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International curricula and student mobility

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LERU (League of European Research Universities) - Advice Paper n° 12, April 2013, by B

LERU (League of European Research Universities) - Advice Paper n° 12, April 2013, by B
art De Moor & Piet Henderikx

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    International curricula and student mobility International curricula and student mobility Document Transcript

    • International curriculaand student mobilityBart De Moor & Piet HenderikxUniversity of Amsterdam - Universitat de Barcelona - University of Cambridge - University of Edinburgh - University ofFreiburg - Université de Genève - Universität Heidelberg - University of Helsinki - Universiteit Leiden - KU Leuven - ImperialCollege London - University College London - Lund University - University of Milan - Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversitätMünchen - University of Oxford - Pierre & Marie Curie University - Université Paris-Sud - University of Strasbourg -Utrecht University - University of ZurichADVICE PAPERno.12 - April 2013LEAGUE OF  EUROPEAN RESEARCH  UNIVERSITIES
    • AuthorThe main authors of the paper are Prof. Bart De Moor, Vice-Rector International Policy (KU Leuven) and Mr. Piet Henderikx, SeniorAdvisor, International Office (KU Leuven) with contributions from the LERU task force ‘Structured Mobility’ and with the support ofLaura Keustermans, LERU Policy Officer.We thank the LERU Vice-Rectors for Learning and Teaching and other LERU Communities and individuals at member universitieswho provided valuable input for the paper and comments during the drafting process.
    • 3EXECUTIVE SUMMARYResearch-intensive universities maintain dense net-works of international research links over all disciplines.They are inherently international in their outlook andapproach to academic work, as evidenced in their re-cruitment of students, researchers and academics. Inaddition, there is increasing internationalisation at un-dergraduate level. In the recent past, LERU has arguedalready that research collaboration in general should andcould be exploited better to articulate international edu-cational collaborations and intensify student mobility toachieve excellence in education1.In this advice paper, LERU sets out how this can be re-alised, through the development of different, more di-verse, forms of student mobility. The paper offers a de-tailed description of these forms, compares them andprovides recommendations to both policy makers – na-tional and European – and to universities.The mobility schemes investigated can be divided intothree models:· Exchange mobility: Students themselves chooseto have an experience abroad for a short or longerperiod of time, at a host institution, according to anindividual mobility arrangement between the hostand the home institution. The prototypical exam-ple here is mobility as funded by the Erasmus pro-gramme.· Networked mobility and curricula: One university,a faculty, department or a specific university pro-gramme forms a network with several partners.The ‘centre or demanding university’ sends its stu-dents for a certain period of time to one or morepartner institutions, to follow (part of) their curric-ulum abroad.· Embedded mobility and curricula: A limitednumber of partners (faculties, departments, pro-grammes) engage in a consortium (e.g. ‘ring-shaped’), in which students then ‘rotate’ and followparts of their educational trajectory subsequently intwo or more partner institutions, while students ofthose partner institutions do the same. The curric-ulum is fully synchronised.‘Networked’ and ‘embedded’ mobility are referred to as‘structured’ as they obviously require and provide morestructure in their implementation.The ideas of this paper blend in well with the propos-al of the European Commission for the Erasmus for Allprogramme for 2014-2020, analysed in the first chap-ter of this paper. At the European policy level, the newprogramme 2014-2020 will support not only individualmobility as in the old Erasmus scheme, but also strate-gic collaborations between university programmes, inorder to create better opportunities and a better learningexperience for students. LERU very much welcomes thisas it is clear that the current Erasmus programme hasreached its limits.A second part of the paper provides a detailed investiga-tion of the three different types of student mobility. Nextto a desciption of the model, its objectives, the participa-tion of students, the impact on the curriculum, its qualityand its business and management model are analysed.After this thorough analysis, different qualitative fea-tures of the mobility schemes are compared in a compar-ative table.In a fourth part of the paper the newer, more structuredparts of student mobility are investigated. The opportu-nities and benefits it creates for students, for staff mem-bers involved and for institutions as a whole, are set out.Next to this, logistical benefits, challenges and manage-ment aspects are elaborated on.In the final part of the paper LERU makes a number ofrecommendations aimed at policy makers and insti-tutions. The first recommendations are directed at theEuropean level, in particular at “Erasmus for all”, whichLERU supports as the programme is designed in such away that it can give a new impuls to the current Erasmusprogramme and support new, more integrated forms ofmobility as well. LERU believes it is key that Erasmus forall is not only flexible in how it is designed, but can alsobe flexible during its implementation, when new chal-lenges or ideas occur.International curricula and student mobility1 Geoffrey Boulton and Colin Lucas, What are universities for?, LERU Position Paper, September 2008.
    • 4International curricula and student mobility4To guarantee the viability of more integrated forms ofmobility, but also to support universities that are nowburdended severely with administrative duties linked tothe current Erasmus programme, LERU pleads for theattribution of a substantial overhead cost in the relevantparts of Erasmus for all and for additional funding ofthe administrative and logistical support for institutionsparticipating in European mobility programmes.LERU also calls upon national (or regional) governmentsto support the improvement and optimization of univer-sity curricula through international collaboration andmobility by removing existing barriers that hamper mo-bility of students.However, not only policy makers, but also higher educa-tion institutions should implement changes. LERU be-lieves that in the long run, curriculum collaboration andmobility should become part of the international policiesand strategies of a university, leading to excellence. Theinstitution’s policy on mobility should also allow morediversity in mobility schemes.More flexibility is necessary as the design and purposeof mobility schemes can differ depending on the typeof student, discipline or specialisation involved. Thisshould also entail making a wider range of mobility op-tions available in the classical exchange moblity, in par-ticular including mobility for short periods, mobility inintermittent stages or internships.LERU is strongly convinced that more integrated mo-bility schemes are an important step towards the mod-ernisation of Europe’s higher education institutions andtherefore encourages European universities, in particu-lar the LERU members, to consider organising and en-gaging in such mobility schemes.
