The article describes an example of how the higher education sector in Norway has devised creative ways of strengthening international education despite the challenges of the Covid19 pandemic. In May and June of this year, Høgskolen på Vestlandet (HVL) offered the new course PhD 911: Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy within its PhD program in Bildung and Didactical Practices. Fitting its international theme, the course was taught in English, and due to the Coronavirus, all course activities were facilitated through online learning.
In the context of increasing calls for internationalization, and the “decolonizing universities” movement impacting higher education worldwide, there is much demand for an innovative course on this topic, and education doctoral students from many countries participated (along with Norwegian students) in the online course: China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Canada, Guyana, South Africa, Nigeria, Poland, the UK, Luxembourg, and Denmark. This even included doctoral candidates from the world’s most highly ranked faculties of education, with multiple students from both University College London (UK) and Education University of Hong Kong (China). According to the PhD program manager, this was “the first time” to have so much interest in an elective course of this kind. Typically, a 7-student minimum is needed for these elective courses, but more than 20 students were admitted . . .
Very positive teaching evaluations and an overall high quality of final papers were among the notable outcomes from this course, and participants are now collaboratively developing a book manuscript based on the course theme and its final papers.
While the Coronavirus has been a challenge, the decision to offer online education as a response has generated some new opportunities for international cooperation. We may be hopeful that some of these developments will turn out to be positive in the long-term.
Click HERE for further information about this course, which we look forward to offering again in 2022. Also, click HERE for information on the upcoming intensive summer PhD course Internationalizing Higher Education, to be offered through Bergen Summer Research School.