Reflections on creating an international virtual benchmarking model for authentic e-learning Crossin

Reflections on creating an international virtual benchmarking model for authentic e-learning Crossin

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Reflections on creating an international virtual benchmarking model for authentic e-learning: Crossing boundaries and breaking down barriers Irja Leppisaari Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences, Finland irja.leppisaari@cou.fi Leena Vainio HAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland leena.vainio@hamk.fi Jan Herrington Murdoch University, Australia j.herrington@murdoch.edu.au Yeonwook Im Hanyang Cyber University, Korea (South) yeonwook@empal.com Abstract: International virtual teamwork offers new opportunities for the professional development of teachers. In this paper, we examine the initial experiences in an ongoing international virtual benchmarking project coordinated by the Finnish Online University of Applied Sciences. What challenges does an international context present for project construction and collaboration? Data from five countries, in the form of participant reflections and researchers’ observations, were analysed according to four types of barriers: language, time, technical and mental barriers. Initial data indicates that trust is an essential starting point, as there is neither time nor possibilities to build mutual trust by traditional means. Organisational confidentiality issues, however, can complicate the situation. The project introduces ‘collision’ as a method of professional development, in which not only physical and organisational borders are crossed, but also mental barriers, as skills and competencies needed in global learning environments are acquired. Background Educational organisations are expected to operate and develop teaching more internationally today. In Finland, the Higher Education Internationalisation Strategy (HE-Internationalisation, 2009) emphasises increasing international studies and connections in line with OECD policies (see Marginson, & van der Wende, 2008). Internationality is one central element of educational development and is examined as a factor in the quality and outcomes of educational organisations. According to the National Innovation Strategy (FIS, 2008) Finland’s inclusion and position in global skill and value networks requires active participation and influence as well as international mobility and attractiveness. In a borderless world, know-how is sought elsewhere (FIS 2008). International and global dimensions are strongly linked to constructing an innovative learning environment. In Korea, the concepts and policies of international education in a higher level is focused on strengthening the nation’s international competitiveness (Kim, 2008). Many higher education institutes want to educate students to acquire global perspectives and various abilities to work internationally. This International education enables universities to invite excellent students and to increase income (Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2006). Most universities have English as a required course. The trial for international educational by higher educational institutes
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2011 for the course PUK 202 taught by Professor Roth during the Spring '10 term at Universität Klagenfurt.

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Reflections on creating an international virtual benchmarking model for authentic e-learning Crossin

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