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Understanding different perspectives of postgraduate education in the international arena

This project was set up to investigate the short term opportunities in international markets (focus on Portugal and Brazil) for the OU’s postgraduate offerings in ICT & Computing (with a focus on software engineering). It aimed at finding out the the gaps in traditional postgraduate provision (in countries like Portugal and Brazil) that could present an opportunity for the OU.

It became soon evident that:

  1. there was a very strong interest in distance education in Brazil, not in Portugal;
  2. there was a strong need of professional development and professional masters in IT & Computing in Brazil, not in Portugal;
  3. there was a debate on these issues in Brazil, not in Portugal; and,
  4. the Brazilian government was investing in international collaborations, not Portugal.

Therefore the focus of the project became postgraduate education at a distance in Brazil, more specifically in the area of ICT & Computing.

It also became clear from early on that countries like Brazil are not open to just buying whatever offerings the OU may have. They are, instead, interested in ongoing collaborations, in learning from the experience the OU can offer in distance education, in adapting this experience to the local situation, and in developing their own resources.

The main outcomes from this project are:

  1. a clear understanding of the situation of higher education in Brazil, in particular at postgraduate level;
  2. an appreciation of the needs for postgraduate education in Brazil, in terms of distance and open education for professional development in ICT & Computing;
  3. an understanding that the opportunities for the OU in this context are for continued collaboration and share of experience and expertise in distance education, and not for direct sale of courses;
  4. a contribution from the OU experience to an ongoing debate in Brazil about the future of both postgraduate and distance education;
  5. a presence of the OU in this scenario in terms of an established partnership and contribution to future developments.

This research was triggered by the visit of a Brazilian colleague to the OU for the period of 2/2011 to 2/2012. Prof. Itana Gimenes is a professor in Software Engineering interested in models for postgraduate education at a distance that are applicable to the demands of the Brazilian context.

Related Resources: 
PDF icon L Barroca and I Gimenes IGI Chapter.pdf333.71 KB

Book chapter.

PDF icon Barbosa, Gimenes and Barroca, Towards the development, SBES.pdf97.5 KB

Conference paper.

PDF icon Gimenes, Barroca, Barbosa, The future of human resource, SBES.pdf192.77 KB

Conference paper.

PDF icon Leonor Barroca and Itana Gimenes poster.pdf81.12 KB

Project poster.