    • 5Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013Introduction - Why internation-al mobility matters1. In research-intensive universities, high-qualityteaching is immersed in an environment of interna-tionally competitive research. At these universities,research, education and service to society interactintensively and reinforce each other. Through re-search, new knowledge is generated, which is theultimate source of innovation in society. Throughteaching, knowledge is disseminated and youngpeople are intensively trained to be aware of thefrontiers of human understanding2.2. Never before was knowledge so easily transferred,just by a click of the mouse, from one side of theglobe to the other. Nevertheless there is an in-creasing need for researchers to interact, not onlyvirtually via the internet and social media, but alsophysically, in one-to-one bilateral contacts, at sci-entific workshops and conferences and at dedicat-ed summer schools. This truly global character ofscience is yet another manifestation of the fact thatmobility has become an essential feature in manydimensions of modern life, not only in science andtechnology, but also in business, in culture and inleisure.3. In particular, mobility of students, teachers and re-searchers has become an essential driver of inno-vation and creativity, and the quality of research atEuropean universities will increasingly depend onthe professionalisation of their international re-cruitment and selection efforts on the internationaltalent markets.4. Similarly, those institutions that are open to inter-national students and researchers will experiencehow this confrontation with ‘diversity of view-points’, enriches scientific discussions and devel-opments, improves the effectiveness of discoveryprocesses, and positively influences decision-mak-ing amongst the university leadership.5. In short, it is clear that mobility plays an increas-ingly crucial role in science, technology, industry,business, politics, culture and all possible dimen-sions of a global society. Taking into account theuniversity’s responsibility towards society for train-ing students that are aware of the challenges andopportunities of mobility, LERU recognises thatthe current educational programmes at Europeanuniversities are often not sufficiently well devel-oped to provide each student with such awareness.6. But increased mobility of students, researchersand staff also matters from a more ‘educational’and ‘cultural’ point of view: the development ofintercultural competencies, enabling students toembrace differences without feeling threatenedin their own cultural identity, the opportunitiesto learn to master adequate attitudes and skills tofunction optimally in a globalised world.7. In the recent past, LERU has argued already thatresearch collaboration in general should and couldbe exploited better to articulate international edu-cational collaborations and intensify student mo-bility to achieve excellence in education3.8. This blends well into recent trends in internation-alisation policy of Higher Education Institutions,as elaborated on in a 2012 issue of the Internation-al Focus Newsletter of the UK HE InternationalUnit4. It is found that more often, institutionsgroup themselves in international consortia andnetworks that offer new and sustainable ways ofharnessing international opportunities. Besidesresearch collaborations, increasingly, teaching andcurriculum collaborations are set up across partneruniversities. As a matter of fact, the internationalstrategy of many higher education institutions iscurrently being revised to benefit from these inter-national consortia and networks.9. In this paper, LERU launches the notion of ‘struc-tured mobility and curricula’ as opposed to ‘Ex-change Mobility’ (of which the successful Erasmusprogramme is a prominent example). Structuredmobility can take on two forms:• Networked mobility and curricula: One univer-52 See: www.leru.org3 Geoffrey Boulton and Colin Lucas, What are universities for?, LERU Position Paper, September 2008, downloadable at www.leru.org.4 International Focus Newsletter of the UK HE International Unit, Issue 82, July 2012, downloadable at http://www.international.ac.uk/me-dia/1682653/International_Focus_82.pdf
    • 6International curricula and student mobility6sity, a university education programme, a facultyor a department forms a network (for instance‘star-shaped’ with itself in the centre) with severalpartners. This central or leading university takesthe initiative to send its students to one or morepartner universities for a certain period of timeand specific part of their curriculum.- Embedded mobility and curricula: A limited num-ber of universities (faculties, departments, pro-grammes) partner up in a consortium (for in-stance ‘ring-shaped’) - strategic partnerships - inwhich students then ‘rotate’ and follow parts oftheir educational trajectory subsequently in twoor more partner institutions, while students ofthose partner institution do the same. The curric-ulum is fully synchronised and developed by theconsortium partners together.10. Clearly, the design of mobility schemes can differfor undergraduate and graduate programmes, andfor different disciplines and level of specialisationof the programme. The features of the three mobil-ity schemes discussed here, generate a continuumof models for curriculum collaboration and mo-bility, each of which has a particular fit to the col-laboration envisaged according to the opportunityanalysis made by academics and programme man-agers. The ‘exchange model’ applies to individualmobility, which in se requires only limited collabo-ration. The second (networked) and third (embed-ded) model aim at more structured mobility, whichrequires stronger agreements and collaborations atthe curriculum level.
    • 7Advice paper - No. 12, April 20131. The European Commissionstudent mobility policy In this Section, the Erasmus programme is brieflyassessed and a short survey of the context and objec-tives of the Erasmus for All programme is provided.1.1. Assessing Erasmus11. LERU believes that systems of student exchange area strong asset of the European higher education sys-tem.Since1987,theEuropeanCommissionhasbeenrunning Erasmus5 as one of its most successful pro-grammes. More than 2,5 million students have par-ticipated in exchange schemes since then. ThroughErasmus, exchange mobility has even become theedge of internationalisation at most European uni-versities. In the framework of international cooper-ation, the European Commission has extended mo-bility schemes to other continents, also following anincreasing demand of universities and students6.12. Rather consistently throughout all European coun-tries, reasons for students to study abroad are, inno particular order, the opportunity to live abroad,to learn or improve a foreign language, to meet newpeople and to develop soft skills i.e. adaptability, so-cialinteractivity,whichimprovefutureemployability. However, it is only a minority of students that de-cides to participate in Erasmus mobility becauseof the good alignment with the curriculum at thehome institution7, which LERU considers to be re-gretful as is explained below.13. The Erasmus programme is reaching its limits be-cause of several reasons8:• Theparticipationofstudentsinmobilityschemes,while on the rise, is still too low. Several barrierspersist such as thresholds induced by socio-eco-nomic background and financial reasons, sociallyinduced thresholds (family and personal relation-ships), insufficient information and awareness,recognition issues of diploma’s and credits, animminent danger for study delay, and eventuallyalso the weight of administrative burden9.• The budget allocated to Erasmus, by both the EUand national agencies, does not increase in pro-portion with the number of participants. This im-plies that the individual Erasmus grant on averagehas been decreasing over the years.• Even when new incentives would be available toachieve the European objective of 20 % studentmobility by 202010, the question remains how theother 80 % of the students will experience inter-nationalisation, apart from ‘classical’ ‘internation-alisation@home’ initiatives.• It has often been argued that virtual mobilitycould contribute to reaching the 20 % goal, as itcan indeed offer a valuable alternative for physicalmobility, facilitating an international experiencefor those students who encounter social, finan-cial, physical or other thresholds. Of course, thisis true for this specific segment of students, but itis equally true that virtual mobility can never com-pletely replace physical mobility.• Erasmus comes with a (huge) administrative over-head often unaccounted for, as in many cases it ishidden in the academic programmes, of which theorganisational work is done by teaching staff/pro-fessors and/or by (local) department administra-tions. Therefore the required administration is of-ten perceived as a problem. In some countries andinstitutions there have been difficulties with an im-balance of inflow and outflow of Erasmus studentsand, in some cases, for host institutions to find thenecessary administrative and human resources.75 EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. See also http://ec.europa.eu/education/erasmus/history_en.htmand http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/doc80_en.htm6 Through the Erasmus Mundus, Action 2 programme, see also http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus_mundus/programme/action2_en.php.7 European Parliament, Improving the participation to the Erasmus programme, Study, requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture andEducation, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, 2010, p.53.8 See also Eds. Ulrich Teichler, Irina Ferencz and Bernd Wächter, Mapping mobility in European higher education, Volume I, Overview and Trends. Study forthe Directorate-General Education and Culture of the European Commission, 2011, p.8.9 European Parliament, ibidem, p. 61.10 The Bologna process 2020 - The European Higher Education Area in the new decade, Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministersresponsible for higher education, Leuven and-Louvain-la-Neuve, 2009, p.4
