Australian universities delivering educational programs in other countries
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The purpose of the study reported in this book was to explore the effects of the internationalisation of higher education on the working lives of academics at an Australian university. In recent years many studies have been carried out on international student education, including offshore education. Despite this, relatively few qualitative studies have been undertaken on offshore education from the perspective of the practitioners. The research carried out for this book aimed to fill this gap. The central research question of the study, which guided theory generation, was as follows: “What are the perspectives of academics on their involvement in the offshore delivery of programs of one university in Australia”. The question was pursued in the case of academics who were working at two sites of the University in question, namely, the home campus and an offshore campus. The study was conceptualized within the social theory of symbolic interactionism and utilized constructivist grounded theory and qualitative research methods to investigate academics’ perspectives on their involvement in the offshore delivery of programs. The basis for data collection was in-depth, semi-structured interviews consistent with the interpretivist qualitative research tradition. Data analysis occurred concurrently with data collection and incorporated constructivist grounded theory methods such as open coding, and member checking that led to generation and confirmation of propositions of the theory. The theory generated was considered in terms of three major interrelated themes: ‘interpersonal relations between staff’, ‘curriculum’ and ‘industrial relations’. Within each separate chapter dealing with these themes, the researcher investigated commonalities and tensions between academics’ perspectives at the two sites of the University.In addition, the researcher presented an analysis of perspectives that are pertinent only to one of the sites at a time. A number of implications for further theory development and research are made and several recommendations regarding policy and practice are drawn from the theory generated.
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