Willy Brandt School of Public Policy,
Successful Examples for the Internationalisation of Teaching
The "Internationalisation of Teaching – Governance & Practice of Virtual Mobility and Lived Multilingualism" is the topic of an online conference hosted by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) on 6/7 December. The conference will also focus on three projects at the University of Erfurt as positive examples from practice.
In the internationalisation of teaching, virtual mobility and multilingualism are two important fields of action that both reflect the reality of social life and are also influenced by global developments. In many (German) universities and international university partnerships, foreign-language and multilingual teaching as well as virtual and hybrid teaching formats for (international) students are part of everyday practice and are being established and expanded as part of the strategic internationalisation of universities. However, these processes also require the further development of organisational and legal framework conditions and the successful interaction of various stakeholders in order to enable attractive and internationally compatible study conditions at German universities in the long term.
The HRK ADVANCE project has developed two handouts for the German higher education system to improve the framework conditions for virtual mobility and foreign and multilingual study programmes in the course of the first project thematic cycle, which are now to be supplemented by examples of good practice. As part of the conference "Internationalisation of Teaching – Governance & Practice of Virtual Mobility and Lived Multilingualism" in December, a selection of examples of good practice will be presented in addition to a keynote speech by Professor Robert O'Dowd (Universidad de León) on "The role of Online Approaches and Multilingualism in International Learning and Teaching", a panel discussion with representatives from universities and politics as well as thematic keynote speeches. These include three projects by colleagues from the University of Erfurt:
The project "Ecuador3: Students in Inclusive Education, Teaching and Research" by Dr Amelie Abarca Heidemann is a cooperation between the "Inclusive Education Processes in Language and Communication Impairments" department at the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Educational Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in Quito and the "Centre for the Promotion and Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities (CERLECO)" in San Pedro, Ecuador. In joint seminars with the PUCE, more than 100 Erfurt and Ecuadorian students have come together so far to work together, i.e. in a culturally comparative and multilingual way, on impairments in the context of inclusive educational processes. For example, materials created in Erfurt were further developed in a seminar using methods such as sign language or Braille. In the area of supporting people with disabilities, CERLECO has already implemented eight mostly voluntary student projects lasting between three months and two years with a total of around 30 students from the University of Erfurt. These projects have involved a wide range of activities, such as making music together, creating comics, illustrating short stories, producing videos, designing a mourning tree and creating an ICH book. The projects have also resulted in Master's and Bachelor's theses. Important project results were also incorporated into other research projects and were presented by students and academics at conferences and at the respective partner institution.
A special course in the Studium Fundamentale at the University of Erfurt, which has also been recognised as a successful practical example by the HRK, deals with the topic of "The Wellbeing of the Child". Under the title "The Wellbeing of the Child: Protection – Promotion – Rights" , Professor Myriam Wijlens (Faculty of Catholic Theology), supported by Yeshica Umaña Calderón, offers students at the university the opportunity to engage in dialogue with experts from all over the world. Their course aims to expand knowledge about abuse in various institutions, such as churches, schools or sports facilities, to develop an awareness of the problem and to work together to find ways and develop measures to prevent child abuse. Students benefit from the extensive expertise and worldwide network of Professor Myriam Wijlens, who has been working for many years on (scientific) clarification and reappraisal, not least against the background of numerous cases of abuse in the Catholic Church becoming known, and is involved in numerous committees on this topic.
As part of the "Internationalisation and digitalisation of teaching" project, Dr Hasnain Bokhari at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy is developing ideas for greater internationalisation at the University of Erfurt. The aim is to strengthen international cooperation and global networks and increase the worldwide mobility of students. One successful example of this is the "COIL initiative" (COIL: collaborative, online and international learning experiences), in which Brandt School students had the opportunity to work virtually with their fellow students from the Department of Gender Studies at the College of Mexico for a month in the winter semester of 2022/23 under the direction of Dr Hasnain Bokhari.
In a typical COIL scenario, teachers and students from two educational institutions work together on a common task. Using chat platforms or online forums, students have the opportunity to share their perspectives, insights and cultural experiences in relation to the task at hand. Students actively engage with cultural differences and exchange ideas. It is not uncommon for traditional attitudes to be critically scrutinised and corrected through new perspectives.
The idea was born against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, but also the global climate emergency, which required and continues to require a stronger focus on digitalisation – including in teaching. The Brandt School saw an opportunity to proactively deal with the restrictions caused by the pandemic in order to do something for teaching within the framework of international cooperation and to have a sustainable and global impact through barrier-free education. Since then, Dr Hasnain Bokhari's project has been promoting new digital and hybrid learning formats by building international academic partnerships with academic institutions in both the Global South and the Global North.
The virtual event "Internationalisation of Teaching – Governance & Practice of Virtual Mobility and Lived Multilingualism" is aimed at representatives of German universities at all functional levels, scientific organisations and political actors at federal and state level who are concerned with the legal and organisational framework conditions for the internationalisation of teaching or who are interested in the issue.