    • 8International curricula and student mobilityport to open methods of coordination (ET 2020,EU youth strategy) and EU 2020; EU transparancytools (valorisation and implementation); policydialogue with stakeholders; International dimen-sion (policy dialogue with third countries and in-ternational organisations).15. In the EC’s proposal about 60% of the Erasmus forAll budget is reserved for individual mobility initia-tives.25%ofthebudgetwouldgotocooperationsforinnovation, which includes strategic partnerships.16. Within these strategic partnerships, a variety ofcollaboration formats can be envisaged, that fulfilljoint objectives.16.1. Specific mobility arrangements can be madeat the level of subject areas and options,courses and course units, seminars, intensiveprogrammes, summer schools, projects, in-ternships, thesis work, etc...16.2. Mobility can be long or short, continuous orintermittent.16.3. These formats can be supported through ICTframeworks, facilitating international teach-ing and learning and online or hybrid/blend-ed mobility with a high interaction level.16.4. Also, non-university research institutions andcorporate partners can be included in thesecollaborations and mobility schemes.17. All of these instruments facilitate the development ofa diversified institutional mobility policy for the cur-riculum, which is goal-oriented, flexible and scalable.18. This all connects well with the Europe 2020 Strate-gy12 and its implications on higher education policy,includingtheintegrationofresearch-innovation-edu-cation in the knowledge triangle. This blends also inwiththeModernisationAgendaforHigherEducation(2006, 2011), especially in objectives such as improv-ingthequalityandrelevanceofteachingandresearch-ertraining,providingmoreopportunitiesforstudentsto gain additional skills through study or trainingabroad, and encouraging cross-border co-operationto boost higher education performance13.• Staff and curriculum management are not alwayssupportive of student mobility, since mobility isoften not considered to be an integral part of thecurriculum, but rather an accommodation to in-dividual students.• Finally, LERU also observes that the large num-ber (often hundreds) and the geographically widescattering of institutional agreements over manypartner universities impedes in many cases a co-herent, centralised, quality-oriented institutionalpolicy with respect to student mobility.1.2 EC thinking on mobility: Erasmus for All14. The Erasmus for All programme11 for 2014-2020,as proposed by the European Commission (EC) inNovember 2011, seeks to remedy at least some ofthe deficiencies that are outlined above. If approvedthe Erasmus exchange “new style” will be charac-terised by more flexibility, should allow for inter-mittent and shorter mobility periods, and shouldstimulate the creation of strategic partnerships atthe curriculum level to develop more structural col-laboration and mobility between universities. Thehighlights of the key actions in Erasmus for All are:• Key action I: Learning mobility of individuals:Staff (teachers, trainers, school leaders, youthworkers); Students (HE students (including joint/double degrees), VET students); Master students(Erasmus Masters via a new loan guarantee mech-anism); Youth mobility (volunteering and youthexchanges); International dimension (HE mobili-ty for EU and non-EU beneficiaries).• Key action II: Co-operation for Innovation andgood practices: Strategic partnerships betweeneducation institutions (or between youth organ-isations) and/or relevant actors; ‘Knowledge Alli-ances’ (Large-scale partnerships between highereducation, training institutions and business);Sector skills alliances; IT support platforms, in-cluding e-twinning; International dimension (ca-pacity building in third countries, focus on neigh-bourhood countries).• Key Action III: Support for policy reform: Sup-11 European Commission, Erasmus for All: The EU Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport, Communication from the EuropeanCommission, Brussels, 23.11.2011, COM(2011) 787 final. See: http://ec.europa.eu/education/erasmus-for-all/ See also: Council of the EuropeanUnion, Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing “Erasmus for All”, 12 May 2012.12 See: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/europe-2020-in-a-nutshell/priorities/index_en.htm.13 See: http://ec.europa.eu/education/higher-education/agenda_en.htm
    • 9Advice paper - No. 12, April 201324. From an organisational point of view, exchange col-laboration and mobility are flexible. They are rela-tively easy to implement, even when universities arenot well acquainted with each other, but neverthe-less can rely on a sufficient level of trust. Whereasuntil today a minimum stay abroad of three monthswas required from exchange students, in the futureshorter and intermittent periods could be admittedin the Erasmus programme. This makes it evenmore flexible and helps to diversify mobility formats,which can be used to achieve the objectives of theexchange.25. Also, from a students’ perspective, exchange mo-bility can contribute to the personalisation of the cur-riculum. Objectives:26. The objectives of exchange collaboration and mo-bility mainly concern the individual student, not thecurriculum. Through an intensive immersion in an-other country, the student gains an international/intercultural experience, (s)he learns another lan-guage and acquires social skills, and (s)he benefitsfrom a personalised, international curriculum,contributing to the student’s later employability.27. Exchange collaborations and exchange mobility leadto enriched learning opportunities for students. Inresearch universities, this mobility may link to spe-cific topics involving research and innovation, i.e. spe-cific theory and research domains, methodology,research seminars, innovation projects, thesis work,etc., although the universities involved do not neces-sarily design detailed mobility paths in advance. Participation of students:28. Until now, a relatively small number of students hasbeen involved in student exchange, even if the Eu-ropean number in absolute terms exceeds 2,5 mil-lion of students. When the European benchmark of20% mobility would be reached, this still leaves out80% of the students. Nevertheless, in many curric-ula international learning is regarded as an impor-tant objective “for all”.29. This relatively low participation rate can be related2. A Taxonomy of three modelsof student mobility schemes19. Having briefly assessed the pro’s and con’s of Eras-mus and the opportunities created by Erasmus forAll, we will now discuss a taxonomy of differentmobility schemes, which will be compared with re-spect to several qualitative features, such as objec-tives, participation of students, impact on the cur-riculum, type of partnership required, the relationwith research intensity, the involvement of staff,parameters that characterise the quality of the mo-bility experience and managerial issues, etc.20. Using these qualitative features, we will distinguishbetween three types of mobility and collaboration: · Exchange mobility and collaboration; · Networked mobility and collaboration; · Embedded mobility and collaboration.21. In practice, it is likely that these three types of mo-bility and collaboration co-exist in one and thesame university, as it might be involved in severalagreements and consortia at once.22. Although three seperate types of mobility and col-laboration schemes are described, with qualitativecharacterizing features, in reality one can designmobility schemes that are characterised by a mix-ture - a continuum - of the typifying features thatare described here.2.1 Exchange mobility and collaboration Description of exchange mobility and collaboration:23. In exchange curricula and exchange mobility, stu-dents, in particular undergraduates, choose a studyabroad at a host university, according to an individ-ual mobility arrangement (type Erasmus agreement) forcourses on which the host and home university agree. Thecredits attained during this mobility period are rec-ognised by the home university, which ultimatelyawards the final degree. As part of the agreement,the host university offers to mobility students allservices that allow them to follow the programmesuccessfully. Individual exchange is the basis fromwhich internationalisation has started at most Eu-ropean universities.
