Ensuring the future for glocal learning projects through strategic research

Year: 2019

Author: Zipf, Reyna, Ham, Miriam, Ham, Richardson, Susan, Ambrosetti, Angelina, Busch, Gillian, danaher, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Central Queensland University has provided opportunities for tertiary students to participate in overseas study projects for over a decade. In 2012, the School of Education and the Arts offered pre-service teacher education students the opportunity to participate in a volunteer teaching and study tour to India. This project was funded by the Australian Government Study Overseas Short-term Mobility Program (STMP). In 2014, overseas study experience offerings were expanded to include study projects in India and Cambodia. To make these initiatives financially viable for students, the school applied for, and gained funding through initially STMP, and in recent years the New Columbo Plan. To date, opportunities to participate in overseas study programs have grown to include two separate projects in India, two separate projects in Nepal, an ongoing project in Cambodia, and a project in China. While the increase in number of projects has meant expanded opportunities for university students to engage in service and volunteer projects both locally and abroad, the current provision of these projects is ad hoc; dependent on funding from the Australian Federal Government New Columbo Plan and the individual initiative of academic staff. In addition, as the number of projects has increased, those proposing the projects find they are competing for NCP funding not only with other universities, but within their own university. To be competitive, the School of Education and the Arts needs to, not only, improve the quality of their NCP applications, but also be able to measure and articulate the impact of overseas project experiences on students in terms of graduate attributes and professional skills.

Anecdotally, there are overwhelming avowals that these projects provide unique alternate learning experiences that broaden cultural awareness, enrich personal perspectives and have a life-changing impact on participating university students. They are potentially ‘change makers’ for individuals and as such, need to be theorized and researched to inform future projects within the School of Education and the Arts, and more broadly across the university. This presentation provides an overview of the School of Education and the Arts mobility programs and the research conducted in the course of their enactment. Issues encountered with organizing and researching overseas projects are outlined along with their resolution.