Developing a PG certificate in higher education for teachers at ICEF Moscow
Keywords: teacher education, higher education, distance learning, video conferencing
The International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) is an autonomous department of the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (NRUHSE) in Moscow, Russia that was established in 1997 in collaboration with the London School of Economics. Some lecturers at this college are now given the opportunity to take part, through distance learning, in a Postgraduate Certificate course in higher education offered to new lecturers at the LSE. This project set out to investigate the cultural context of teacher education at the HE level in Moscow, and to determine how best to adapt this course so it becomes culturally sensitive and supportive of lecturers in Moscow who teach on ICEF courses and on some other economics courses delivered through the University of London International Programmes. Pritchard found that students on the postgraduate programme were largely satisfied with the course despite some disappointment with their grades when work was assessed using the same criteria as that of LSE students. They concluded that these partnership arrangements can prove successful provided that the cultural context is taken note of and academic standards maintained.
Several universities in the UK are now beginning to offer postgraduate courses in teaching in higher education to lecturers at partner institutions overseas. The LSE has begun to offer a Postgraduate Certificate course that is provided for their lecturers to those at their partner institution in Moscow, ICEF. Pritchard used one-to-one interviews before and after the course to evaluate the Moscow lecturers’ opinion of it. These interviews, analysis of the content of teaching sessions and the final results were used to form recommendations for how the course could be adapted to fit better with the cultural and educational context of Russian higher education.
When the participating lecturers were interviewed at the beginning of their course they were invariably enthusiastic about it and about developing their teaching practice. This enthusiasm remained throughout the course. However, some lecturers who were initially keen to be assessed using the same criteria as their peers at the LSE changed their
minds when they received poor grades. One reason for this was thought to be the fact that this was some participants’ first experience of “failure”. Despite these concerns, nine of 15 students passed the course at the summer exam board and the remainder are on course to do so in November. There were also concerns about how a course from an overseas institution can be made to fit in with established procedures at the local institution and how best to ensure that student input to courses is appropriate. Widening the findings out more generally, Pritchard concluded that it is essential, when setting up a programme at an overseas partner institution, both to take full note of the cultural context and organisational structure of that institution and to ensure that the academic standards associated with the home institution are maintained.
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