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Equalising the learning in diverse contexts – inclusivity and engaging students as partners in learning. Viv Caruana , Leeds Metropolitan University ‘From Franchise to Equalise? Equitable learning in local and global contexts’ Higher Education Academy Workshop and Seminar Series 2013-14

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Viv Caruana , Leeds Metropolitan University

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Viv caruana leeds metropolitan university

Equalising the learning in diverse contexts – inclusivity and engaging students as partners in learning

VivCaruana, Leeds Metropolitan University

‘From Franchise to Equalise? Equitable learning in local and global contexts’

Higher Education Academy Workshop and Seminar Series 2013-14

Leeds Metropolitan University, 9 April 2014


Defining inclusive practice

Defining inclusive practice

‘Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education refers to the ways in which pedagogy, curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage studentsin learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others’ (Hocking, 2010: 1)

‘…create flexible activities that allow students to draw on their own knowledge, interests and experiences while encouraging the sharing and application of different knowledge, experience and perspectives among peers.’ (Hocking, 2010: 7)


Inclusion a question of balance

Inclusion – a question of balance?

No one should be disadvantaged

All should be helped to learn by a curriculum designed to achieve success

(Caruana, 2011)


Student engagement listening and learning from the student voice

Student engagement – Listening and learning from the student voice?

‘Students’ engagement…is, self-evidently, vital to their success. What institutions do pedagogically, influences student engagement – but much of that engagement takes place away from lecture theatres, laboratories and studios. Teaching staff are thus likely somewhat in the dark about what students actually do as they work through their study programmes, and hence be left uncertain about the best way to adapt their pedagogic approaches in order to increase the chances of their students’ success.’ Yorke, in Buckley, 2013: Foreword)


Student engagement and its antithesis

Student engagement and its antithesis

‘Engagement is more than participation or involvement - it requires feelings, sense-making and activity… Acting without feeling engaged is just involvement or even compliance, feeling engaged without acting is dissociation (Trowler, 2010)’

Mann (2001:7) as cited in Trowler (2010) posits the ‘engagement-alienation dyad’ is more useful in understanding students’ relationships to learning than the ‘surface-strategic-deep triad’ since both the surface and strategic approaches are responses to alienation from content and process.


Student engagement as change agency

Student engagement as ‘change agency’?

‘There is a subtle, but extremely important difference between an institution that ‘listens’ to students and responds accordingly, and an institution that gives students the opportunity to explore areas that they believe to be significant, to recommend solutions and to bring about the required changes…’students as change agents’ explicitly supports a view of the student as ‘active collaborator’ and ‘co-producer’ with the potential for transformation.’ (Dunne in Foreword to Dunne and Zandstra, 2011: 4, cited in Healey, 2013)


So what about transnational higher education

So what about transnational higher education?

Caruana, V. and Montgomery, C. (forthcoming) ‘Understanding the Transnational Higher Education Landscape: Jigsaws of Positionality and Intercultural Partnership’, Journal of Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences


Transnational he engaging international global or glocal students

Transnational HE: Engaging ‘International’, ‘Global’ or ‘Glocal’ students?

  • International students:

  • ‘Strivers’: driven by career advancement

  • ‘Strugglers’: driven by prospects of emigration through educational pathways

  • ‘Explorers’: favour the experience of living abroad

  • ‘High-flyers’: driven by prestige and achievement

  • Global students:

  • ‘High-flyers’ and ‘strugglers’ who will not find alternative pathways to foreign education offered by TNHE appealing.


Transnational he engaging international global or glocal students1

Transnational HE: Engaging ‘International’, ‘Global’ or ‘Glocal’ students?

  • ‘Glocal’ students:

  • ‘Explorers’ and ‘strivers’ who are aspire to study abroad but face extreme academic or financial barriers. They pursue social prestige and a career ‘edge’ without having to move far away from home.

  • Global aspirations but want to capitalise on opportunities for education and employment within their regions.

  • Addressing their needs is complicated by a changing institutional, demographic, economic and political landscape.

