Internationalization of Curriculum in Japanese Higher Education: Blockers and Enablers in English-medium Instruction Classrooms in the Era of COVID-19
Hammond, Christopher D.
Collaborative online international learning (COIL)
English-medium instruction (EMI)
Internationalization of curriculum (IoC)
Japanese higher education
The objective of this research was to understand the current situation and challenges associated with the internationalization of the curriculum (IoC) in English-medium instruction (EMI) programs at Japanese universities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing a conceptual framework and ideas of ‘enablers’ and ‘blockers’ of IoC, we analyzed the qualitative data from interviews with 11 faculty members involved in both in-class and online teaching in EMI programs at different Japanese universities. Findings from our analysis revealed a general lack of awareness of IoC, with those that were aware either relating it to the international nature of their academic disciplines or expressing uncertainty in how to incorporate IoC into pedagogical practices. Perceived blockers included quantitative approaches to internationalization policy and funding at the government-level that largely neglected IoC, a lack of commitment and organizational support at the institutional level, and constraints on physical international mobility due to the pandemic. Enablers included the expansion of collaborative online international learning (COIL) programs for virtual student mobility and the general commitment to academic freedom in Japan that allows educators to teach without excessive external interference, enabling them to personally internationalize their curriculum if they wished to do so. The findings suggest that IoC is still a novel concept in Japan that may evolve in the dramatically altered higher education landscape going forward.
This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science [21K02635]
Higher Education Forum
Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University