If you are thinking about decolonising your curriculum and wondering where to start, do no not worry, you are in the majority. Many people are supportive of the idea in principle but are not sure what to do.
In an increasingly digital and connected world, the concept of internationalisation at home, by which students can learn and engage with global perspectives regardless of their location, is becoming more important. Even when students opt for local careers, their work will be impacted by increasing diversity in their own communities, by global developments and by events in other geographic areas. Introducing international and intercultural dimensions into university courses are therefore key elements that support students in their preparation for this future.
The internationalisation of teaching and learning has seemed, in recent months, to be almost synonymous with digital cross-border scenarios. Formats such as virtual mobility and virtual exchange have been widely adopted. No doubt, these can be highly engaging and inspiring formats. But they present just one way of internationalising the curriculum and providing all students with an international experience on their home campus.
It’s annual accounts season at universities. Up and down the land, a handful of university colleagues will have been straining their eyes on spreadsheets and bringing together the narrative that tells a story of how their university has performed over the past year.
Traditionally many universities have designed new programmes led by the research interests of academics, with employer and industry consultation relegated to an afterthought.
Programme specifications and module proposal forms have been tossed under the noses of random employers, asking for feedback on courses that are already developed. This has often been a tick-box exercise to demonstrate to the academic validating panel that employer consultation was sought, simply paying lip service to the critical need for employer engagement.
To meet the changing needs of modern workplaces, universities should look beyond teaching conventional problem-solving methods. With clever use of technology, institutions can encourage students to engage more creatively with solving real-world problems.
By 2025, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that creative thinking and problem-solving will be among the top skills required within the workplace.
The question then, for higher education institutions, is: how can we best contribute to ensuring our graduates meet these employer needs?
Too often at university, presentation skills are assessed but never taught. This is despite “skilled communicator” being among our core graduate attributes. Giving a presentation will probably be unavoidable for most graduates; it might be part of the recruitment process itself for their first graduate job.
Practise, practise, practise
You learn how to give a good presentation by repeatedly giving presentations. Students must present, get feedback and implement that feedback. Repeatedly.
The 2020 Future of Jobs survey by the World Economic Forum asked senior executives from organisations around the world what skills were increasingly important for their workforce. Within the UK the top three skills cited were “active learning and learning strategies”, “analytical thinking and innovation” and “creativity, originality and initiative”.