A Window to the World: Using Technology to Internationalise Entrepreneurship Education


  • Sabine McKinnon Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Anne MJ Smith Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Julie C Thomson Glasgow Caledonian University




internationalisation, online learning, virtual mobility, entrepreneurship, curriculum


The discourse about internationalising higher education has often been dominated by discussions about the needs of international students in a UK classroom. These students have already taken the first step towards improving their international awareness and are still a minority in our classrooms. What about the vast majority of our home students who are often local and have not had the opportunity to study abroad? Given that the uptake of physical mobility schemes is still low in the UK using technology to connect students with their peers in other countries offers a cost effective way of enhancing their cultural awareness.

This paper presents the results of a pilot study in entrepreneurship education which used the COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) approach to internationalisation at home. Students at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) worked in teams with their peers at a Japanese institution using a Wiki, Skype and Facebook. During their six-week collaboration the Scottish students were monitored for their perceptions of their own intercultural sensitivity and their understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship in Japan and Scotland. Drawing on the results from an online evaluation survey this study makes a contribution to the pedagogical debate in entrepreneurship education which has not always paid sufficient attention to the relevance of intercultural skills in entrepreneurial activity. The data shows that students increased their awareness of the demands of cross-cultural team-working and improved their knowledge of entrepreneurship, innovation and trade across nations. On a more general note, this paper also reflects on the benefits and challenges for academic staff who collaborate with colleagues across national borders using internet based tools.

Author Biographies

Sabine McKinnon, Glasgow Caledonian University

abine McKinnon is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Learning Enhancement and Academic Development at Glasgow Caledonian University. She is leading the university-wide Global Perspectives project which supports staff in internationalising the curriculum. Her research focuses on the impact of national cultures on learning and teaching.

Anne MJ Smith, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Anne M.J. Smith lectures on entrepreneurship at Glasgow Caledonian University. She has been involved in the design and delivery of several industry-based entrepreneurship programmes and global management education initiatives. Anne publishes in international journals with articles on entrepreneurial learning within communities and enterprise education.

Julie C Thomson, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Julie C. Thomson has a multidisciplinary background in both science and business. Following a period in industry, she lectures at Glasgow Caledonian University on Business Management including entrepreneurship and innovation. As well as research into teaching practice, Julie’s research interests lie within innovation management and in particular open innovation and social innovation.


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