Showing posts with label international education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international education. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Developing Online Education to Meet the Needs of International Business

As business information and financial transactions increases there will be a need for more international oriented higher education curriculum. Online education affords an opportunity for greater global reach and revenue development without overburdening cost existing structures. Technology has adapted over the years to allow similar platforms of classes to be used across borders to encourage international higher education.

The global business community that makes up a large portion of international firms have different needs then domestic productions. Senior leadership positions will require a higher level of cultural awareness and additional understanding of how systems work within different cultures. Such leaders will need to develop a wider perspective commerce through proper preparation. 

International Education Models: 

Crossing international borders offer some advantages but rests on 1.) host institution, 2.) technology, 3.) learning models of students and 4.) learning models of teachers (Sadyknova & Dauterman, 2009). These four domains provide a way to understand how sharing resources and technology matched with sound learning and teaching theory can be beneficial.

Universities sometimes partner with other universities to offer programs that they do not or cannot offer themselves due to lack of enrollment. Under mutual agreement these universities may exchange programs to enhance both entities by sharing course resources. As technology increases and distance learning becomes mainstream the transference of shared courses will be easier.

Models for teaching online is also improving and as more universities conduct research in online education and adapt current models to teaching and learning in a virtual environment the stronger the system becomes. Some argue that online education is making its way from disruptive technology to mainstream with distinct advantages for both students and colleges who adapt it and financial disadvantages to those who don’t. 

Student Engagement as a Priority Factor: 

Having the right models and technology only brings you so far because it is the students that need to engage the classroom for higher levels of learning. It doesn’t’ matter much how efficient universities become or their models if students are not willing to engage the classroom. The same problem occurs in traditional and online education.

Engagement is influenced by the nature of the course, its technical approach, its practicality, and the students background (Pimpa, 2011). Students will need to find some interest in the actual course and believe that it is practical information that is beneficial for their futures. When they engage, pay attention and complete work they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcomes. 

Making It Work Together: 

Higher education can take any form from sitting under a tree to zooming cyber world as long as students learn practical information that enhances their lives and opportunities. Research is starting to support the financial and educational benefits of online education. Universities that are suffering under heavy legacy costs, supersized facilities, and expensive structures are seeking ways to revamp.

Online education has strong international possibilities as Internet access gains momentum in most developing nations with intense hunger for higher education. Sometimes these universities will partner, swap, or collaborate with domestic universities. At other times universities may decide to go it alone and develop their own curriculum to meet the needs of the local student population and the requirements of the international community.

Sadykova, G. & Dautermann, J. (2009). Crossing cultures and borders in international online distance higher education. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13 (2).

Pimpa, N. (2011). Engaging international business students in the online environment. International Journal of Management Education, 9 (3).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Selecting Global Managers

International organizations have a need for global managers that maintain abilities to handle the complex cultural and operational functionality of larger organizations. Global managers are highly sought after as navigators of international context and become bridges between the different cultural perceptions to foster achievement of organizational objectives.  A paper by van de Vijver (2008) helps executives better understand on how to select global managers for recruitment or development and the skills such manager’s hold. 

Success in finding the right global candidate requires understanding how the person views the world by assessing their personality. Nearly all personality assessments have flaws with some having bigger flaws than others. Few practitioners would rely on a single assessment in much the same way as a hiring manager should not look at only one aspect of a person to making an important decision. 

In the global context concepts like cultural empathy, cultural distance, and intercultural abilities have a positive impact on one’s ability to work in a multi-cultural world. Global managers who use these skills typically do so when functioning in multi-cultural teams, operating from another country, or work in an international cultural context. 

Managers who function successfully in international environments don’t often prescribe to a single ethnic identity (Ashmore, et. al., 2004). They take on varying cultural perspectives, adopt a multi-cultural identity, and are skilled when working in a multiple cultural environment. Because of their ability to understand self in different contexts they are able to function in those contexts with greater effectiveness.

The paper finds that the performance of global managers is determined by multiple characteristics. The global manager should have intercultural competence to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. They should also have the intellectual capacity to understand a complex world in which they exist.  Their ability to use both their intellectual capacity and cultural understandings make them more effective than domestic managers in navigating ambiguous environments. 

The global manager is not a person who has lost their birth culture but is a person who has adapted that culture to the needs of the business community and the world at large. They learned and developed to a point that they understand and share cultural identities with people from various parts of the world. They are open-minded in effectively dealing with and managing perspectives that are different from their own. 

The same intellectual ability that allows them to take on new cultural perspectives is the same intellectual ability that allows understands complex operations that span across different continents. Each organization is a collective of people, policies, resources, values, cultures, supply networks, financial arrangements, and interconnected vines of related networks. To understand how the tangible business operations work within the difficult to define cultures is a life time in the making. 

