students. To achieve that, the participants will learn such key concepts as student-centered learning, peer learning, reflective teaching, constructive alignment, formative and summative assessment and scholarship of teaching and learning, and how these can be used in course and session design, course facilitation, feedback and assessment. The workshops are to help participants to increase the repertoire of teaching strategies they can use to encourage active learning and peer learning. The workshops are supported by take-home assignments, pre-workshop reading assignments and short written exercises (semester 1).

 

2)     a course design section, whereby participants work to develop a new (under) graduate course (or course sessions) that is taught in a foreign language and follows the principles of facilitating good learning of international students. During this part, participants also design a plan for evaluating course outcomes. While working on both tasks, online coaches (from among the session leaders of face-to-face workshops) support participants by providing them with guidance and feedback. During this period, course leaders prepare two occasions for the participants to meet and present their progress with course design. One meeting will be organised for sharing of ideas and the other meeting, towards the end of semester, will be a poster session where participants present their course designs and exchange feedback on them (semester 2).

 

3)     a teaching section where participants teach the (re-)designed course (or course sessions) to a cohort of students, preferably including international students and collect data on the outcomes of student learning. Each participant is expected to invite at least one colleague to observe his/her class and complete an observation form provided by course organisers (semester 3).

 

4)     a teaching evaluation section whereby participants write and present a Scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) report on student learning. Participants will be encouraged to present their paper at the 2022 EuroTLC (European Conference on Teaching and Learning Politics, IR and European Studies) which is to be held in Bratislava and suggested a list of other events where they can present their work (semester 4).

 

Pre-course assignments

September 2020: participants submitted a syllabus of the course they taught recently, ideally in English language and a class plan.

 

Workshop topics

Workshops take 3.5 hours each and take place between October and January in Bratislava (for teachers from Comenius University) and in Brno (for teachers from Masaryk University).

 

Dates, topics and facilitators of workshops

 

Nr.DatesTopicFacilitators
1.1-2 Oct 2020International students, diversity and internationalisation. Course IntroductionGabriela Pleschová, Jaroslav Varchola and Mátyás Szabó; Petr Sucháček, Jitka Vidláková and Mátyás Szabó
2.15-16 Oct 2020Designing courses for international and internationalized classroomEszter Simon and Gabriela Pleschová
3.29-30 Oct 2020Facilitating courses for international studentsGina Wisker and Sylvia Walsarie-Wolff
4.19-20 Nov 2020Supporting student learning online and introduction to the scholarship of teaching and learningAgi Simon
5.10-11 Dec 2020Assessment practices with international studentsMátyás Szabó and Gina Wisker
6.7-8 Jan 2021 Interactive online tools

Jitka Vidláková, Jana Výškrabková, Veronika Straková

 

7.14-15 Jan 2021 Microteaching demonstration

Jitka Vidláková, Silviu Piros, Jaroslav Varchola and Gabriela Pleschová; Agi Simon, Petr Sucháček and Silviu Piros

 

Practical aspects

The first date is for the workshops for the participants from Masaryk University whereas the later date is for the workshops for the participants from Comenius University. Workshops start at 9:00 and finish at 13:00 with two short (15 min) breaks in between. 

 

Assessment

Course participants submit the following writing tasks:

1)     Tasks submitted as part of attending the workshops (short writing task like a reflection on how your own syllabus incorporates any of the features of internationalized courses or the challenges and the enriching experiences you have experienced while teaching international students; a post-microteaching writing exercise)

2)     A syllabus of a course attaining to the needs of foreign students, class plans or assessment tasks for at least three sessions offered in a foreign language for international students and a design for evaluating the course impact on student learning

3)     Observation protocol completed by a peer teacher and a short reflection on how course participant is going to use peer feedback in their future practice

4)     A SOTL report on student learning

 

Participants receive feedback (oral or written) from their coach (or for the workshops, from the session leader) on each task and revise following the feedback. Final versions of the assignments are assessed by participant coaches using a rubric. For a participant to pass this course, he/she needs to submit all writing tasks and be assessed for the written tasks 1, 2 and 4 as attaining the learning outcomes at least for the low level.

 

Programme document

Programme document of the Effective teaching for internationalisation course can be downloaded here (March 2021 version).

Certificate and credits

In October 2020 the course has received an international accreditation from Staff and Educational Development Association (UK) that will award each course graduate with an internationally recognised certificate. Doctoral students are moreover awarded 6 ECTS credits for every completed semester of the course.

Course in 2021/20 academic year

The first semester of the course was attended by 24 faculty members from Comenius University and 9 faculty members from Masaryk University. This included teachers from Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences. Due to Covid-19 the workshops were offered online through MS Teams. 

22 teachers from Comenius University and 7 teachers from Masaryk University continue in the course in the second semester. 

Acknowledgement

This course is supported by a generous grant from the European Union’s Erasmus+ program Improving academic teaching and internationalisation through enhanced competences of university teachers (IMPACT) No. 2019-1-SK01-KA203-060671.