Adding International Content To The Curriculum
Adding an international component gives you the opportunity to refresh a course that you may have taught for a long time. It is not generally necessary to start completely from scratch to add an international segment. Rather, internationalizing the curriculum means adding components to your course in order to spark interest and debate about global perspectives, help students identify their biases about a particular country or culture, and to become familiar with international business practices.There are two common methods of internationalizing the curriculum: course infusion and new international courses. The infusion method is the one we shall address here. When we talk about “infusion” we refer to adding international content into currently offered courses. Infusion can run from something as simple as adding a single lecture, chapter, or guest speaker to a course which previously only focused on domestic business issues. More dynamic methods of infusion, however, include incorporating more substantive international content into the curriculum. This can be done by:
- Including readings and articles from international journals;
- Using examples of international businesses or cases in your courses and focusing on how various international dimensions affected decision making, logistics, negotiations, marketing, advertising, finances, and other aspects of this company.
- Using simulations with structured debriefing
- Having students work on projects with international dimensions. It is particularly useful to include at least one international student in every group project assigned so students gain cross cultural perspectives.
- Discussing different aspects of cultures and business practices in other countries;
- Discussing current international events and their impact on a business process or function.
While infusion of international content is a more cost effective method of internationalizing the curriculum, it often does not result in the depth of knowledge required to enable students to become globally competent. Additionally, some issues are so vital that it is useful to have an additional course focusing solely on the global dynamics involved in a given issue such as international finance or international logistics. If bringing international topics and examples to your class sparks student interest, you may want to suggest adding a specific in-depth course on international issues to the curriculum and encourage these students to add international aspects to their degree program. Given the huge increase and interest in international business programs, we hope you will seriously consider adding an international dimension to the courses you teach.