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Title: Higher Distance Education in Brazil: Policies, Practices and Staff Development
Contributor(s): Bossu, Carina  (author); Smyth, Robyn  (supervisor); Maxwell, Thomas W (supervisor); Stein, Sarah (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2009
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Higher education is constantly evolving to meet the needs and changes in society, including Brazilian society, with the main driving forces being student demand, the job market, the adoption of learning technologies, quality assurance frameworks and distance education (DE). To support these changes, academic staff development focused on improvement, is one of the key elements for successful educational change. In Brazil today, DE has been one of the major changes at a higher education level. This dissertation presents an analysis of the relevant international and Brazilian literature with special focus on Brazilian government policies for higher DE. Staff development as well as DE practices, including the responses of the two major higher education sectors in Brazil (the private and federal public) in terms of DE and staff development activities are explored. Within the constructivist paradigm, this work focuses on the way this researcher and participants constructed their realities and the world they live in, considering their personal experiences and beliefs about what was being researched. Methods of data gathering and analysis, essentially qualitative in nature, as well as the processes to establish trustworthiness were also developed based on this set of beliefs. Some of the research findings revealed that policies for DE do not provide a solid framework for practices yet. DE and even the staff development practices to support DE, are heavily based on traditional teacher and/or content-centred approaches to teaching. Furthermore, a lack of sound evaluation in both DE and staff development meant that claims concerning the quality and effectiveness of these practices remain uncertain. Also, knowledge regarding educational change theory is almost non-existent amongst Brazilian policy-makers contributing to, amongst others, increased stakeholder resistance to DE. Recommendations are drawn from educational change theory, which could assist the Brazilian government and institutional bodies in establishing strong foundations for the implementation of DE, potentially leading DE from initiation to the continuation phases of the change process. DE retains enormous potential in Brazil, with the huge opportunities requiring challenges and obstacles to be overcome. This research intends to play a role in helping to identify how the opportunities can be realised and the challenges and barriers overcome.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 160506 Education Policy
130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
130306 Educational Technology and Computing
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 930599 Education and Training Systems Not Elsewhere Classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2009 - Carina Bossu
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Appears in Collections:Thesis Doctoral

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