Critical success attributes of transnational IT education programmes: The client perspective

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Information Technology Education:Research, 2011, 10 (1), pp. 123 - 137
Issue Date:
2011-12-01
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How can transnational education (TNE) programs be made more effective? According to the literature, no one is in a better position to comment on this question than the students themselves. At the same time, there is a recognized scarcity in the literature of student input into the issue of transnational program effectiveness. In consideration of this need, a research study was conducted to examine the effectiveness of TNE programs from the student perspective. To this end, transnational students' views on the various dimensions of the TNE context were used as a key indicator of the effectiveness of transnational programs. The evaluated dimensions included student, instructor, curriculum and instruction design, interaction, evaluation and assessment, technology, and program management, and organisational support. Data for the study was collected from approximately five hundred transnational students participating in eight transnational undergraduate computing programs offered by four Australian universities in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Overall, students from the eight different programs considered in this study were in agreement as to the factors they perceived as most important to the effectiveness of transnational programs. As anticipated and confirmed by the literature, students were of the view that their own motivation, self-discipline, and the ability to work independently, as well as in a team, was a pre-condition of an effective program. With respect to instructors, students attached the greatest importance to the instructors' ability to understand program requirements and student needs, use communication skills effectively, and be well prepared and organized. They were also in agreement regarding the importance of instructors' experience with technology-based programs and their ability to provide well-designed syllabus and presentation outlines. The relevance of the curriculum to job and career was perceived as the most important aspect of program curriculum and instruction design. The alignment of assessment with learning objectives was also considered important, as was assessment of student attitudes and levels of satisfaction. Students identified two aspects of importance in relation to technology: availability and reliability, and the ease of use of technology. With respect to program management and organizational support, timely preparation of program materials was considered important, as was the institution's attention to the high quality of the program. The findings of the reported study indicate that to improve and sustain transnational programs in the future, it is essential for universities to gain an understanding of the learners' perspective. The findings provide a framework to assist in making informed decisions in the design, development, and review of transnational programs.
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