The core work involved in internationalisation of the curriculum (IoC) must be done by academic staff in disciplinary teams.

Ideally IoC is undertaken as a project for a whole program of study or a major within a program. However the same process can be applied to the review and development of a single course within a program.

The process of IoC

The core work involved in IoC must be done by academic staff in disciplinary teams.

It is critical to approach the task of internationalisation of the curriculum in a scholarly way, as an action research process. This is best done in a program team consisting of those staff responsible for designing and teaching a program of study. This makes it possible to harness the combined resources and perspectives of the team to ensure coherence across the program and the systematic identification and development of appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes in all students.


Action research is a reflective and cyclical process of problem solving. When applied to internationalisation of the curriculum the process involves the program team as a community of practice. The purpose of the action research process is one of continuous quality improvement. Changes may occur whilst research is being conducted. When applied to internationalisation of the curriculum team members are actively engaged in reviewing rationales for internationalisation of the curriculum, related goals and performance and making changes which are then evaluated and further changes made. The cycle is repetitive and may be undertaken as part of the normal review process, or outside of that process.

The five stages of the process of IoC emerged during extensive work with teams of academic staff across Australia from 2010-2012. Possible focus questions and key activities associated with each stage were developed. The process can be lead by an internal and/or an external facilitator. Most teams, in working through this process, have enlisted the support of an external facilitator in the early stages.

Review and reflect

Focus question: ‘To what extent is our curriculum internationalised?’

The activities associated with this stage might include:

  • establishing/reviewing/reflecting on the rationale for internationalisation of the curriculum in the program
  • reviewing content, teaching and learning arrangements and assessment in individual courses and across the program in relation to internationalisation of the curriculum
  • reviewing student evaluation and feedback in relation to international and intercultural elements of the curriculum
  • comparing and contrasting feedback on different elements of the program from international students, Australian students and offshore students
  • reviewing feedback from other stakeholders such as professional association and industry stakeholders
  • reviewing institutional goals related to internationalisation of the curriculum and the alignment of the program with these
  • reflecting on achievements and identifying possible areas for improvement
  • negotiating meaning.

Key resources

A stimulus for reflection and discussion, the questionnaire on internationalisation of the curriculum (QIC), assists staff to identify what is already happening and, where appropriate, what action might be taken to further internationalise the program. It prompts staff to think beyond their unit to consider the broader context of what is happening in other units as well as the institutional context in which the program is taught. They are prompted to discuss individual elements of the curriculum such as content, assessment and teaching and learning arrangements across the entire program. A guide to using the QIC is also provided.


Focus question: ‘What other ways of thinking and doing are possible?’

The activities associated with this stage might include:

  • discussing the cultural foundations of dominant paradigms in your discipline
  • examining the origins and nature of the paradigm within which you work
  • identifying emergent paradigms and thinking about the possibilities they offer
  • imagining the world of the future: what and how will your students need to learn, in order to live and work effectively and ethically in this future world?
  • imagining some different ways of doing things in the foreseeable future
  • negotiating possibilities.

Key resources

The conceptual framework on page 3 is a useful resource to prompt this discussion. Case studies of internationalisation of the curriculum in other disciplines, provide valuable insights into how others have approached the task.

Revise and Plan

Focus question: ‘Given the above, what will we do differently in our program?’

The activities associated with this stage might include:

  • establishing goals and objectives for internationalisation of the curriculum in your program
  • identifying blockers and enablers for individuals and the team in achieving these
  • identifying experts, champions and latent champions in your team and across the university who can help you to achieve them
  • identifying and sourcing support and resources to assist staff and students to overcome major obstacles
  • setting priorities and developing an action plan focussed on who will do what, by when, and what resources and support will be required
  • discussing how you will evaluate the effectiveness of any changes you make to the curriculum, including their effect on student learning
  • negotiating the roles of individual team members in the process of internationalisation of the curriculum in the next two stages.

Key resources

Some key program planning questions have been developed to assist teams to establish program goals and objectives for internationalisation of the curriculum. A short questionnaire concerning blockers and enablers to individual staff engagement in internalisation of the curriculum is a useful aid to planning who will do what.


Focus question: 'How will we ensure that students and staff are best supported to achieve our internationalisation plan?'

The activities associates with this stage might include:

  • negotiating and implementing new teaching arrangements and support services for staff and students
  • trailing new support arrangements in the informal curriculum
  • introducing compulsory workshops for all students prior to a multi cultural team work assignment
  • introducing new assessment tasks
  • introducing a new course/unit
  • collecting evidence to evaluate the development of intercultural and international knowledge, skills and attitude in students (qualitative and/or quantitative).


Focus question: ‘To what extent have we achieved our internationalisation goals?’

The activities associated with this stage might include:

  • analysing evidence collected from stakeholders, including students and staff
  • reflecting on the impact of action taken
  • considering any ‘interference’ factors e.g. unexpected events that may have had a positive or negative impact on achievement of goals
  • considering any gaps in the evidence and collection of post-hoc evidence if necessary
  • summarising achievements and feeding results into ‘Review and Reflect’ stage
  • negotiating ongoing roles and responsibilities for internationalisation of the curriculum within the program team.

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