International Strategy for Higher Education Institutions

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Posted on by Vicky Lewis

A useful Higher Education Academy resource

The UK’s Higher Education Academy recently (June 2017) published a useful transnational education (TNE) toolkit, prepared by Dr Karen Smith (University of Hertfordshire).

ToolkitIt provides a wealth of valuable advice for anyone involved in delivering TNE. While written specifically for the UK context, many of the lessons it shares are transferable.

It covers topics such as:

  • the quality assurance and enhancement of TNE
  • the logistics of TNE teaching
  • teaching, learning and assessment in TNE
  • relationship building (with TNE students and with the TNE partner institution and its staff).

Each section draws together advice from a range of credible sources, signposting to these sources as appropriate. There are helpful checklists of questions that staff / institutions should be asking themselves; and mini case studies from those who have direct experience in the area under discussion.

Key takeaways

Several points stood out for me.

  • The need to consider opportunities for TNE students to engage in areas where UK students are now routinely involved (e.g. module evaluation, student representation, curriculum design).
  • The need to factor in plenty of professional development opportunities – both for UK staff teaching overseas and for TNE partner staff. Some useful models of professional development are outlined, as well as some examples of joint professional development which can help to foster effective community building and cross-cultural team working.
  • There’s some really practical advice on the logistics of teaching in a new context and ways to prepare yourself.
  • There’s some useful guidance on approaches to learning, assessment and feedback - and on the need to adapt (or simply contextualise) content so that it is comprehensible and relevant to TNE learners.
  • There are some great tips on building and sustaining relationships with TNE students and with staff from the TNE partner institution. These explore developing inter-cultural competences, recognising unconscious bias and managing expectations (your own, those of your TNE students, your TNE partner colleagues and your colleagues at home).
  • The need to nurture a sense of belonging to the degree-awarding institution amongst TNE students – and tactics to help make this happen.

This toolkit contains plenty of useful guidance both for those embarking on TNE delivery for the first time and for those with more experience.

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