Abstract: Context: Many universities include a graduate attribute focused on internationalisation with the aim of enhancing employability and global citizenship. Undergraduate engineers therefore could reasonably be expected to develop global mindsets and mobility aspirations as well as intercultural capabilities. Whilst most universities offer global mobility programs, there is scope for curriculum responses that promote global awareness that might or might not translate into global mobility. One way this might happen is through connecting domestic and international student cohorts in particular subjects.
Central Queensland University (CQUniversity) was one of six universities to explore and extend students' global mindsets. This was part of an Office for Learning and Teaching grant called: The Global Canopy: linking international inbound students with domestic outbound students for improved learning and global connections. The participant universities were diverse and included ATN, Go8 and RUN institutions. Further, whilst we focused on engineering education, other disciplines included medical science, architecture, computing, health, mathematics, construction and a range of subdisciplines.
Purpose: The Global Canopy Project investigated ways of increasing global mobility aspirations of students and explored means for embedding global awareness into course material. Central Queensland University took a first year undergraduate engineering subject as a context for connecting domestic and international students and investigated the impact on student attitudes about global mobility.
Approach: Each university adopted a case study approach. A pre-activity survey was designed to capture student attitudes and willingness to travel for study purposes. Then, for our study, we introduced a series of disruptive teaching/learning activities that engaged domestic undergraduate students in thinking as global engineers and connected them with international post-graduate students. A post-survey was then implemented along with semi-structured interviews with students. Data was analysed to determine attitudinal change.
Results: Whilst most students engaged enthusiastically in the activities that connected domestic and international cohorts, data suggest a marginal attitudinal change. Students with existing positive attitudes felt their global mobility aspirations and global awareness were enhanced and several students immediately took the offer to apply for the EWB Humanitarian Design Summit hosted in India. Conclusions: Despite success in enhancing mobility aspirations and global mindsets, the teaching and learning activities fell short of inspiring broad attitudinal change. The initiative highlighted the challenge faced by educators to enhance global mobility aspirations, particularly for those teaching in regional locations. Our work also reinforced the need for embedded rather than ad hoc approaches to developing global mindsets.
To cite this article: Lawson, Justin; Hadgraft, Roger and McLaughlin, Patricia. Enhancing global mindsets [online]. In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 458-463.
[cited 29 Apr 17].