Engagement Theory: a Framework for Supporting Cultural Differences in Transnational Education

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Miliszewska, Iwona and Horwood, John (2004) Engagement Theory: a Framework for Supporting Cultural Differences in Transnational Education. In: Transforming Knowledge into Wisdom : holistic approaches to teaching and learning. Sheehy, Frank and Stauble, Barbara, eds. ‬Research and development in higher education (27). Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc, Milperra, N.S.W, pp. 223-233.


Transnational education typically uses a combination of face-to-face instruction delivered by local teaching staff and teaching materials produced in the offering institution’s home country. Thus, the design of transnational courses needs to be culturally responsive and tailored to the learning styles and social context of students in a foreign locale. To this end, the students’ educational assumptions and expectations, as well as educational practices need to be considered. A Computer Science degree, offered by Victoria University both locally in Australia and transnationally in Hong Kong, includes a compulsory final year Project subject. The Project, a team effort, involves the design and implementation of a real-life computer application for an external client. The Project model, based on Engagement Theory as a conceptual framework for teaching and learning, includes three core components of group context, project-based problems, and outside focus. Although the model used in Hong Kong has been modified to accommodate a variety of time, distance and cultural constraints, its core components remained unchanged. Academics responsible for the degree consider these three Project components essential to transforming computing students into competent graduates. Do Project students, both in Melbourne and in Hong Kong, support this view? This paper reports on a comparative study of the students’ perceptions of the Project experience and the relative importance of its three components. The paper discusses the results of the study with respect to the different locales, and concludes by considering the implications of the study for the Project model. Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Research andf Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) : 4-7 July, Miri, Malaysia

Additional Information

ISSN: 0155-6223

Item type Book Section
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/5622
Official URL http://www.herdsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/confer...
ISBN 9780908557592, 0908557582
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 0806 Information Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 2002 Cultural Studies
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Engineering and Science
Keywords ResPubID7532, transnational programs, cultural constraints, project-based task, distance education, educational product, problem based learning, PBL, collaborative efforts, project-based assignments, non-academic focus, project supervision, Hong Kong Project model, face-to-face meetings, project documentation, real-world learning context
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