Ashmore, R., et. al. (2004). An organizing framework for collective identity: Articulation and significance of multidimensionality. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 80–114.

Van de Vijver, F. (2008). Personality assessment of global talent: conceptual and methodological issues. International Journal of Testing, 8.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Integrating International Business Education For Higher Outcomes

College students collect lots of insightful morsels of knowledge that add to their understandings of their chosen field of study. Unfortunately, many graduates can’t conceptualize the wider context of information and this limits their ability to integrate new information for higher practical application. A study by Annavarjula, et. al. (2014) explores the beneficial practice of creating integrative curriculum blocks to enhance international business education learning. 

Integrative learning helps students to make connections between personal experiences and multiple pieces of information learned in the classroom to deeper embed concepts for practical use. When integrative learning is strong it can help students visualize, understand, and overcome difficult problems by using creativity across different spectrums. 

Integrative learning is important to international business students as the complexity of understanding world markets can bury even the brightest of minds. Having a mental framework for understanding how international business functions requires knowledge of accounting, treaties, marketing, management principles and many other fields synthesized into an idea of the whole. 

Integrative learning helps students make deeper and further reaching connections among the different business sectors to solve important business problems.  Integrating the self with this knowledge furthers the student’s preparation for successful employment in multi-national organizations.  

Problem solving through making connections between seemingly independent elements has its advantages in commerce (Kovalik & Olsen, 1994). Graduates with less integrated knowledge may be confused by how or why certain influences are impacting the business environment while the highly integrated graduates can understand the interrelated sources of those influences. 

The process in the study worked by having teaches stay with students longer in the program before new teachers were introduced. This is different than having teachers change with each course. Integrative blocks were used that included curriculum, business strategy simulation game, guest speakers, joint class lectures and coordination of faculty efforts. 

Learning integration of knowledge is something some students can do on their own while others need proper guidance to put the information together. Offering various perspectives on business issues and practicing through strategy simulation will help solidify the information. Bringing in outside speakers encourages a variety of perspectives on similar topics. 

The report doesn’t discuss online education but many of the principles found in ground-based university systems also apply to online classrooms. Guest videos, teach a cohort of students through multiple courses, properly sequencing courses, ensuring classrooms reflect multiple nationalities/cultures, and if/then game simulation are more easily managed in online courses.

Annavarjula, M. et. al. (2014). Use of integrative curriculum to enhance international business education. International Journal of Education Research, 9 (1). 

Kovalik, S, & Olsen, K. (1994). ITI: The model. Integrated thematic instruction (3rd Edition). Kent, Washington: Books for Educators.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do American Universities Draw International Talent?

Higher education is an important point of discussion within American intellectual circles. Higher education is more expensive than in the past and some have questioned its ability to produce students that can effectively fill positions and compete globally. The very nature of competition has moved from domestic to international as companies now must sell and interact in a more complex market. A paper by Garcia and de Lourdes Villarreal discusses international students and the slowing down of the ability to attract those students to foster greater learning and higher revenue in higher education (2014). 

International students make decisions to frequent the United States based on a whole range of issues related to opportunities, prestige, international competitiveness, ease of entry, cost, etc… Like the purchase of any other product or service the personal and social cost can be extensive for these students and there are many different options and alternatives.

Some of the costs students face includes leaving their families behind, paying in cash, restricted visas due to the Patriot Act, English as an international business language, and the type of programs a university offers. These are significant considerations and countries that can ease the process of attending higher education may find themselves as a draw for future highly skilled employees.

Many countries don’t have the same breadth of programs the U.S. maintains. They are limited in terms of not only the type of programs offered but also the ability to attend higher education based upon high demand and low supply. At other times, countries are inherently discriminatory to minorities and bar them from achieving a competitive degree.

International students not only raise the learning level and international competitiveness of domestic graduates but also pay their tuition in cash making them attractive to school administrators. International students are one way in which higher education budget short-falls can be improved while avoiding cutting education quality.

When successful international students are recruited by local companies and are retained within the country they add to the intellectual capital of the nation and encourage greater economic growth. Their knowledge and skill of international markets can be applied to greater business growth and economic development.

The report doesn’t move into online education and is primarily focused on ground based institutions. International online education is an exportable product that can be a cheaper option for many students who must make choices to travel and leave their home countries. As online education raises in value and prestige it offers an alternative for those who seek to stay home while obtaining a quality American degree. Naturally, ground based universities will attract students interested in laboratory research but other degrees can be equally competitive with much less personal, financial, and social costs to the student. These students will help raise domestic intellectual capacity and may become prime recruitment targets of international firms due to their mastery of the English language and familiarity with American education. 

Garcia, H. & de Lourdes Villarreal, M (2014). The redirecting of international students: American higher education policy hindrances and implications. Journal of International Students, 4 (2).