The World As Classroom: International Development Education
Contemporary best practice in human and social development typically highlights the importance of self-emancipation: bottom-up development, participatory action, and local knowledge. Yet most development education remains trapped within the walls of powerful and exclusive universities that promote top down views of the academic process as intellectual gate-keeping and protecting the myth of standards. Despite recent moves by many such universities to capture “emerging educational markets” by expanding international advertising, increasing “places”, or lowering admissions standards, this exclusive vision of the role of the university in human and social development, continues to dominate approaches to admissions, teaching and learning, project development and collaborations between development researchers and practitioners.
Drawing on three years of global online teaching, learning, and development practice in the Melbourne University Private School of International Development, this paper discusses some of the successes, failures, and future challenges facing non-residential, non-traditionally selected, and multi-lingual academics, administrators, International Development practitioners, and students involved in attempting to create a more democratic and global synthesis of development and education. The paper will attempt to address questions of access, social capital, participation, cultural identity and the relationship between theory and practice that emerge from attempts to link students, practitioners, and academics in the field, who might not otherwise have the time, money or inclination to separate themselves from their work, social and political commitments, and families to attend distant first world university.
Keywords: Distance Education, International Development, Doctorate, Masters, Graduate, Degree
Dr. Anthony Marcus
Lecturer/Head of School, School of International Development, Melbourne University Private
Anthony has done research and consulting in Latin America, East Africa, the Caribbean, the United States and the Middle East. He has worked as an applied anthropologist on several multi-year capacity building projects and done research into illicit drug marketing and use and harm minimisation strategies in Mexico and the United States. He publishes regularly on project assessment and research methodology and coordinates a post-graduate seminar in Gender Issues in Development at the University of Melbourne, every second semester. He has edited many volumes on history and anthropology, and has developed and published university level teaching instruments through Brandywine Press and Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. He recently finished a monograph entitled Where Have all the Homeless Gone: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis, which should be appearing in 2005 as part of the Berghan Press series entitled “The Anthropology of Place, Displacement and Labour”.