    • 10International curricula and student mobilitycation skills. Academic learning outcomes are gen-erally experienced to be positive as far as the creditpoints and records show. Recognition issues insome universities reflect probably a lack of equiv-alence with regard to academic objectives betweenthe universities concerned, due to inadequatelynegotiated partnerships. Probably also the oppor-tunities and possibilities offered by virtual mobilityare still underestimated: ICT-tools could help tosupport exchange mobility before, during and afterthe physical mobility period, and could help to linkit with internationalisation@home initiatives.36. The business model for exchange curricula and mo-bility is based on and inspired by the Erasmusscheme: bilateral agreements between the univer-sities concerned, learning agreements for studentsand tuition fee neutrality. A mobility balance be-tween home and host students is pursued.37. The management has evolved from a curricu-lum-based management (“international pro-gramme committees”) to an institutional level. Inpractice, the institutional management serves onlyas a link between the faculties and programmes tothe funding channels of the European Commis-sion. Related to the number of students involved,the management cost for exchange programmes isoften underestimated, or even unaccounted for, asit requires a considerable amount of administrativestaff efforts and time. Academic staff time is limit-ed to the preparation of mobility agreements.2.2 Networked mobility and collaboration Description of networked mobility and collaboration:38. In networked curricula and mobility, each part-ner in the network runs its home curriculum in-dependently of the other partners, but structuralmobility is part of the programme. “Mobility win-dows” are created in the curriculum as they alignwith course packages and mobility paths in partner uni-versities, designed in advance and intrinsically related tothe curriculum. Hence, each curriculum is extendedwith courses or course packages in other universi-ties, which enlarge and enrich the curriculum thatcan be chosen by the student.39. Because of the prior intervention of the programmemanagement, networked mobility is eventuallyless flexible and less personalised than individualto personal factors (cfr. supra), but it is also dueto organisational issues. Long term exchange forlarge numbers of students in the average curricu-lum is impossible to arrange, i.e. due to logistics(i.e. housing) and shortage of financial means (e.g.student grants).30. Another reason for low participation can be thecurriculum itself. When exchange is not an organicpart of the curriculum, students nor staff ‘feel’ anacademic need for it. In some countries, there is anincreasing and formalised emphasis on learningoutcomes, which sometimes complicates exchangemobility. A condition for increasing mobility num-bers is that mobility becomes an integral part of acurricular framework. Impact on the curriculum:31. In exchange collaboration and mobility, no substan-tial structural adaptation to the curriculum is required.Exchange mobility basically is giving students theopportunity of having a different learning experi-ence abroad on an individual basis. Often languagefacilities are provided in the host programme, inorder to better accommodate incoming students.32. Despite this lack of structural impact on the pro-grammes, exchange mobility can certainly contrib-ute to the curriculum, i.e. when it is used to create“internationalisation at home” learning activitiesin the classroom. However, more often this onlycontributes rather co-incidentally to the interna-tionalisation of the curriculum.33. Because of the low impact on the curriculum, ex-change collaboration and mobility can be flexiblyorganised in nearly all curricula.34. From a student’s perspective, there is an indirect im-pact on the curriculum, since a student is allowed tofollow a different, but equivalent part of his curric-ulum at another university. Here, an opportunity isgiven to personalise the curriculum.35. The quality of exchange collaboration and ex-change mobility are to be evaluated on the basisof the mobility experience and the learning outcomes ofindividual students. When students assess their mo-bility experience, typically they show a high satis-faction in terms of the experience of living abroad,of social and cultural learning, of personal devel-opment and sharpening their “soft skills”. Learningoutcomes are enriched by language and communi-
    • 11Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013 Objectives:43. A typical objective of networked curricula is to of-fer students a broader variety of subject areas or spe-cialisations than the home university can offer on itsown. Therefore, the course packages should reflectresearch and innovation strengths, which are com-plementary to those of the home institution.44. Next to this, networked mobility creates opportuni-ties for students to benefit from an international ex-perience by educational programmes abroad, whichare closely related to international research or in-novation activities and communities, in which thehome university is taking part.45. Networked mobility can also serve institutional goals.By sharing complementary subject areas, the pro-file of a curriculum can be broadened and strength-ened. This leads to sustainable collaborations andnetworking with partner universities. Participations of students:46. The rationale behind networked curricula is thatthe average student is given a structural opportu-nity to follow a complementary course package ina partner university. Staff and programme man-agement are committed to organise student mobility aspart of the curriculum. Hence, the target number ofstudents in networked mobility could be between20 and 100%, depending on the policy of the cur-riculum and the size of the course packages. It isexpected that students will feel more reassured thatrecognition is not an issue anymore and that theirstudy time will not be prolonged14.47. A networked curriculum is attractive for studentsfrom abroad (e.g. from outside Europe) as theycan benefit from more diversified, but coherentlearning opportunities and pre-designed mobili-ty schemes that bring them in different Europeancountries. The quality of the curriculum is enrichedby the broader learning opportunities and the mul-ti-national experience. Impact on the curriculum:48. There is a clear impact on the curriculum, as it is en-exchange, but the course packages offer learning op-portunities that optimally fit with the home curriculum.They consist of diverse learning activities like com-plementary major or minor courses, specialisationcourses, research internships, joint projects or the-sis work.40. The size of the course packages can vary in time froma single course unit to a complete major or minorprogramme. All depends on the objectives of thecollaboration and the role given to mobility. Thefocus is primarily directed on academic objectivesin particular subject areas. Sometimes, only oneor two courses, seminars or summer schools areneeded to make the home curriculum more com-prehensive or to create a real international experi-ence. In these cases, the collaboration is limited,but still significant for the students. In other cas-es, complete study options and/or related researchplaces are offered.41. The partner institutions expect and stimulategroups of interested students to follow these pack-ages as a diversification of the home programme.The admission to a course package is given by the hostuniversity in agreement with the home university.Networks should consist of a limited number ofpartners in order to sustain an active link with re-search. A long term commitment is required, pref-erentially based on a strong research cooperationbetween the researchers/departments involved. En-terprises and companies can be part of these net-works to integrate all three parts of the knowledgetriangle in the curriculum.42. The management of these partnerships is not thatcomplex, since basically the Erasmus mobility rulescan be applied, once the course packages are de-fined. The ECTS system guarantees the credit trans-fer and the recognition of courses just as in the Eras-mus programme. A double certificate or double degreecan possibly be granted, since the scheme is basedon two independent curricula, delivering to eachother’s students a substantial and coherent coursepackage. This would be more appropriate than ajoint degree, since the programme is not a com-mon or joint programme. This is however optionaland to be decided by the universities involved.14 Eds. Ulrich Teichler, Irina Ferencz and Bernd Wächter, Mapping mobility in European higher education, Volume I, Overview and Trends. Study for theDirectorate-General Education and Culture of the European Commission, 2011, p.183-184.
