PCF5:ALD - Cross Border Education

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Title of session

Cross Border Education

Session details

  • Date: 15 July 2008
  • Time: 11.00 / 14.00
  • Room: Logan Hall / Drama Workshop

Session papers

  • Professor Ann Floyd, ODL and Cross-Border Higher Education in the Commonwealth, Who is offering it, and why? Who is studying in this way, and why? What are the key challenges and solutions? (371)

Key Issues that arose in the session

  • Quality Assurance/Qualification Recognition/Accreditation

One of the problems with distance and open learning is that it is often considered to be second best in comparison to conventional education. It was suggested that this was due in part to the issues of quality assurance, qualification recognition and accreditation. These were core issues for each of the four discussion groups. To solve these problems, the following were suggested:
- The establishment of consistent programme entry and programme completion requirements between conventional and distance education programs
- The creation of strict quality standards for the establishment of open and distance education programmes in order to eradicate degree mills. This process should include a review of the content being delivered as well as a programme appraisal and review process.
- Public blacklisting of degree mills
- Ensure the acceptance of distance education certificates from countries within the region (at minimum)
- Ensure that textbooks use contain local content
- Establish regional consortiums to produce mutually agreeable criteria for distance learning

  • Content Relevance

Several groups made statements about the importance of making the content relevant to learners both within and external to the country of origin. Questions were raised as to the ability of distance education consumers to acquire content from developed countries and contextualize it as well as the difficulties involved in preparing content that was relevant to a variety of nations consuming cross border distance education. Comments were made questioning the ability of developing countries to provide the human resources and research needed to provide the contextualization of programmes. Participants decided that it would be easier to create a framework for courses which allowed for the addition of case studies or other modules in order to increase content relevance f or a variety of contexts. It was also decided that making content relevant to regions of the world instead of individual nations would be easier.
Suggestions for ways in which to contextualise distance education content included:
- Require students to perform assignments which related the course content to their own context
- Ensure that the needs of the consumer nations were clearly stated and being met in the content provided

Points for future action (Policy, recommendations, commitments etc.)

  • Create and publish common guidelines for open and distance education across the Commonwealth
  • Provide facilitation and support for countries to establish regional consortiums for discussions on open learning
  • Provide assistance for countries to make strategic plans for distance education including the selection of educational partners from both the public and private sectors.