Big Data and Transnational Education Background


Big data is ubiquitous and there is a global shortage of data scientists, data managers/leaders, and those with the skills to support or extract information from data. One method of ameliorating this situation could by developing TNEs in Big Data and Data Analytics. However, this is more than taking a campus based course and delivering it in another country. The opportunities and issues of developing TNEs are many.

Transnational Education can be viewed as a global market of borderless education and whilst it is of major interest to educational institutions in providing campus based courses, it is also the domain of many corporate education programmes provided by multi-national companies. Transnational education includes all types of higher education programmes where learners (university students and experienced practitioners) are located in a different country from the awarding institution. TNEs are an extremely important pathway for international students to access undergraduate level of study and where postgraduate level study may be non-existed or limited, in addition to providing working professionals with introductory and advanced data science/management education.

The Council of Europe/UNESCO working group on TNE recognised many reasons why there is a need for TNEs:

  • National system does not offer a programme
  • National system is elite and lots of qualified applicants remain outside
  • National system does not provide opportunities for learning in parallel to work
  • National system does not provide HE in minority languages
  • National system is too expensive
  • National system restricts women’s access in some way

TNE programmes are not just as simple as sharing materials across borders and many global models of TNE exists. Whilst much is written about the value of the TNE market to educational establishments, creating or converting a campus based course needs to take into consideration the method of delivery. Currently many TNEs are delivered by distance learning with students studying online and in isolation in comparison with campus based course. The majority of global TNEs are at the undergraduate level. Others provide face-to-face programs as well as study abroad programs.

TNEs are not only provided by educational establishments. There has been a growth of corporate education provision by multi-national companies. In addition, many higher educational programmes also incorporate multi-national corporate education training programmes into their academic modules. The extent that TNE is taken into account by corporate educational provision is an area of interest as the internet enables borderless access of such courses and materials.

There are many issues in creating, delivering and assessing TNEs. Whilst there is much written about the value of TNEs to campus based organisations there is still no global or regional framework for the creation of TNEs which enables sharing of standards, quality assurance benchmarking or cross-border accrediting professional bodies. There are still many questions to answer such as:

  • What should be taken into account when creating a TNE?
  • How can a campus based programmer be converted into a TNE?
  • What support exists for the development of TNEs?
  • What support is required for TNE delivery for students and tutors?
  • What examples of best practice exists?
  • What support from multi-nationals exists to take their corporate educate programmes into TNEs?

Standards for programs preparing Data Scientists and Data Managers/Executives have yet to be endorsed by any sanctioning authority. One of the important objectives for BDA EdCon is to communicate the importance of these programs as well as define and communicate best practices for these initiatives. This is being done by a group of leading data academics in concert with leading vendors.

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