Higher Education through Open and Distance Learning

By Keith Harry | Go to book overview

Chapter 2

The internationalisation of higher education

Denis Blight, Dorothy Davis and Alan Olsen

Open learning and distance education are borderless in concept. There are few boundaries on the locations of their students and, increasingly, open learning and distance education cross national borders. Some 1998 examples: the British Open University has 25,000 students taking courses outside the country (Daniel 1998); it is reported to be opening its doors for business in the US (The Australian, 6 May 1998); of the 79,800 international students in Australian universities 6,500 were off-campus and 15,800 at off-shore campuses (IDP Education Australia 1998:2). Does the fact that open and distance education is delivered across national borders lead to demand for internationalisation of its content? Does internationalisation of the content of open and distance education lead to demand for its borderless delivery? And what of quality? If delivery is across borders, what control or assurance is there in terms of quality, relevance, support of students, recognition and accreditation? Does borderless delivery lead to globalisation of accreditation? Moreover, does technology change the teaching and learning delivered through open and distance education? Is technology an ally in borderless delivery but a threat in terms of intellectual imperialism?

The first section in this chapter outlines developments in the internationalisation of higher education; the second looks at international delivery of open and distance education; the third reviews the application of new technologies; and the fourth highlights issues of quality, student support, curricula, costs and concerns of internationalisation and globalisation.


Internationalisation

International higher education has traditionally involved students from one country studying on-campus at universities in another country. De Ridder-Symoens (1992) describes the impact of the mobility of students and scholars in the Middle Ages:

The use of Latin as a common language, and a uniform programme of study and systems of examinations, enabled international students to

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