? Room to move: Global imperatives, offshore realities and TEQSA in transnational education
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Australian universities, like others in the education export market, face the imperative of global engagement. One means adopted is transnational education (TNE), defined here as an arrangement for provision of higher education where students acquire an award in one country, which has been issued by a higher education institution based in another country. As an Australia award it must meet Australian standards, including the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) requirements. At the same time transnational partners must meet local realities. These include national regulatory requirements, including requirements for self-accrediting institutions, and local professional body requirements. There are also educational and staffing reasons for adapting to local needs. In this paper we look at a range of models for balancing home institution and offshore partner interests in the offering of TNE. We examine how these sit with the TEQSA requirement that the higher education provider has effective mechanisms to manage and quality assure all aspects of the arrangement to ensure student learning outcomes ‘equivalent to’ those when a course of study is delivered by the higher education provider. The paper is informed by an Australian Office of Learning and Teaching project Learning without borders that investigated approaches to TNE, with particular reference to branch campuses, categorised models, and explored consequences for staff in leadership position in home and offshore locations, as well as consequences for the learning experiences of students offshore. The project recommended that, where institutions offer TNE programs through multiple providers or where programs or units are taught for the first time by a TNE provider, a high degree of home campus control may be appropriate. Where branch campuses have demonstrated capability and stability contextualisation of content, learning resources, learning and teaching activities, and assessment is recommended. We suggest the latter could be accommodated under TEQSA requirements.
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