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