Year 1 is foundational because it introduces concepts and debates central to the contemporary academic project, including the purposes of higher education, knowledge, adult learning and teaching, curriculum, assessment and evaluation.
Higher Education Learning & Teaching (core module)
With the rapidly changing nature of higher education globally, participants of this module will deepen their conceptual understanding of the constructed nature of the role of higher education, learning, teaching and knowledge creation at the local and global level, in order to develop their philosophy of higher education. Through a rich diversity of resources, peer interaction and blended learning activities, enabling conditions are provided for participants to identify and articulate their thinking and practices in relation to institutional, national and international approaches and expectations, and to consider their role in enhancing the academic project.
Higher Education Curricula & Assessment (core module)
Curricula frame the nature and quality of student engagement in higher education. In this module participants' conceptual understanding of orientations to curricul and assessment in higher education will be enhanced as they design, interpret and implement curricula in their various roles. By contextualising constructions of 'the curriculum' and 'knowledge'; macro/ micro and hidden curricula; stakeholders of curricula; and models of curriculum design, participants will be enabled to look at the significance of such structures for development and engagement. Towards this, participants will engage with the central purposes, principles and approaches to the assessment of and for adult learning; referential frameworks for assessment; formative and participatory assessment; and summative assessment and quality moderation.
Evaluation and Research of Higher Education Practice (core module)
Higher education institutions are often beset by policy/research-implementation gaps. To address this, in this module participants engage with concepts, principles and case studies of practices of evaluation in higher education, to guide principled and innovative change in their individual practice and at institutional level. The course content includes contextualising Year 1 is foundational because it introduces concepts and debates central to the contemporary academic project, including the purposes of higher education, knowledge, adult learning and teaching, curriculum, assessment and evaluation.
Year Two is designed to diversify and enhance participants' knowledge of approaches to research in higher education, while deepening their engagement with current discourses and developments in higher education.
Approaches to Researching Higher Education (core module)
Higher Education institutions are increasingly facing pressure for accountability. This module enables participant to develop knowledge of the central methodological orientations characteristic of studies in Higher Education and the skills to provide evidence of claims made; to support informed decision-making; and to elicit insights into the significance of institutional structures and cultures. We envisage accountability not so much as a top-down pressure based on externally determined criteria, but a process for ensuring the value of public investment in higher education and to encourage societal dialogue on the civic role of the sector. Topics build capacity for the research journey, from making principled choices about sources, methods and analytical processes, to the ways in which to initiate research (such as proposals, applications, peer reviews) and to disseminate findings and recommendations (whether for presentation, institutional reports, international publication, or digital communication).
Transforming Higher Education (elective module/ standalone short course from 2020)
This module enables participants to debate their role in transforming higher education, and to consider the role of higher education in transforming society. Engagement with models of higher education, and adult education traditions, will enable participants to focus on navigating the tensions, interests and purposes underpinning transformation in higher education including those of neoliberalism, social justice, internationalisation; civic responsibility and engagement etc. Mapping institutional concerns, through such concepts as structure, culture and agency, the multidisciplinary lenses of our research expertise will enable participants to explore leadership, legacy, identity, representation and change in their own contexts.
Access, Success and Challenge in Higher Education (elective module/ standalone short course from 2020)
Equity in higher education has been approached in divergent ways globally, growing educational development as a field to support 'access' at various levels. This module enables participants to approach this challenge from a meta-level, by stratifying global approaches into 'structural access', 'access and success', and 'access for challenge'. We explore the way 'access' initiatives should not simply be about helping new communities 'fit within' the existing culture of higher education, but how the meaning and practice of that culture should shift and evolve as a consequence of societal dialogue on the social role and purpose of higher education. The module will enable participants to engage with the ways in which individual agency and institutional structures and cultures enable, constrain, safeguard and open access to knowledge for those stakeholders negotiating the public, private and common good of higher education.
Quality for and of Higher Education (elective module/ standalone short course from 2020)
Quality is contested in higher education, as it relates to legitimation, power and risk. However, it holds the lever to drive institutional transformation and reduce risk. This module engages participants in debates as to how quality in higher education is framed and operationalised, by bringing contextual debates into proximity with inter/national, institutional, professional and progressive models of quality assurance, quality management and quality enhancement. Throughout the module, participants will explore the formative and summative purposes of quality, and the tensions they engender when attempting to safeguard, respond and innovate quality within curricula, the educational development of staff and students, and initiatives for inclusion and transformation.
Higher Education in a Digital Age (elective module/ standalone short course from 2020)
Technology has been an integral feature of adult learning, since the invention of paper. The digital age has brought with it added complexity and opportunity for higher education, where an institution's degree of openness shapes its relation to contemporary society. This module provides a focused opportunity to intensely probe the possibilities, problematics and pragmatics of 'the digital' in participants' higher education contexts in this increasingly connected and surveyed global terrain. Participants will develop a principled framework to negotiate the uncertain changing nature of the digital, and will explore the significance for teaching and learning, research, civic engagement and professional advancement.
Participants successfully completing the research module and a choice of two elective modules progress to the final year of MSc, or exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education.
Year Three provides opportunity for participants to demonstrate their mastery of a complex or specialised area of knowledge and of methodological skills when conducting research and/or advanced professional activity.
Towards enhancing participants' expertise, knowledge and experience of conducting research about higher education, this module supports participants as they embark on indepth research projects. Participants' research journey is facilitated every step of the way - through one-to-one supervisory expertise, online tutorials, and peer research groups. Oral, visual, written, and digital presentation skills are developed, culminating in an authentic and relevant product for your professional practice which details the research findings and insights (such as institutional reports, policies, conference presentations, research articles) while being aligned with international professional standards for post-graduate research.
Elective modules can be taken as stand-alone short courses from 2020.
What Else Will You Do?
Shape a better world
The programme aims to strengthen practices, to connect individuals and organisations, and to provide the conditions for the enhancement of higher education in diverse contexts across the globe.
It contributes to United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, by
• Addressing a need for more informed and participatory decision-making in higher education.
• Promoting peace and social justice in transforming communities and organisations through teaching, research and civic engagement in higher education.
Responsive to the changing nature of higher education internationally, the course does not present theories or concepts as canonical. Conditions are provided for participants to become informed, by analysing and reflecting on individual and institutional thinking and practices; interacting with multiple resources;
and developing ways in which to collect and generate data to evaluate the quality of policies and practices, towards enhancing the quality and experience of adult learning and knowledge production in their contexts.