    • 12International curricula and student mobility55. At the institutional level, networked curricula maycontribute to the international profile and the qual-ity of the curricula of the university. In this way, auniversity can organise a broader range of pro-grammes, based on the strengths of and comple-mentarities in collaborations in research and inno-vation. Management and business model:56. Once the content of a networked curriculum is de-veloped by the partners, the implementation of net-worked mobility is easier to manage than is the casewith exchange mobility, because fewer universitiesare involved and the mobility paths are pre-struc-tured. There is however more effort required in thepreparatory design and in the development of thenetworked mobility paths, which demands an in-vestment in terms of not only administrative, butalso academic staff members.57. However, sharing subject areas might decrease theinstitutional cost of networked curricula, becausesubjects or learning activities are distributed overthe network.58. The business model of networked curricula and mo-bility might be based on the Erasmus scheme likefor exchange programmes. Since networked cur-ricula emanate from collaboration at the curricu-lum level, it is even more likely that the mobility ofstudents will be balanced. Hence, also this collabo-ration might probably be tuition fee neutral.59. It is clear that a networked curriculum and mobil-ity require a stronger mutual commitment than bilat-eral exchange partnerships. Therefore, networkedcurricula should be built with reliable, preferentialpartners that already collaborate in research or in-novation.2.3 Embedded mobility and collaboration Description of embedded mobility and collaboration:60. In the case of embedded curricula and mobility,students choose for a joint programme, of whichthe components are taught by different partnersand on different locations. This type of collabora-tion optimally integrates all relevant educational,research and innovation strengths of the partners.It is a distributed international, multi-partner and mul-riched by external courses, increasing the range ofcourses and the learning opportunities availablefor students. These external course units are con-sidered a systemic part of the home curriculum asis the international experience for students, takingpart in the scheme.49. It is possible to modulate the dimensions of the col-laboration. Mobility packages and periods can varyaccording to the curriculum objectives, rangingfrom one course unit to a complete option or spe-cialisation. Networked mobility is applicable for allprogrammes that want to organise a structured in-ternational experience for students.50. Also commercial companies, industry, government agen-cies and non-university research institutions can con-tribute to the curriculum by co-organising specificlearning activities, like research and innovationseminars or internships. Hence, it makes sensethat they are part of the network as ‘societal’ stake-holders. However, they can have no formalisedinput to any curriculum as the design of academiccurricula remains the exclusive prerogative of uni-versities as part of their academic responsibility.51. To enhance flexibility and scalability of the curricu-lum, ICT support can facilitate the organisation of anetworked curriculum and include virtual/blendedmobility schemes. Quality:52. Three quality aspects should be covered and mon-itored in networked curricula and mobility: thequality of the enriched curriculum, the quality ofthe international learning experience and the insti-tutional benefits.53. The quality of the curriculum is improved by broad-ening and/or deepening the curriculum through anextension of content/course modules, brought inby partner universities or enterprises on the basisof complementarity or common strengths.54. The international experience is structured alongpre-designed course packages in established part-nerships. This should result in broadening anddeepening learning, international collaborationskills, learning and working in (research) commu-nities, etc. More than in exchange mobility, stu-dents participating in structured mobility are ‘con-tent-seekers’ rather than international experienceseekers.
    • 13Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013ration with structured mobility can not be imple-mented in all university programmes, because oforganisational and logistic aspects. This type ofmobility scheme and curricula only applies forwell-chosen programmes, at the undergraduateand graduate level, characterised by a strong un-derlying basis of collaboration in research and in-novation. Conversely, precisely these programmesshould seriously consider adding an extra interna-tional dimension. Since mobility paths are embed-ded in the curriculum, probably a majority of thestudents, even up to 100% in a classroom, will par-ticipate in it.67. In integrated curricula, mobility is embedded inthe curriculum along specific course packages andhence, all students can benefit from this mobilityscheme. Since students belong to a multi-universi-ty programme, the distinction between home andhost universities and outgoing (home) and incom-ing students is not necessarily relevant. Studentsare ‘shared’ and there are common admission andselection procedures as well as common examina-tion rules.68. Because of the level of specialisation, these pro-grammes will probably attract smaller numbers ofhome students. On the other hand, because of thehigh quality and pre-defined mobility schemes ofintegrated programmes, these will be very attrac-tive for international students. Impact on the curriculum:69. As this is a joint curriculum, the collaboration hasan impact on all aspects of the curriculum. Even morethan networked curricula, integrated curricula andmobility need to be jointly designed. This should startwith identifying common objectives, based on ananalysis of the needs and on current scientific andprofessional developments. The curriculum, in-cluding the mobility paths based on complemen-tary strengths, is subject to collaborative develop-ment that requires considerable time and effortfrom academic staff and researchers, supported byadministrative staff before it can be implemented.70. The organisation of an integrated curriculum typ-ically consists of a common part (truncus com-munis) in one university, completed by comple-mentary options in different universities. Othercurriculum structures are also possible (for exam-ple a ring-shaped structure with consecutive parts),depending on the objectives and mobility paths.ti-campus curriculum with embedded mobility flows.Basically, the current Erasmus Mundus model mighthelp as an inspirational conceptual framework forthis kind of collaboration.61. In this type of mobility scheme, mobility is con-ceived along pre-designed mobility paths (individ-ual study programmes (ISP’s), that explicitly implymobility. Joint certificates/degrees may be delivered,because only one single programme is organised.62. It is clear that such intensive collaborations are re-alistic and feasible only for a limited number of spe-cific, strategically selected international curricula: nichespecialisations, small disciplines, comparative ap-proaches, international subject areas and top classinternational curricula, which also attract interna-tional students from outside the partner institu-tions. Objectives:63. An integrated curriculum with embedded mobilitypaths will be organised in case there are opportu-nities in a multi-partner collaboration, because ofthe expertise and disciplines required or the curric-ulum profile chosen. A broader range of expertiseand disciplines are made available by the collabora-tion as well as in specific links with research or in-novation (e.g. in a partner university or in non-uni-versity institutions or enterprises).64. Students will experience a common approach tothe subject area and will be faced with a rich di-versity of themes and methods. They are part of amulti-campus teaching and learning environmentin different social and cultural contexts and differ-ent languages. As integrated curricula will only beorganised for selected programmes, students willbenefit, through the complementarity and collabo-ration between universities, from a top internation-al experience. Also, these programmes will lead tounique specialisations.65. Embedded mobility curricula offer internationallyunique programmes, thanks to collaborations in re-search and innovation in areas which otherwise arenot covered, meeting very specific societal needsand delivering internationally recognised addedvalue. Participation:66. It is clear that international curriculum collabo-
