At the IFE Conference, APRU calls for more online internationalization
February 1, 2024

An APRU delegation comprised of APRU Chief Executive Prof. Thomas Schneider and APRU Senior Director, Network and Student Programs Adriana Rojas participated in the IFE Conference by Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Institute for the Future of Education (IFE) in January, sharing APRU’s vision for a push to adopt new technologies in international education. Themed “Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” the event brought together world-class educational leaders, entrepreneurs, and top international experts to discuss the growing use of artificial intelligence in higher education.

In a keynote panel, Prof. Schneider stressed the need to prioritize online internationalization in universities’ strategic plans and highlighted the benefits and challenges of making global collaboration in online internationalization complement traditional mobility. Although online internationalization is a constant conversation topic in discussions with APRU member universities, Prof. Schneider noted that only a small minority of APRU members have made the topic a key plank in their strategic plans. Prof. Schneider commended The Chinese University of Hong Kong for pledging to become a leader in pedagogical innovation in e-learning; The University of Adelaide for advocating for a significant expansion of blended and online pedagogies; and The University of Queensland for promising to develop fully online offerings to a broader range of domestic and international student markets.

“Online participation can greatly increase the scope of programs that include traditional forms of in-person mobility and add efficiency and flexibility in terms of timing and reduced cost and wider access to courses offered internationally to those who cannot afford mobility, while also reducing emissions,” Prof. Thomas Schneider said.

“While online internationalization cannot replace the experience of an extensive stay abroad, it defines a different paradigm of internationalization that reflects the technological capabilities of the 21st century.”

Prof. Schneider took the opportunity to highlight online internationalization’s key role in APRU’s virtual student exchanges, courses offered as part of APRU’s thematic programs, mentorship programs, as well as simulations and competitions. In 2023 these virtual APRU events involved 2,265 students.

The IFE Conference is seen as the most prominent educational innovation congress in the Spanish-speaking world. With over 250 scheduled activities, it provided a unique space for learning, collaboration, and innovation. More than 170 educational research and innovation projects from 30 countries were received. The IFE Conference was accompanied by a range of complementary events, such as the Artificial Intelligence in Education Summit, the IFE EdTech Summit, and the Cyber-Physical Learning Alliance.

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