Lappeenranta University of Technology (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 557-568
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
The purpose of this paper is to report findings from a study into the phenomena of international educational cooperation in higher education on the example of international double degree cooperation between the EU and Russia and to draw the future opportunities and development points.
Design/methodology – The presented research results from a multiple case study of international EU-Russian double degree programmes in 15 Russian universities and one of the leading Finnish universities in this area. The case study was designed based on the literature analysis and discussions with the experts in the field. In total, 35 international professionals (both academic and administrative) involved in double degree cooperation were interviewed.

The study reveals the current best practices of international double Master’s degree programmes organization, implementation and development. It discusses the models of cooperation and challenges in joint curriculum building, ensuring two-way mobility, marketing and quality policies that arise, as well as recommendations for overcoming those. Research also focuses on the motivation of higher education institutions to start double degree programmes from both sides. Increasing the quality of education, higher recruitment rates and international reputation along with motivation by the government are considered as important factors both in Russia and the European countries. From Russian side, the “brain drain” concerns are often raised.

Involvement of business segment into international double degree cooperation that could solve many challenges is, however, underestimated and requires development actions. Among the other areas as development points for double degree programmes and cooperation in education as a whole discussed in the paper are building commitment of organizers of double degree programmes; promotion towards more balanced student participation and two-way mobility; foreign language skills improvement for students and university staff; wider usage of e-learning technology and others.
Based on the analysis of the internationalization strategies and current trends in the EU, Russia and in the world in general, the study proposes the possible paths for development of educational cooperation.
Coherent actions of partners backed by the commitment and personal interest on the one hand and responsiveness to and utilization of modern trends and technology and involvement of the key stakeholders on the other hand form sustainable strategy for educational cooperation.

Practical implications:
Results identified in this study can be used by education and science practitioners involved in international double degree programmes and by those planning to launch joint educational programmes.

The paper is an attempt to systemize and disseminate the current models of educational cooperation, the best practices of solving certain challenges, reveal the attitudes and future trends in such cooperation.
Higher education, educational cooperation, university collaboration, international double degree programme, university-industry collaboration, Russia, Europe.