    • 14International curricula and student mobilitynation, and the awarding of degrees. The businessmodel, the tuition fee structure and the sustaina-bility of the curriculum are also subjected to a jointpolicy.78. Because the management of an integrated pro-gramme is dealing with all aspects of the pro-gramme and the mobility of the students in theprogramme is 100%, the development and imple-mentation cost of integrated curricula is high. Onthe other hand, through sharing course modules, theinstitutional cost will also decrease. The additionalcost concerns more the student, i.e. additional trav-el and subsistence costs.79. Integrated programmes and mobility require astrong partnership, based on ongoing collabo-ration strengths in research and innovation withagreements for at least 5 years. A consortium ispreferably small and it can include non-universityorganisations.2.4 Features of mobility schemes: comparativetable80. The following table lists the three distinct typesof mobility schemes, which are described in thispaper and compares them by reference to qualita-tive features, some of which have been describedalready, and introduces some other ones that havenot yet been discussed:71. The curriculum is often built on courses and mod-ules that already exist in other curricula at the dif-ferent partner universities. The relative positioningof these courses and staff will however change, becausethey have become part of a new, trans-institutionalprogramme.72. ICT environments, including online/blended mo-bility can strengthen the integration and optimisethe organisation and quality of integrated pro-grammes. Quality:73. The added value of an integrated curriculum couldmanifest itself in the quality of the curriculum, thequality of the learning experience and the addedvalue at the institutional level. Indeed, integratedcurricula by themselves have no built-in guaran-tee for quality assurance (nor do other mobilityschemes). However, integrated curricula in embed-ded mobility schemes have some inherent qualityimproving mechanisms that are not necessarilyshared by other mobility schemes:74. The quality of the curriculum is facilitated by inter-actions, agreements, finetuning and synergiesbetween different partners. Strengths and com-plementarities are integrated in one, multi-partnercurriculum. A joint curriculum requires more co-ordination, which therefore probably improves theoverall quality of the curriculum.75. The quality of the international experience for the stu-dent is assumably better, as all teaching and learn-ing activities take place in an environment that isinternational by construction, and typically centersaround a common, scientific theme or discipline.76. At the institutional level, integrated curricula maycontribute to the quality of the international edu-cational provisions and international strategies ofa university. They could be highly inspirational forother (local) educational programmes and if suc-cessful, could develop into a role model in the edu-cational biotope of the university. Management and business model:77. An integrated programme requires a joint manage-ment through a consortium, as it has to deal with allaspects of international collaborative course devel-opment and implementation, including mobility,admission and selection, assessment and exami-
    • 15Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013Exchange curricula and mobility Networked curricula and mobility Embedded curricula and mobilityType of curriculum collab-orationNo curriculum collaboration Mainly tuning of mobility coursepackages, which are part of inde-pendent curriculaA single, joint curriculum with agreed mo-bility flows within the partnershipType and number of agree-mentsMany bilateral agreements Number of partners in one net-work might be up to 10; Severalnetworks possibleRather limited number with well selectedtrusted partnersType of network Dense network with many bilat-eral links‘Star-shaped’ network: Demandnode in centre, supply nodesaround it; Students ‘belong’ tothe centre‘Ring-shaped’ network; Students movearound in the ringType of Mobility Individual exchange mobility be-tween independent programmesin many selected universitiesNetworked mobility betweenindependent programmesEmbedded/integrated mobility within asingle, integrated programmeType of course packagefor mobilityAn individual course package,selected by the student and staffof the home universityPre-defined and agreed coursepackages, offered by respectiveprogrammes in the partnershipVarious pre-defined course packages,offered by respective partners, which areintegral part of the joint programmeType of partnership, num-ber of partners, co-own-ershipPartner universities with bilat-eral agreements; possibly manypartners; no co-ownershipNetwork, bilateral or multilateralagreement; a limited number ofpartners; no co-ownershipStrategic alliance, led by a consortium; asmall number of partners; co-ownership bythe consortium partnersCollaborative curriculumdesignNo collaborative curriculumdesign, only agreements onmobilityCollaborative curriculum designfor the mobility packages only,emphasis on differentiationCollaborative design for the entire curric-ulum, emphasis on common identity anddifferentiationRelationship with researchand innovationPossibly loose collaborationlinksCourse packages reflect preferablycollaboration links in researchand innovationJoint programme should be based on linksin research and innovation and broaderneeds analysisInvolvement of staff Staff accommodates incomingstudents; Administrative sup-port; Little additional work foracademic staff;Possibly, small repositioning ofstaff and courses for the mobilitycourse package only. Staff accom-modates incoming students.Repositioning of staff and courses in thejoint curriculum according to overall ob-jectivesFlexibility by ICT plat-forms, blended teachingand learning provisionsFacilitating participation ofhigher number of students;ICT-tools before, during andafter stay abroad increasinglyimportant.Facilitating participation of high-er number of students and foroverall flexible and cost-effectivesolutionsIndispensable for full participation of stu-dents and overall cost-effectiveness. Basicfor joint teaching and learning spaceAdmission and selection Mainly by home university withinthe terms of a bilateral agree-mentAdmission and selection by hostuniversity for the course package(on proposal of home university)Common admission and selection proce-dures for the entire programmeTypical degree or certifi-cate awardedNon-degree seekers; only creditrecognitionPossible double degree Possible joint degreeProportion of studentsinvolved in mobility20% benchmark Plus 20 %, strongly increased mo-bility; Target between 20 - 100 %In principle for all students, mobility isinherent to the programmeQuality assurance Primarily by host university;questionnaires to outgoing andincoming studentsPrimarily by host university; ques-tionnaires to outgoing and incom-ing studentsJoint quality assurance and accreditationproceduresAttractiveness for thirdpartners (worldwide)No Moderately StrongSharing/pooling resourc-es, saving institutionalcostsNo Moderately Very strongCommittment of partners Bilateral, rather weak Bilateral, strong Very strong committmentManagement cost Under control (though oftenunaccounted for)Moderate Possibly larger cost involved
    • 16International curricula and student mobility84. There is an apparent gradient on the degree ofresearch-intensiveness and specialisation, thatincreases when moving from individual exchangetypes of mobility, over networked mobility towardsembedded mobility schemes. (see figure)85. In research-intensive universities, many educa-tional programmes are immersed in a top researchenvironment in which the academics want to ex-cel both in teaching and research. In such pro-grammes, students are trained to understand andto interpret research and innovation in their time-frame and in the context of their origin. These stu-dents gradually develop skills through educationalactivities which mirror the aspects of research andinnovation processes. They learn to collaboratewith others to solve complex, interdisciplinaryproblems, participate in research activities of staffand prepare papers or a thesis. They also experi-ence the strengths and the limitations of researchand innovation. Research and innovation institu-tions as well as society at large will benefit fromstudents who experienced excellent education insuch strong research environments.86. Students will participate in an embedded mobilityscheme mainly for thematic or scientific reasons,but will at the same time experience the cultural ob-jectives mentioned above, as they will ‘rotate’ overthe several locations of the partners between whichthe programme is organised. We expect howev-er that the decision of students to participate inembedded mobility will mostly be content driven,and therefore their profiles will be more consistentwithin one programme (scientific discipline, lan-guage, etc.).87. Research-intensive universities can offer researchinternships in some areas of specialisation, possiblyin cooperation with non-academic institutions. Col-3. Why bother about structured mobility?81. In Section 3.1 it is emphasized that structured mo-bility schemes can create more opportunities forcertain types of programmes at research-intensiveuniversities. In Section 3.2, we elaborate on somepolicy issues. The benefits of structured mobilityschemes for students are discussed in Section 3.3,the benefits for staff members in Section 3.4 and forthe participating institutions in Section 3.5. In Sec-tion 3.6, we discuss some logistic advantages, whilemanagerial aspects are discussed in Section 3.7.3.1 Structured mobility schemes create newopportunities82. In embedded mobility schemes academics organ-ise a common educational programme around aspecific scientific field or theme. Programmes bestsuited for embedded mobility are typically moreresearch driven (e.g. the Erasmus Mundus pro-gramme on Nanotechnology between three Euro-pean research teams), in which the complementa-rity in scientific expertise, technological logisticsand equipment can be fully exploited. Other exam-ples are programmes that correspond to small sci-entific fields (so-called ‘orchid-disciplines’) or thatare highly specialised.83. For academics in research-intensive universities,such as the LERU members, the main objectivefor seeking international collaboration is researchquality, for which they intend to cooperate withthe best and most appropriate colleagues and/orresearch ‘peers’. For this purpose networked andembedded mobility schemes might prove moreappropriate and effective, provided the initiative istaken and organised by the academics themselves,and that these academics are sufficiently support-ed administratively and logistically to set up suchmobility schemes.Exchange mobility Networked mobility Embedded mobilityIncreasing research intensity and specialisation
