Transnational Educational Research Experience in TEL Project

By Bhavani Veasuvalingam, Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (NUMed).

Assessing Technologically enhanced learning (TEL) quality is a multifaceted method that, built on theoretical perspectives and on organised data collection, analysis and interpretation, leads to a decision that should promote a better understanding of quality of TEL and the enhancement of its quality (Casanova,2011). The Newcastle University’s education strategy attracts a great emphasis on bringing an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology. In this context, Newcastle University with its existing international branch campuses in Malaysia and Singapore triggers another element adding to TEL study, that is the transnational education.

Transnational education is defined as programmes located in a country other than the awarding institution (McBurnie and Ziguras, 2007, p.21). Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) and Newcastle University Singapore (NUS) are international branch campuses who shares the same technologically enhanced learning tools from its parent institution and qualifications bear the name of the parent institution. Though branch campuses adopt much of its practices from its headquarters, the different location and the cultural differences may provide an added perspective to understanding TEL in higher education, considering globalization impacts every aspect of our lives. Mazzucato believes, local anchoring is crucial to obtain an in-depth knowledge of and this is important for our project TEL to gauge how globalized it has become.

It would be interesting to discover, students and staffs’ criteria for determining TEL use in their teaching and learning. The possible cultural differences between the three countries may impact upon students’ reception of online course component and flexible learning more broadly. Conducting transnational research, challenges the researchers of findings a good sense of balance between depth and breadth (Mazzucato, 2008) of the data. The TEL project is a two-phased study between three campuses that is Newcastle University, Newcastle Singapore and Malaysia. The project titled “an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology: a mixed method exploration of staff and student’s perspective” gained an added value by the very fact that it crossed the borders, the people, ideas and institution.

This transnational research lends itself well for better understanding of the use of TEL in education from different cultural perspectives. Considering the qualitative phase 1 of this study require long term relationship building and we managed this by collaborating with the NUMed research associate who was able to conduct qualitative research and not to have someone to travel from Newcastle to Malaysia to do so and this made the project cost-effective. This also allowed time needed to build up trust with respondents. The sharing of information between researchers allowed to document transnational activities that took place in a culturally relevant context in a broader sense.

Close communication between the team of researchers via regular Zoom (virtual classroom) meetings facilitated decision makings, data sharing and feedback on each other’s work. The transnational research was made possible with joint effort between the two schools (Newcastle and NUMed). Recruitment of samples was made following a poster developed and circulated to both faculties respectively.  Focus group discussion was conducted by the relevant research team for all the campuses and specifically for NUS, NUMed research team facilitated the data collection. One of the research facilities required across campus was the access to NVivo a qualitative data analysis software which was not available at NUMed or NUS. This means the NUMed researcher would not be able to analyze the data obtained, a crucial element of ensuring qualitative rigor strategy. However, this was solved by setting up remote desktop access for NVivo software, and this made the coding and thematic analysis of the data possible for NUMed researcher. Hence, analysis was conducted by both campuses to improve reliability of the data.

The data gained from the project yielded three abstracts for oral presentation accepted for 3Rivers conference, ALT Teaching and Learning conference 2019 and Educity Educators Conference 2019 for dissemination of its findings. Subsequently, manuscripts will be prepared for publication, in relevant journal. Significant barriers and facilitators were identified through this project and serves as guideline to future training and improvement in the TEL use across these campuses.


This study revealed benefits and challenges of using TEL in education from both students and staff’s perspective across three campuses. The data can be used to improve the quality of TEL use in education in a much more globalized manner, which is relevant in this 21st century pedagogical practice. Considering the differences in culture, customs, traditions and social context, between Newcastle University, NUS and NUMed our findings cannot be generalized across all international branch campuses globally.


Casanova, D., Moreira, A., & Costa, N. (2011). Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education: results from the design of a quality evaluation framework. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences29, 893-902.

Mazzucato, V., Cebotari, V., Veale, A., White, A., Grassi, M., & Vivet, J. (2015). International parental migration and the psychological well-being of children in Ghana, Nigeria, and Angola. Social Science & Medicine132, 215-224.

Ziguras, C. (2007). Good practice in Transnational Education–A guide for New Zealand Providers, Prepared for Education New Zealand Trust.

University Education Development Fund

This project ‘ An educational experience supported and enhanced by technology; a mixed-methods exploration of students’ and staff’s perspectives’ was funded by the University Education Development Fund. This fund provides grants to support the development of new approaches to learning and teaching, and to enable their dissemination across the University. Find out more including how to apply on the Learning and Teaching Development Service website.

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