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UK business programmes delivered overseas

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									           UK business programmes delivered overseas
                 - challenges and best practice.

                                   Alice Szwelnik

1. REPORT IN SHORT ARTICLE FORM


INTRODUCTION

Transnational Tertiary Education (TTE) is expanding, with an increasing number of
international students enrolling on UK courses delivered overseas. As the UK education
market saturates and international recruitment for business courses is a challenge, the UK
Business Schools engage in Transnational Education Partnerships TEPs to expand their
markets and deliver courses in Asia, Middle East, and other regions. But these partnerships
are sometimes controversial.

The critics point to the ‘exploitation’ and ‘revenue generation’ purpose of UK Universities and
claim that these provisions are disadvantageous to host countries (Stella, 2004). Another
important concern is about the quality of teaching and assessment of the UK programmes
overseas and their contested comparability with the home UK programmes (Kagia &
Ischinger, 2007). Indeed, the QAA monitoring the quality of TEPs has closed some of these
programmes in the past (Tysome, 1998; QAA, 1998, 2000).

In that context quality of teaching and assessment in TEPs providing business education
becomes a centre of attention. The proposed research investigating effective and innovative
ways of teaching and assessment of UK business programmes delivered overseas is
important in light of criticism addressed at the UK universities for alleged poor quality
courses and profit-earning motivations.

AIMS

The overall aim of this study was to investigate teaching and assessment practices and
other educational aspects of UK business courses delivered overseas. The descriptive aim
was to collect, organise and summarise information about different models for educational
processes at four UK universities delivering business courses overseas. The exploratory part
of this study was to generate practical guidelines for improvements.

METHODOLOGY

The case study approach has been adopted with documentary analysis and qualitative
interviews conducted in the UK (n=11). Using a purposive judgmental sampling method
(Cohen & Manion, 1994) four partnerships were selected adopting the criteria of ‘typical
cases’ (Schofield, 1989).

SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS

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The cases suggest that the approaches to teaching, assessment and other educational
processes are diverse, namely: (a) the outcome-based approach (where the UK university
delegates most of the functions to the partner institution and focuses on the outcomes/final
assessment), and (b) the process-based approach (where the UK university is involved in all
aspects of teaching and assessment at the partner organization).

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Teaching

An option to deliver a UK business course overseas using a flying faculty from the UK works
well for ensuring the equivalence of student experience and quality of teaching. However,
there are two disadvantages: a) high cost of travel and work overseas; and b) the local
faculty is not able to build their academic capacity; therefore the sustainability of the
overseas institution is questionable.

Assessment

Identical assessment at the overseas institution with the assessment in the UK (the same
exam questions, the same external examiners) ensures that UK and overseas students are
exposed to the same academic standards, what promotes the parity of the award received in
the UK and overseas. However, not always the UK assessment will be relevant and
appropriate in the local context; as the economic, political and business environment in the
UK and overseas is very different.

Balanced-approach

The outcome-based approach provides a lot of flexibility and freedom to the overseas
institution with regard to teaching and assessment arrangement. This flexibility could be
beneficial for academic capacity development of overseas partner, but at the same time can
create potential problems if the quality of teaching/assessment is not maintained at the level
comparable with the UK standards.

The process-based approach means regular involvement in the overseas institution what
ensure closer monitoring of everyday teaching and educational practice for the benefit of the
students. However, it can be an intrusive process discouraging local faculty from proposing
new initiative or solutions to local problems, as the UK University imposes all the processes
and educational standards (even though not always they might be adequate to the local
environment).

Therefore, it is recommended to find the right balance between these two approaches to fit
both partner institutions.




2. OUTPUTS



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Discussion paper shall be available in a form of publication in a journal by the end of
December 2010

3. DETAILS OF ANY FUTURE PLANNED DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES

List any articles, conference presentations, workshops (internal or external) that are planned
to disseminate the work.

      BMAF website
      Journal publication: Quality in HE Journal and/or Educational Studies
      Business School Research Conference 2011
      INQAAHE Conference 2010
      SRHE Annual Conference 2010




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