Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Intentionally (or not) ignored: Engaging transnational students in surveys and feedback

Mahsood Shah, RMIT University
Chenicheri Sid Nair, University of Western Australia
Barbara de la Harpe, RMIT University


The student voice has gained significant prominence in recent years. In Australia, the renewal of quality assurance processes, together with government policies places increased emphasis on institutions having robust and systematic approaches to student feedback and evaluation that informs the ongoing enhancement of the student experience. Historically, universities have been increasingly becoming more active in the collection, analysis and reporting of local/onshore student feedback at university, course/program, unit/subject and individual teacher levels. There appears, however, to be limited attempts made by universities to embed transnational student feedback systematically into institutional stakeholder feedback frameworks. This is despite transnational education contributing significantly to Australian exports. While some universities have been successful in measuring and enhancing the transnational student experience – progress across the sector is limited. This paper aims to encourage discussion in the higher education sector about the need to embed feedback from transnational students as part of normal practice. We argue that if governments and universities see transnational higher education as an important engagement activity that generates significant income, diversifies the student profile and promotes Australian tertiary education, then feedback from students, regardless of location, is an important and sustainable part of an institution’s quality assurance framework and is best practice.

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