Global Citizens, Global Learners 3. Evaluating Design and Delivery of a Global Curriculum

Operations management exists to fulfil the promises of business by providing manufactured items to customers; supply chains deliver those items. To attain Rogerian “congruence”, teachers and the teaching of operations management must be aligned with the ethos of practice or at least able to articulate the main philosophies behind it.

Student Feedback

A post-course survey asking about GC would likely yield a confusing data picture, since GC lacks a solid definition. Attributes such as “global outlook” and “international awareness” would likely be effective analogues.

A pre- and post-course survey would be optimal. Both would feature identical Likert scales to capture students’ opinion on their acquisition of business-relevant GC attributes as a result of interaction with this curriculum. The attribute set would be obtained from a review of two literatures: GC and international business.[1] Comparisons of the pre- and post- survey averages would indicate aggregate patterns of evolution or stasis. Cross-attribute comparisons would also be possible, providing indication of which attributes require more/less emphasis in future curricula.

Teacher Reflection

Schön (1983), Biggs (1996), and Bolton (2006) inter alios recommend educators adopt reflective practice for its ability to connect theory with practice and motivate continuous improvement. Models of reflective practice, such as the Model of Structured Reflection (John, 1995) could be utilised to ensure GC content is retained and kept relevant in the focal material. Student response and resistance/receptivity would be vital inclusions, and the survey responses could also inform the delivery and provide indication of progress vis-à-vis the unit’s learning objectives.

Structured Evaluation

Oxfam’s GC definitions (2006) might also be used as a general principle set against which the learning objectives and design of the unit may be compared: its themes are strategic concerns for most MNEs, e.g. diversity, self-responsibility, sustainability and equitability, and the cultivation of global awareness.

Policy and guidelines influenced the curriculum design (MMU’s SLTA and the UKPSF). Drafts of the design could be evaluated using various tools, such as the Higher Education Academy’s Internationalisation Framework (2014) and our institution’s Internationalising Higher Education reflective self-assessment tool (2015), whose questions 3, 5, 6, and 11 in the “Course Team” section are likely particularly useful.

Triple Alignment

The curriculum is designed not only to integrate GC into the focal material, but also to present its content according to multiple, mutually reinforcing alignments:

  • The first concerns teaching, activities, and assessment. For each lecture/tutorial pairing, there are purposeful and interlinked learning objectives, which are supported by skill-focused activities and assessed by tasks that stimulate critical thinking (much lauded by Freire, 1970).
  • The second alignment is highly discipline-specific, in that it matches teaching and learning with the principles and concepts being taught in the material. In operations management, sustainability is addressed in the argot of efficiency principles. Examples of operations management’s employment of practical systems thinking, collaboration, diagnostic problem-solving, intercultural communication, and transnational coordination are plentiful and elemental.
  • The third alignment concerns structure. The curriculum progresses from generalities and principles, i.e. broad systems, to specific and particular instances, i.e. real problems and solutions through country and company case studies. This structure reflects progressive cognitive loading, so invokes Biggs and Tang’s SOLO taxonomy (2007).

[1] Human resources is likely the sub-discipline of greatest relevance, since intercultural competencies and issues such as the expatriate manager are well theorised.