    (Choudaha, 2012, 2013 and Choudaha et al, 2013)


Transnational he engaging international global or glocal students2

Transnational HE: Engaging ‘International’, ‘Global’ or ‘Glocal’ students?

Choudaha (2013) cites Michael Porter:

‘Competitive strategy is about being different…deliberately choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities…to deliver a unique mix of value…’ and goes on to argue ‘Winning the glocal students requires a deeper comprehension of their changing needs and identification of the best fit delivery models’

Caruana and Spurling (2007) ‘Global competence in university teaching implies not only academic competence, but also operational competence (knowing how) and competence in functioning in different socio-cultural contexts.’


The glocal student experience

The ‘glocal’ student experience?

  • Research with students at a branch campus in UAE – students ‘satisfied’ with programme effectiveness, quality of lectures and teaching, student learning, assessment and feedback, learning resources, use of technology and social life. Evidence ‘…refutes some of the criticisms…regarding quality, politicalor ideological issues…’ (Wilkins and Balakrishnan, 2013; Wilkins et al, 2012)

  • Some students in non-Western countries want to engage with Western knowledge and pedagogies and find adaptation condescending – ‘reverse colonialism’ (Yang, 2006)

  • Students achieving ‘high level positional outcomes’ and ‘developing active learning habits’ (Hoare, 2012) ‘greater confidence to express opinions in different situations (Yang, 2006)

  • Flexibility of program delivery and learning modes help in maintaining work and family commitments (Yang, 2006)


So what s the problem then

So what’s the problem then?

Programmes of study drawing on the Western paradigm can be a selling point but many areas of study are culturally dependent (Yang, 2006)

‘Thinking globally’ – ‘universal discourse’ versus creating ‘transnational spaces’ for learning in which local knowledge traditions co-exist with alternative perspectives (Morshidi, 2006) Transnational educators – rather than adopting a ‘universalist mindset’ should acknowledge ‘cultural distance’ and be prepared to ‘learn from ambiguity’ (Hoare, 2013)

The ‘cocktail curriculum’ : predominantly Western style with some reflection of local environment and integration of global considerations, but insufficiently adaptive to students’ local experience and background, and failing to give ‘real-life’ guidance (Yang, 2006)


So what s the problem then1

So what’s the problem then?

Mis-matches in academic expectations – intensive face-to-face delivery (Yang, 2006)

Few opportunities to interact with students from other countries (Yang, 2006)

The unintended local consequences of the standardised and globalised curriculum – racialization acts as a form of justification for both teachers’ and students’ concerns in the face of relative failure (Pullman, 2013)


So what s the problem then2

So what’s the problem then?

Transnational professionals – ‘overseas educated locals’ bound by sense of common identity and mutual recognition (Waters, 2007)

Vast majority of ‘international’ qualifications involve no travel whatsoever – relationship between (im)mobility and accumulation of cultural capital through international education. Immobility impacts on HE experience – class reproduction and social inequalities (Waters and Leung, 2013)


So what s the problem then3

So what’s the problem then?

For students unable to access HE through the ‘traditional’ route TNHE can partially offset shortfall in domestic university places but graduates disadvantaged – often less social capital and cultural capital on which to draw and find their degree less valued than the local equivalent(Waters and Leung, 2012).

Importance of defining, refining and aligning the ‘value proposition’ for respective stakeholders – students, partner institutions and government. The academic challenge is one of relationship and culture building to generate ‘value creating and sustainable models of TNHE’(Bolton and Nie, 2010)


So what about inclusion and student engagement

So what about inclusion and student engagement?

That’s all from me (references are provided in the accompanying Word doc.) – now over to you…


Viv caruana leeds metropolitan university

Activity: Engaging ‘glocal’ students – what works in existing TNHE practice and what is transferable from the ‘home’ context

‘Student engagement’ and ‘inclusion’ in transnational HE contexts - the essential principles by which a Western-developed curriculum is made accessible and meaningful for a diversity of students across the globe? How are they reflected in UK study programmes delivered by partner institutions overseas?

The framework provided in the hand-out, may be used to facilitate structured discussion within small groups (20 minutes).

Feedback to plenary (20 minutes)


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