An Investigation of Practitioners’ Conceptualisations of Quality Academic Work in Higher Education Offshore Programs

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Hosking, Bernadette (2018) An Investigation of Practitioners’ Conceptualisations of Quality Academic Work in Higher Education Offshore Programs. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

A manifestation of the globalisation and internationalisation of higher education has been the growth of offshore programs conducted by Australian universities, especially in the Asian region. A concern with quality assurance and quality improvement has accompanied this trend. There have been relatively few studies about offshore programs from the viewpoint of academics. The prime purpose of this study, therefore, was to gain insights into the nature of quality academic work in offshore programs as conceptualised by academics. Through a deeper understanding of their perspectives, the researcher sought to determine the factors that participants identified as having crucial influences on the quality of their offshore work. A constructivist methodological perspective, with its underpinning ontological and epistemological position that reality is formed within a social construct and concepts are constructed by the researcher and participants, was chosen as the most appropriate match to both address the central research question, and to align with the stance of the researcher. A qualitative interview-based design was employed, the main objective of which was to gather and analyse detailed accounts from a purposeful sample of 16 lecturer level academics from Australian higher education institutions, who had taught in offshore programs in Hong Kong. The main data collection method was individual in-depth semi-structured interviews, and thematic analysis was utilised to unearth the themes in the data. The guiding conceptual frame for the research was informed by: concepts of academic work, internationalisation of higher education, and of quality, along with Schwab’s (1973) four commonplaces of education, and learning and cultural lenses. The findings and conclusions were supported by theoretical insights and verbatim interview extracts which highlighted the voices of participants. Three sets of factors were revealed: the contextual environment factors of contemporary academic work and notions of quality; the extrinsic factors of curriculum, student and institution; and the factors intrinsic to the academic. The confluence of these factors, interlinked through notions of learning, represented the conceptualisations of quality offshore academic work found in this study.

Additional Information

Doctor of Education

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/39498
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords higher education; Australia; globalisation; internationalisation; quality assurance; offshore programs; academics
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