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Surviving offshore teaching: Some tips for teachers

Catherine Jordan and Chris Perryer
Graduate School of Management, The University of Western Australia
Globalisation has resulted in Australian universities becoming more internationally focused on the delivery of programs. With technological advances and improved mobility of people, educational providers now offer a broader range of learning opportunities for international students including distance or external courses, online delivery, and offshore delivery. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of international students studying in Australia, either by distance or face to face mode. While the educational literature has kept abreast of many aspects of these new approaches to teaching, one area receiving little attention is offshore teaching. This mode of teaching involves face to face delivery overseas, mostly in an intensive mode, and may also involve the support of a local tutor. A major advantage to the university is the ability to capture students unable or unwilling to study abroad. Students also benefit by studying towards a western degree with little disruption to their lives.

However, it is important to monitor this method of delivery to ensure that students receive a high quality learning experience in a program that is not to the detriment of the teacher. In this study semi-structured interviews were conducted with faculty staff to better understand and develop strategies for addressing these issues. Overall, respondents enjoyed the experience of teaching offshore, although concerns were raised as to whether students got the most out of their experience, especially where the unit contained interdependent topics. Other concerns included lack of staff-student rapport, poor class participation, difficulty developing culturally relevant examples, and teacher and student fatigue. Strategies suggested to overcome these issues included integrating culturally relevant examples into the classroom, and developing an understanding of the culture to avoid offending students. Lastly, importance was placed on making better and more creative use of online correspondence. Future research needs to investigate offshore teaching outside the Australasian region.

Please cite as: Jordan, C. and Perryer, C. (2003). Surviving offshore teaching: Some tips for teachers. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/jordan-abs.html

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Last revision: 15 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/jordan-abs.html