Internationalisation of the Curriculum in the Common Core

To examine how internationalisation has been integrated into the curriculum at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Common Core Curriculum (CCC) may be a good place to start. The CCC is designed to help students develop a broader perspective; navigate between their culture and the culture of others; become responsible citizens in local, regional and global communities; and cultivate intellectual and communication skills i. These goals echo well HKU’s overall educational aims of nurturing graduates with intercultural understanding and global citizenship.

With these ambitious goals in mind, it is illuminating to consider how the CCC has been designed and implemented to realise such goals. Based on informal interviews with 13 Common Core teachers as well as the Director of the Common Core, this briefing provides an overview of how the CCC integrates internationalisation in its curriculum and illustrates through specific course examples how the theme is embedded in course contents, learning outcomes, pedagogies, delivery, and assessment. It is clear from an analysis of the 13 HKU case examples that internationalising the curriculum involves far more than simply adding examples and alternative perspectives into course contents.

A Conceptual Framework for Internationalisation of the Curriculum

Internationalisation in higher education is important in both the local and the global contexts within which universities operate and internationalisation of the curriculum is a critical component of any university’s internationalisation strategy. A broad definition of curriculum is useful when considering internationalisation of the curriculum (Jones & Killick 2007). Such a view is inclusive of all aspects of the learning/teaching situation and both the formal curriculum (the syllabus and the planned experiences and activities that students undertake) as well as the informal curriculum and the hidden curriculum (Leask 2009).

The formal curriculum is the planned and sequenced programme of teaching and learning activities organised around defined content areas and assessed in various ways. The informal curriculum includes the various extra-curricular activities that take place on campus. It is an important part of the landscape in which the formal curriculum is enacted. The hidden curriculum includes the incidental lessons that are learned about power and authority, and about what and whose knowledge is valued and not valued, from the way the curriculum is organised and enacted. In the formal curriculum essential considerations include what international as well as ‘at home’ learning experiences will be provided to assist all students to develop specified international and intercultural learning outcomes, how learning in relation to these outcomes will be assessed and how study abroad and exchange are integrated into the curriculum at home.

If you want to be informed of the upcoming events and the latest news about this Community of Practice Project, please leave us your contact information.