The Challenges and Opportunities of Partnership in Establishing Online Postgraduate Provision

The Challenges and Opportunities of Partnership in Establishing Online Postgraduate Provision

Faye Taylor (Nottingham Trent University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9779-7.ch012

Abstract

This chapter shares some of the ‘lessons learned' from the author's perspective of adopting a higher education services provider as partner for the design, development, and delivery of online postgraduate provision. Ultimately, partnering with a higher education services provider for the development of online learning offers distinct benefits in terms of marketing support, project management, and instructional design but the key to ensuring the partnership works effectively and impacts positively upon student experience, is to ensure a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities from the outset, avoid unnecessary shifts in personnel, and have a system of monitoring and control in place from the university's perspective to ensure that roles and responsibilities within the partnership are being upheld.
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Background

Universities have been traditionally independent, and competitive (Hawkins, 2003). Whereas, distance learning institutions have traditionally been more cooperative and accommodating with partner institutions. Interestingly, Rubin (2003) has noted that “traditional universities are becoming more like distance learning universities and not the opposite” (p. 59). With this shift, more institutions are creating partnerships with other colleges, universities, companies, and other kinds of institutions to share technology and to produce and deliver courses (Carnevale, 2000c; Dunn, 2000; Cheney, 2002). However, partnerships present “obstacles as well as benefits. Winning accreditation, providing student services, setting tuition, figuring out finances, and transferring course credits are among the thorny issues that administrators find themselves struggling to face collectively” (Carnevale, 2000b, p. 2).

With the online market becoming increasingly competitive and traditional universities wanting to increase their global footprint, it is clear to see why online, blended and flexible learning may be viewed as a way to access new markets and have a significant impact upon students around the globe. This being particularly important in Nottingham Trent University whose strategic intent is to communicate a ‘connecting globally’ focus of a quality that would mirror the existing on-campus provision that has won the University such high rankings and accolades.

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