Transnational Postgraduate Study for Development Workers: Using Technology to Bridge the Gap

Transnational Postgraduate Study for Development Workers: Using Technology to Bridge the Gap

Elizabeth A. Beckmann (The Australian National University, Australia) and Patrick Kilby (The Australian National University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-779-4.ch006

Abstract

This case describes social, technological, economic and political factors impacting on transnational learning in the Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development program at the Australian National University. Using the experiences of students working in areas of conflict, poverty and injustice across the world, this case shows how flexible delivery of postgraduate education not only allows development workers to continue their career progression while remaining fully active in the field, but also enables them to engage in stimulating high-level discourse with their development practitioner peers as they apply theory to practice. Giving development workers the opportunity to engage in advanced study in a stimulating and peer-supported learning environment without leaving home both enriches their career functionality and long-term prospects, and enhances their day-to-day work activities. As a bonus, host communities benefit from a development worker with greater access to expertise, experience and support, and a reduced sense of professional and/or cultural isolation.
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Organisation Background

The Australian National University (ANU) was established uniquely in Canberra by a Federal Act of Parliament in 1946. Consistently ranked highly internationally (Center for World-Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings), the ANU is one of Australia’s most research-intensive universities, with a focus on research-led teaching in both its undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. Currently the University has about 14,000 students, including some 3,000 international students from 106 countries. As with all Australian higher education, tuition fees are charged for both domestic and international students. The ANU is essentially a single-campus university with a primary focus on face-to-face teaching, and—with notable exceptions such as the Migration Law and Practice program; involvement in the Australia Global Development Learning Network; and the Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, which is the focus of this case—has only recently started to engage more widely with issues of flexible delivery and open learning.

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