RMIT Vietnam Program Development Fund 2012

Summary of projects

Project title

“Localisation” of the Master of Project Management Course Content through Industry Based Multimedia Scenarios

Project leader

Professor Kerry London

Project team

  • Dr Tayyab Maqsood
  • Ms Dallas Wingrove
  • Ms Melina Silva
  • Mr Peng Zhang
  • Ms Jessica Siva

Project summary

The project contributes to the achievement of the RMIT University 2011-15 Strategic Plan by growing, diversifying and achieving excellence in off-shore education in an identified high impact area. The project enabled the production of high quality curriculum which is internationally relevant and which uses approaches that are responsive to students’ learning. The link to the RMIT Vietnam Business Plan is through the goal of ‘Connected through active partnerships with professions, industries and organisations to support the quality, reach and impact of our education and research’ which has as an initiative for 2012 – Launch the Master of Project Management [on the Vietnam Campus].

The program is in start-up mode and was approved for delivery from Semester 2, 2012. Within the pedagogical framework of internationalisation of curriculum we developed courseware with appropriate customisation and localisation for the Vietnam offering to enable the program to be relevant to the student cohort. The project also contributes to continuing professional development of staff in developing materials for blended delivery. The videos were completed and shall be incorporated into the courses delivered in semester 2 2013.

Our aim with the videos was to increase local content and the key strategy for achieving this was to identify and engage local practitioners to be interviewed. The philosophy underpinning this approach was that the narrative of the local context of the project management discipline could be explored through the voice of the local practitioners and not through our interpretation. There were three videos made which were approximately 8-10 minutes in length including:

2 for the Research Methods course

  • Title: Introducing Research
  • Title: Research problems in everyday project management practice

1 for the Risk Management course

  • Title: Risk Management

We filmed on location at the Vietnam campus. We also filmed on location at the practitioners’ premises. The videos are aimed at presenting material that will engage the students in the course prior to the Intensive Workshops that are delivered face-to-face. The videos are intended to be catalysts for further student inquiry including; reading lecture notes and journal papers and book chapters etc and also observation and self-reflection of industry practices, in preparation prior to the Intensives.

The videos provide information about the challenges practitioners in project management in Vietnam face thus presenting case study material for research projects courses and the risk management course. The material presented provides thought provoking triggers for the students to identify problems or challenges within their own organisations that could be transformed into research projects that would be imagined, created and drafted in the research methods course initially and then implemented in the research thesis dissertation courses Project Investigation 1 and 2. There is also opportunity to reuse the videos again in the Project Investigation 1 and 2 courses even though the videos are intended primarily for the Research Methods course. The students will be able to continue to re-examine and interrogate and debate issues arising from the explanations about local practice and context.

Specific content material about risk management was also provided by the practitioners unique to the local industry and these are in some cases similar to the generic project management problems described for the research course video. Importantly these experiences and challenges are different from those faced by practitioners in Melbourne and thus the material and the industry context for student learning in the Melbourne cohort differs.

It was important that high quality videos were produced to engage, excite and inspire the students who are all discerning practitioners with high expectations regarding professionally presented materials. It was important for content, visual material and the deliverer to be ’localised’ as much as possible.

Academics are by their very nature culturally bounded by their own disciplines. Having been socialised into their own disciplines academics develop a sense of identity and shared values and associated thinking around “ways of doing things”. Within the project management discipline accreditation undertaken by an external body.is an important part of the culture and maintenance of standards and this is often a shared characteristic of professional disciplines, is Project management can be accredited by national or international accrediting bodies. Universities have other obligations in relation to curriculum design as well as the training and education and the need to meet requirements of the practising professional’s industry association. The responsibility in relation to internationalisation of curriculum is primarily aligned with local, national and global citizenship. In our videos we pay particular attention to weaving the international professional body and the generic considerations in a global community of ‘project managers’ as well as the unique conditions that arise from the specific local professional demands. In some cases these discussion points were brought out and are of a political, economic and cultural nature. We also were able to provide a platform for the nature of the different types of projects that are managed in Vietnam to be exposed and celebrated and the inter-connectivity and interdependence of projects and their project managers to the Asian economy and thus the influence of regional differences were explained. These were subtle yet important outcomes of our project.

This project is only a first step in our internationalisation of curriculum strategy and there is still more reflection, negotiation, imagining, reviewing and actioning to be undertaken by the academic team. We shall be considering student evaluation and also preparing academic peer-reviewed papers and this will take our team’s thinking to a deeper level of engagement with the topic of internationalisation of curriculum.

We have compiled some practical lessons learned for academics who are intending on developing high quality video material. We engaged a professional video consultant company and the funds were well spent. The advice, professionalism and attention to detail was exemplary. Our students are professionals and are generally middle managers, experienced project managers or at times senior executives who have high standards and expectations. Therefore the presentation of professional high quality materials to support the course is for our purposes in this particular instance rather than ‘home-grown’ ‘grass roots’ style videos. Project management as a discipline is typically characterised by professionals who are articulate, evaluative, well presented, creative yet focussed on detail. Their standards in all facets of their professional lives are typically oriented to client/customer satisfaction and so are particular about presentation of themselves, their material and their ‘story’ – they are as a discipline typically focussed on persuasion, negotiation and action.

This Manual provides succinct practical lessons learned as well as examples of documents that we developed during the project. These documents were useful to our team and should be of assistance to anyone designing and producing high quality video materials. Some key pedagogical lessons learned are also included, however, our future papers will present a more comprehensive discussion on the pedagogical lessons learned and the development of a conceptual framework grounded in our reflective action research project.

Outcomes

  • Three interviews with Vietnam local project managers were conducted. The impact of this is twofold – the immediate localisation of content and the engagement with practitioners into the delivery of the courses. By explaining the purpose of the videos we are also at the same time engaging the local practitioners in our program and developing relationships with industry for future interaction. The production of the videos with the local practitioners allowed us to explain and describe our program and the courses. It also allowed us to gain valuable insights into the challenges of the industry.
  • Three videos were designed and produced for the program of Master of Project Management and included filming of onsite Project Managers in Vietnam as well as filming of one of the Course Coordinators onsite and one in Melbourne.
  • Transnational Professional Development Manual: Lessons Learned through Internationalisation of the curriculum has been developed and will provide a resource for staff in the School as well as any other staff interested in developing high quality videos
  • Academic Papers are currently being drafted and will be presented at the national construction management conference (AUBEA) in 2014 and the international CIB Education Working Commission :
    • 2014 Australian University Building Education Association annual conference. Challenges of Internationalisation of curriculum: a case study at RMIT (London, Maqsood, Zhang, Siva, Wingrove,)
    • 2014 International Construction and Innovation Council Working Commission. “Localisation” of a postgraduate coursework program through Industry Based Multimedia Scenarios (London, Zhang, Siva, Maqsood, Wingrove, )

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