Managing quality and student experience in transnational education

Report
Managing quality and student
experience in transnational education
partnerships: a reflective and
prospective model
Vangelis Tsiligiris
College Principal
MBS College of Crete, Greece
twitter @tsiligiris
The quality conundrum
Students
Universities
Changing expectations
Increased competition
Told to “shop around” for best value for their
money
Emergence of non-traditional players
Influence from high unemployment to higher
demands for employability
Rankings and indicators as means to differentiate
Corporatisation
Current quality
discourse in
higher education
Quality concept
Quality Management Policy
Flux of definitions and models for quality
management
Primarily focusing on risk-mitigation
Failure to take a realistic stance in the debate
“student as customer” and quality as “top-down”
Overconcentration on student satisfaction
Students framed as customers
Reactive rather than proactive
What is wrong with quality management in
higher education ?
• Service quality is seen as important but not linked to educational
quality
Two extreme poles in this:
– Student satisfaction is critical in a “value for money” world
– Students should inevitably suffer in the journey to knowledge so student
satisfaction is irrelevant
• Retrospective approach (Biggs, 2001) in managing final outcomes
– Over-reliance on student satisfaction surveys
– The relationships between dimensions assumed as static
– Ignore student characteristics
we seek to react on issues that concern a previous cohort and reinforce
solutions/actions on a different cohort that may have different
problems
“The Student Experience”
Service and educational quality are closely linked
Student factors
i.e. prior knowledge,
abilities, motivation
Learning -focused
activities
Learning
Outcomes
i.e. deep vs. surface
learning
Quantitative &
Qualitative
Teaching context
Objectives, assessment,
climate, ethos, teaching
approaches
Student expectations
Service quality
Student Perceptions
about “student
experience”
Transnational Education
• Of growing importance for exporting countries
• Legitimised as “an alternative to international
student mobility” (?)
• Conflicting views of the role of TNE that
impact quality management
– Risk, risk, risk
– The same or equal ?
– An element or internationalisation or globalisation
Current approach in TNE quality management
Dominance of quality assurance
policies of exporting countries
TNE is seen as a high-risk activity by
exporting countries
Quality assurance as risk mitigation
Quality management X approach
Focus on equivalency (sameness)
rather than enhancement
Ramifications of the current approach in TNE quality management
Student factors and expectations are
ignored or assumed to be the same
across different locations of delivery
Student perceptions about quality in
higher education, both as term and as set
of desired outcomes, are ignored or
assumed to be the same across different
locations of delivery
Student factors
i.e. prior knowledge, abilities,
motivation
Learning -focused
activities
Teaching context
i.e. deep vs. surface learning
Learning Outcomes
Quantitative & Qualitative
Objectives, assessment,
climate, ethos, teaching
approaches
Student expectations
Service quality
Student Perceptions about
“student experience”
The problematic nature of current approach in TNE
quality management
• Considering the important role of student factors,
expectations, and perceptions for both educational
and service quality outcomes, can we afford to
assume them as static or irrelevant?
• The replication of a retrospective “home” quality
management approach is really minimizing risk in
TNE ?
Student factors in TNE
• Student expectations and perceptions vary
considerably across different countries
• Factors that affect student expectations and
perceptions:
– Previous educational experience
– Culture
– Parents, family and other social networks
– The state of the domestic higher education system
– Contribution in the payment of fees
– Size of education institution they attend
Student factors in TNE
• “Student as customer” identity penetrates
national borders and appears to affect student
expectations and perceptions across different
countries
• However, students appear to be “immature
customers”
– Highly instrumental in their expectations and
perception of the educational process
– Focus on the “end product” and less on the
“journey”.
Current Student Experience in TNE
Almost 90% of [TNE] students interviewed by the
British Council indicated that student experience is the
area where improvement should be considered.
“The TNE student is a new type of student and the
home institution need to not only understand their
expectation in the context of the student body but
also to capitalised on them to create a new diverse
learning community. Home institutions need go
beyond the replica model.”
(Shepherd, 2013)
Challenges for quality management in TNE
• How to deal with different student
expectations and perceptions?
• How to respond to the universal trend of the
emerging identity of “student as customer”, by
achieving an optimal balance between
educational and service quality maximization?
• How to move beyond the replica model but
maintain control over risk?
A prospective and reflective model
Explore contextual
factors that affect and
shape student
expectations, and
perceptions
A shift of focus from the
end to the beginning of
the educational process
Plan actions to manage
student expectations, and
perceptions so that are
re-aligned to those
required to achieve the
desired educational and
service quality standards
Prospective
/ Reflective
approach
Understand
the context
Plan and
implement
proactive
management
actions
Understand
the student
Explore and understand
student expectations,
and perceptions
An example
During the planning/ pre-launch and delivery
Explore the education system in the
importing country
Identify student factors
Plan actions to re-adjust student expectations/perceptions
1. Pre-induction
2. On-going induction
3. A re-adjustment semester /year
Prospective quality management
Explore contextual factors
Contextualise delivery/learning context
1.
2.
3.
Programme content
Tweak assessment
Explore language issues
Achieve educational
and service quality
outcomes
Student factors
i.e. prior knowledge, abilities,
motivation
Teaching context
Learning -focused
activities
i.e. deep vs. surface learning
Learning Outcomes
Quantitative & Qualitative
Objectives, assessment,
climate, ethos, teaching
approaches
Student expectations
Service quality
Student Perceptions about
“student experience”
References
Biggs, J. (2001). The reflective institution: Assuring and enhancing the quality of teaching and learning.
Higher Education. 41 (3). p.pp. 221–238.
Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university. Open University press.
Bodycott, P. & Lai, A. (2012). The Influence and Implications of Chinese Culture in the Decision to
Undertake Cross-Border Higher Education. Journal of Studies in International Education. 16 (3). p.pp.
252–270.
Chapman, A., Pyvis, D., Chapman, A. & Pyvis, D. (2013). Enhancing quality in transnational higher
education: experiences of teaching and learning in Australian offshore programs.
Hoare, L. (2012). Transnational Student Voices Reflections on a Second Chance. Journal of Studies in
International Education. 16 (3). p.pp. 271–286.
Shepherd, E. (2013). Transnational Education: The student experience. In: Going Global 2013. 6 March
2013, Dubai: British Council, Education Intelligence.
Smith, K. (2010). Assuring quality in transnational higher education: a matter of collaboration or control?
Studies in Higher Education. 35 (7). p.pp. 793–806.
Waters, J. & Leung, M. (2013). A Colourful University Life? Transnational Higher Education and the Spatial
Dimensions of Institutional Social Capital in Hong Kong. Population, Space and Place. 19 (2). p.pp. 155–
167.

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