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Equivalent or not? Beyond measuring teaching and learning standards in a transnational education environment

Choon Boey Lim (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Duncan Bentley (Victoria University International, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Fiona Henderson (Academic Support and Development, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Shin Yin Pan (Hospitality and Information Technology, Sunway College Johor Bahru, Johor Bahru, Malaysia)
Vimala Devi Balakrishnan (Department of Language, Sunway College Johor Bahru, Johor Bahru, Malaysia)
Dharshini M. Balasingam (Australian University Program, Sunway College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Ya Yee Teh (Australian University Program, Sunway College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 5 September 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine issues academics at importing institutions face while delivering Australian degrees in Malaysia. Transnational higher education (TNE) has been widely researched. However, less widely researched is the area of understanding what academics at the offshore locations need to uphold the required academic standards of their partnered exporting universities. This area warrants close attention if Australian and other transnational education universities are to sustain their growth through a partnership model with offshore academics delivering a portion (often a substantial portion) of the teaching.

Design/methodology/approach

Two focus groups were conducted with a mix of long standing and newly recruited Malaysian lecturers who taught into an Australian degree through a partnership arrangement. The semi-structured questions which were used were derived from a preliminary literature review and previous internal institutional reports.

Findings

The findings from the focus groups indicate that TNE is largely “Australian-centric” when addressing the standard of academic quality and integrity. The findings pointed not so much to any sustained internationalisation of curriculum or administration or personnel but more as internationalisation as deemed required by the local academic.

Originality/value

To a greater extent, the findings highlighted that equivalent student outcomes do not necessarily equate to equivalent learning experiences or teaching workload. In fact, the frustration of the interviewees on the tension to fulfil the home institution curriculum and helping students to “comprehend” an Australian-centric curriculum translates to “additional and unrecognised workload” for the interviewees.

Keywords

Citation

Lim, C.B., Bentley, D., Henderson, F., Pan, S.Y., Balakrishnan, V.D., M. Balasingam, D. and Teh, Y.Y. (2016), "Equivalent or not? Beyond measuring teaching and learning standards in a transnational education environment", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 528-540. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-01-2016-0001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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