    • 17Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013in the ‘time-dimension’, it is completely flexible(asynchronous, individual, at any moment in time);multiple but similar programmes at different uni-versities can engage simultaneously; students andstaff who for one reason or another cannot be phys-ically mobile, can resort to virtual mobility; theremay also be other target groups such as part-timeand/or employed students, students with specialneeds or students that opt for self-study.91. Curriculum collaboration and mobility can alsohave an added value for the university’s profile, asthe strategic partnerships in which the institutionis involved, can improve the international positionof the university.3.2 Impact on policy92. International curriculum collaboration with struc-tured mobility can only be implemented in someuniversity programmes because of organisationaland logistical aspects. Structured mobility schemescan only be realised for well-chosen programmes,at the undergraduate and graduate level, character-ised by a strong underlying basis of collaborationin research and innovation. Since the mobility is in-herent in the curriculum, probably a majority of thestudents in that programme, even up to 100%, willbenefit from it, depending on the type of collabo-ration and the related mobility scheme (see below).93. That research-intensive universities should investin the internationalisation of their leadership, goeswithout saying. The lack of diversity at the high-est level of academic leadership was analysed formore than hundred leading academic institutionsacross Europe, USA and Asia15. The overwhelm-ing majority of academic leaders in most countrieswere citizens of those counties, with only 10% ofthe leaders being foreign citizens. There are sig-nificant differences between regions. Intensifyingboth quantity and quality of student and staff mo-bility seems like a first necessary step in enhancingdiversity in leadership.laborative programmes with pre-structured mobilityare appealing for excellent home and internationalstudents and hence potentially not only contribute tothe competitiveness of the educational programmesand the research departments involved, but also, inthe long term, to the global competitiveness of re-search-intensive universities because of improvedopportunities for capacity building.88. Collaborative curricula and mobility require stra-tegic partnerships at the curriculum level. Partnerscommit to complement each other’s programmesand to allow students to the respective mobilitypaths. By systemic synergies between academics,a quality leap is created, with agreed teaching andlearning paths for sections of a class, not just forindividual students. It makes not only students,but also curricula transnational.89. One of the advantages of structured (and especiallyembedded) mobility schemes could be the linkagebetween capacity building and mobility. Indeed,exchange mobility schemes concentrate on the ob-jectives of mobility per se (the individual experiencefor the student) while structured mobility schemes(embedded in particular) emanate from academ-ics who collectively design a consistent, thematiccurriculum, hence concentrating on topical, con-tent driven objectives in which mobility objectivesfollow automatically. In this respect, on a longerterm, such structured mobility schemes could beaccessible to undergraduates, master and PhD stu-dents, and staff alike, all within the same focus do-main of research, provided the academics involveddesire to open up and enlarge the scheme.90. Through ICT support and the inclusions of vir-tual components, mobility can be facilitated foreven more, if not all students. These tools wouldallow students to participate in seminars, projectsor course units, jointly organised by all the part-ner universities. Online and virtual mobility canbe combined with physical mobility, which is thencalled ‘blended mobility’. While physical mobilityis leading to an immersion in an academic cul-ture at another university, in a different societalcontext, online virtual mobility has other specificadvantages: it can simultaneously engage all stu-dents in a class, as there are no physical barriers fortrans-border communication; It is not only ‘almost’independent from the specific location, but also15 In a recent paper 2012 from Egon Zehnder International (Strenghtening the diversity of top academic leaders: Findings and insights from EgonZehnder International’s Global Academic Leadership Surevy).
    • 18International curricula and student mobilityconsider educational cooperation as a profes-sional enrichment.• Collaborative education is also reinforcing re-search and innovation links, even more whendoctoral students are involved in the programme.• An attractive programme is a good basis to attractinternational students with whom staff can col-laborate later (‘capacity building’).• International programmes are European andglobal, which is appealing to staff.3.5 Institutional benefits97. Collaborative curricula and mobility have clear in-stitutional benefits:• Collaborative curricula strongly reflect the uni-versity’s ambitions for high quality teaching,similarly to the high quality standards they expectin international research and innovation.• Collaborative curricula facilitate the involvementin education of non-university stakeholders: inter-national R&D institutions, companies and organi-sations, as they are in research and innovation.• Collaborative curricula include also home stu-dents in an international teaching and learningenvironment and offer to them opportunities foran attractive mobility path.• Teaching and learning activities can be sharedbetween partner institutions, which ultimatelywill lead to a more complete and richer range ofcourses in a time when individual universitieshave to reduce the number of courses.• In some cases, programmes and curricula maybecome more cost-effective, i.e. when staff andresources are pooled and shared, especially inareas of specialisation and expensive infrastruc-ture. In some other cases, by joining forces andexploiting complementarities, the organisationof certain specialised programmes can becomefinancially feasible, while it is impossible for asingle university to offer that programme. On theother hand, there is also a cost for developing thecollaboration, administrating the scheme as wellas a mobility cost for students (which can be cov-ered by Erasmus grants, see below).3.3 Benefits for students94. More structured collaboration will also contributeto the attractiveness of curricula for internationalstudents from outside the partner institutions.95. Students are important stakeholders for interna-tional curricula and courses. In a nutshell, specificbenefits for students are:• Getting an intercultural experience by learningin an international environment, with culturaland languages differences, which enlarges theirmindset, stimulates thinking from different per-spectives and let them take into account differentviews and sensitivities in their communication• Having access to the programmes of partner in-stitutions, learning complementary subjects orbeing able to choose different competence pro-files (which eventually are not taught at the homeuniversity), related to complementary researchand innovation areas.• Being reassured about the quality, in the case ofstructured mobility (i.e. networked or embed-ded), as these mobility schemes are organised bytheir professors and the credits are mutually rec-ognised. Students should also not fear an unnec-essary prolongation of their study.• Learning to collaborate in international commu-nities (international collaboration skills) relatedto particular subject areas, research and innova-tion.• Having access to resources at the partner institu-tion, including libraries, databases, special infra-structure, labs, research reports, facilities, staff.• Getting prepared for an international scientific orprofessional career (international employability).3.4 Benefits for staff96. An important requirement for any collaborativeprogramme are the incentives for academic staff.Benefits are basically of an academic nature:• Structured mobility education reflects academicwork/research which in essence is international(“knowledge without frontiers”). Staff memberswho are interested in research cooperation, also
