Digital and virtual learning tools create new possibilities in internationalizing our learning environment. In a seminar on 20 Apr 2016, Professor Ricky Kwok was invited to share his ideas on how technology broadens the concept of internationalization.
What is internationalization?
Ricky began the conversation by brainstorming with participants some characteristics of “internationalization”:
Internationalization = intention + interaction + intensity
The intention of internationalization is to create an environment where students must interact with people from different cultures. The intensity of interactions is a major area to consider when evaluating students’ international experience. The intensity of intercultural experience correlates to the willingness to interact with local people, such as using the local language and being involved in community projects.
Internationalization at Home
We can intensify the process of internationalization at HKU using technology. With digital and virtual learning tools, we can bridge the distance among learners and institutions. Digital learning has made it possible for us to connect learners worldwide through Massive Open Online Courses. For example, in HKU02.1x The Search for Vernacular Architecture of Asia, Part 1, students from all over the world were invited to analyze their local living environments using key concepts from the course. In HKU03x Humanity and Nature in Chinese Thought, a synchronous online debate on a global scale was organized.
Virtual learning also allows us to replicate our learning environment for overseas students to explore without needing to be here. Currently, we are planning to build a 3-D virtual tour of buildings on the HKU campus in collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute. If more tertiary institutions worldwide offer similar virtual tours, more students can “visit” universities overseas without travelling.
HKU is a focal point of multiple ethnicities and cultures. With technology, we can expand our web to reach international students in a more innovative way. What are your views on this? What digital and virtual tools would you like to try in enhancing internationalization? Share your ideas with us.