Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 10, No. 1 (2014)

Does mass-franchising of university programs interfere with achieving higher education expectations?

Samanthala J Hettihewa, University of Ballarat
Christopher S. Wright, Burgundy School of Business

Abstract

While partner providers have enabled developed country universities to greatly leverage the returns to their programs, in any franchised system, quality can be a fundamental risk. Thus it is important to examine whether a heavily franchised university program is able to provide expected education outcomes. There is a growing public concern that such leverage may inhibit academic excellence. In this study, we review this issue with a mixed-methods approach that examines and contrasts student perceptions of their a priori expectations of their higher-education studies in Australia with their perceptions of the processes and quality of the education they have and are actually receiving. This study shows that, among other things, students: a) desire a high-quality education, provided by experts who can guide them in challenging subjects with a minimum amount effort by the student; b) were generally satisfied with their education, but that c) many were having difficulty adjusting to academia and/or (for foreign students) to Australia. It is suggested that higher education institutions extend their performance reviews from the teacher-student nexus to include other areas and services which can help their students adjust to changing circumstances.

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