1 Queensland University of Technology (AUSTRALIA)
2 Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN20 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 404-413
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2020.0182
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Education is at the heart of global development goals, catalysing advancement towards other aims such as decreased poverty and inequality. This goal has led to a heightened demand for higher education (HE) globally and has transformed internationalisation from a useful add-on to a core strategic pillar for all universities aspiring to global significance. In turn, there is increasing pressure on academics and HE internationalisation strategies to prepare students for real world employment contexts in which cross boundary teams are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Key Tensions and Conflicts:
Curriculum designs and assessment practices of academics are therefore under scrutiny, creating tensions between standardisation and measurability and the development of creative and reflective learners who are capable of working in varied cultural contexts. Of concern, international research indicates that while university-based diversity exists, genuine inclusion does not. Consistent with these global trends, the teaching staff within an Australian University, experienced increasing levels of hostility between domestic and international students within summative assessments, particularly for domestic, credential-focused, graduating students within a post-Global Financial Crisis employment environment.

Intervention Objectives:
While there is converging evidence that the success of collaborative learning activities in culturally diverse small teams is sensitive to the contextual conditions in which the actual encounter occurs, there is a paucity of empirical work on the impact of learning contexts on students' attitudes towards intercultural interactions. To address cross-boundary hostilities by creating psychologically safe learning environments where students can express themselves individually and find a place within their new communities, a targeted intervention process was designed and actioned.

Employing culturally responsive pedagogies and learning technologies, and supported by experts in curriculum/assessment design, cultural competency and psychology, the cross-discipline/cross-university, three-stage intervention included more than 5,700 under-graduate and post-graduate, International Business/Accounting students across a twelve-year period (2008-2019).

Utilising ethics-cleared, anonymous and voluntary survey responses and university reported grading statistics, the intervention outcomes for students included: positive changes in the attitudes, values and collective capacities for self-optimisation when operating in diverse teams for the participating students which resulted in reduced hostility levels between team members; student satisfaction ratings averaging 87% to 100%; a minimum cohort average one-grade increase in pre versus post peer review process assessment outcomes; and low, unit-based, failure rates (PG: 2-3%; UG: 4-8%). For staff, the peer review and team building intervention brought to life the reality of a psychologically safe community of practice where students and staff are inspired to learn together by intertwining the learning process with the assessment framework.

In the end, a sustainable and potentially ‘exportable’ resource for supporting, influencing, motivating and inspiring heterogenous student cohorts and their teaching staff has been created using the very diversity in student cohorts to produce graduates for the real world of globalised citizens.
Responsive pedagogy, internationalisation, cross-boundary team work, accounting assessment, peer review, reflective learning, reframing interventions.