    • 19Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013product of working relationships between indi-vidual academics and university departments. Fornetworked and integrated mobility, the initiativeis mainly coming from the course and curriculumstaff, who want to improve their course or pro-gramme with partners they trust and from whomthey expect complementary expertise.101. Instructuredmobilityschemes,theinstitutionalim-pact becomes more important and issues are raisedthat affect institutional policies like the place of thecurriculum in the institution, the recognition by na-tional authorities, the delivery of (joint) degrees andcertificates, admission and selection criteria, exam-ination rules, quality assurance and accreditation.This requires institutions to be flexible in adaptingtheir policies and instruments regarding collabora-tive initiatives. Institutions should provide the nec-essary means to facilitate cooperations of variouskinds conceived at the curriculum level, meeting thewider interests of staff and students.102. The more the collaboration shifts from exchange tonetworking and embedding, the more complex themanagement becomes as well. This is somethingthat academics who take an initiative in networkedor embedded mobility should take into account.Practical issues, especially for structured mobilityschemes, include the solution of problems relatedto different tuition fees (e.g. the fact that balancedflows of incoming and outgoing students are notfee neutral for many universities), the synchroniza-tion of timelines in coping with different calendersfor the academic year, alignment of credit and di-ploma requirements, logistic issues induced by stu-dent mobility (like housing, etc.), among others. Inother words, the benefits will not come without anadditional effort, for which sufficient administra-tive, organisational and logistical support shouldbe available (also see recommendations).103. Recent improvements and breakthroughs in ICThave induced the growth of online teaching andlearning worldwide. This will strengthen the op-portunities for international curriculum collab-oration and mobility. Universities can combinethis with physical mobility in blended or hybridformats. Partners in these mobility schemes willincreasingly use all possible channels of their elec-tronic environment for teaching and learning asthey do for research. This will require expert sup-port from teaching and learning services.• Embedded curricula are more attractive to inter-national students from outside the partner institu-tions than standard curricula offered at one insti-tution, as they are richer (see above ‘benefits forstudents’) and because of the possibility to partic-ipate in pre-designed mobility flows.• In this sense, collaborative curricula have an im-pact on the international reputation of a university.3.6 Logistic benefits: pooling resources98. The pooling of resources through collaborative pro-grammes can enrich the learning environment ofthe partner institutions concerned and make it morepowerful. In principle, in a collaborative curriculum,various components can be shared: staff, coursecontent (courses, modules), scientific information(current thesis work, research, libraries), innovation(access to R&D, knowledge transfer), infrastructure(computers, research infrastructure, labs, databas-es, research material, etc.) and networks (organisa-tions, societies, business partners, etc.).99. However, collaboration also creates substantiveadditional costs, i.e. administration, internationaltravel, accommodation and costs related to specificneeds of students enrolled in these programmes. Itis important to guarantee, in any form of collabora-tion, that benefits and costs are balanced.3.7 Management aspects100. In exchange mobility in general, and the Erasmusprogramme in particular, mobility was mainly theshare staff, course(modules), learningenvironmentsshare innovation (“openinnovation”) within thepartnershipshare course ma-terial, contentshare networks:R&D institutes,societies, organi-sations, businesspartnersshare scientificinformation(“open access”;thesis work,current research,library access)share infrastruc-ture, databases
    • 20International curricula and student mobilityschemes as well, including financial support foradministration and logistics.4.2 Recommendations at the national level108. LERU emphasizes that also national governmentsshould encourage the improvement and optimiza-tion of university curricula through internationalcollaboration and mobility. They should removeexisting barriers related to degree recognition andrules that hamper international curricula. As hasbeen stated in the Communiqué of the Council ofMinisters of Education in Bucarest (2012), the so-cial dimension of mobility should be ensured, giv-ing students equal access to mobility, including theportability of grants and loans across the EuropeanHigher Education Area. Also, national qualificationframeworks should take into account internationalprogramme collaboration and mobility.4.3 Recommendations at the institutional level109. LERU believes that, on the longer term, curriculumcollaboration and mobility, based on strategic part-nerships should become part of the internationalpolicies and strategies of a university, leading toexcellence, notwithstanding that only ‘bottom-up’initiatives of academics will generate the necessary‘buy-in’ and goodwill. Enhancing the visibility ofsuccessful programmes and informing about bestpractices might be the best way to create interestfor curriculum collaboration with the academics,apart from providing sufficient financial means(e.g. European funding) for administrative, organi-sational and logistical support of programme man-agers.110. The institution’s policy on collaboration and mo-bility should allow for more diversity in mobilityschemes, based on the quality requirements of theresearchers and curricula, and objectives of aca-demics, researchers and students. More flexibil-ity is necessary as clearly the design and purposeof mobility schemes can differ for undergraduateand graduate programmes, and for different dis-ciplines and their level of specialisation. The fea-tures of the three mobility schemes discussed inthis paper, generate a large diversity of models forcurriculum collaboration and mobility, which all4. Recommendations4.1 Recommendations at the European level104. LERU supports Erasmus for All as it has the po-tential to give a new impuls to the current Erasmusprogramme and to stimulate strategic partnershipsthat will allow curriculum collaboration and a va-riety of forms of mobility. In particular LERU wel-comes the flexibility in Erasmus For All, in the threekey actions, that will allow to implement structuredmobility schemes as described in this paper.105. LERU believes the new programme should resultin an adaptable framework that can respond effi-ciently to the rapid changes in university educationand international global competition. Equally, itshould also continuously stimulate the quality ofeducational programmes and partnerships. It istherefore crucial that the programme is revisablewhen new challenges or ideas occur.106. Of particular importance is the necessity for ade-quate administrative, organisational and logisticsupport for programme managers who start orsupport international collaboration around struc-tured mobility schemes. Indeed, as the initativefor these schemes resides with the academics, theyneed to be supported in developing the curriculumand practicalities that come with it, so that theycan concentrate on the content rather than on or-ganisational and practical issues. LERU thereforepleads for the reimbursement of a substantial over-head cost in the relevant parts of Erasmus for Allto stimulate and support universities in organisingthese schemes. We also underline that it is neces-sary to provide more flexibility by allowing partner-ships with only two partners, rather than minimallythree, and by decreasing the level of administrativereporting. The latter should be replaced by report-ing on the achieved deliverables and academic out-put.107. For universities to be able to deal with a number ofpractical issues it is necessary to provide fundingfor administrative and logistical support as well inEuropean mobility programmes. This is in particu-lar the case for structured mobility schemes, butas mentioned in the first part of the paper, manag-ing and organising the existing exchange mobilityschemes such as Erasmus currently also places alarge burden on many universities. LERU thereforeurges for an increased financial support of these
    • 21Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013suit different programmes, students or academicstaff members.111. Exchange mobility is the mobility form which iseasiest to implement in many, if not most, pro-grammes. LERU recommends that institutionsseek to make a wider range of exchange mobil-ity options available during the course of a pro-gramme, including mobility for short periodsthrough e.g. intensive courses or summer schools.Mobility can also be organised at intermittent stag-es and internships in innovative, non-university in-stitutions should be considered as well.112. LERU strongly believes in the added value of net-worked or integrated/embedded mobility, espe-cially at research-intensive universities. We there-fore wish to encourage European universities, inparticular the LERU members, to consider suchmobility schemes as we believe it to be an impor-tant step towards the modernisation of Europe’shigher education institutions.
    • 22International curricula and student mobility
    • About LERULERU was founded in 2002 as an association of research-intensive universities sharing the values of high-qualityteaching in an environment of internationally competitive research. The League is committed to: education throughan awareness of the frontiers of human understanding; the creation of new knowledge through basic research, whichis the ultimate source of innovation in society; the promotion of research across a broad front, which creates a uniquecapacity to reconfigure activities in response to new opportunities and problems. The purpose of the League is to advo-cate these values, to influence policy in Europe and to develop best practice through mutual exchange of experience.LERU publicationsLERU publishes its views on research and higher education in several types of publications, including position papers,advice papers, briefing papers and notes.Advice papers provide targeted, practical and detailed analyses of research and higher education matters. They antici-pate developing or respond to ongoing issues of concern across a broad area of policy matters or research topics.Advice papers usually provide concrete recommendations for action to certain stakeholders at European, national orother levels.LERU publications are freely available in print and online at www.leru.org.Advice paper - No. 12, April 2013
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