Process of Transforming Regular Courses Into I-Courses: The Case of Two Political Science Courses at GGC

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Due to globalization of communication technology, social media, and multiple free trade agreements, national borderlines all over the world are disappearing. This demands that our universities must transcend their local or national focus to address the changing educational landscape that globalization has created. At the same time, the ability to work with people from other countries and cultures has become a key factor for such interactions to succeed. Related to this globalization, in the area of education, we have two different terms that are very often exchangeable: international dimension of education and global dimension of education. However, there is a fundamental difference between these two concepts. The former refers to “the process of integrating an international/intercultural dimension into the teaching, research and service functions of the institution” (Knight, 1993, p. 21). This means that international dimension of education implies infusion of other cultural values and traditions into specific teachings, e.g. political science, at home. Global dimension of education, meanwhile, denotes a dimension that goes beyond the particular concerns targeted by the international dimension of education to reach general concerns, like the philosophy of a school and global interdependence.

By 2009, Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) initiated a generalized effort to internationalize the curriculum by focusing on the international dimension of education as defined above. A few years later, those efforts culminated with the origination of the current Global Studies Certification” program. Three years of college-wide research and planning led to the design of the certification program and the development of a two-part program by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). The first one exposes GGC faculty members to the implementation of concepts of internationalized learning on their own teaching and their students’ learning. The second part consists of a semester-long “deep” training faculty development program designed to help faculty gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to successfully convert their courses into i-courses (GGC.b, 2016).

The author of this chapter participated in the college’s efforts to internationalize the curricula. Then, he actually got two of his regular courses approved as internationalized courses (or i-courses). The purpose of this chapter is to analyze the possible factors that determined a relatively relaxed process of transforming the author’s two courses into i-course. The argument is that some institutional mechanisms created by the college administration smoothed the process. To support the argument, the chapter, first, provides definitions of some concepts related to internationalization of the curriculum, followed by the presentation of other scholars’ findings on factors of internationalization of the curriculum. The introduction of GGC’s process approach to internationalization will be next, followed by an analysis of the process of transforming the author’s two regular courses into i-courses. The chapter concludes with some challenges, several student evaluations of the two i-courses, and directions for future research.