Janine Campbell, EdD candidate
When seeking a person to profile about distance learning, Otago Post got this tip: “Janine Campbell would be great. She's doing her Doctor of Education (EdD.) with Otago, is based in Chile, and completed her Masters' at Harvard…”.
An adventurous Kiwi who moved to South America with her husband and two children in 2000, Janine, a former Academic Director of a private school in Puerto Varas, Chilea, is no stranger to distance learning. She gained acceptance into Harvard University, Boston, in 2015 without an undergraduate degree, but had amassed a series of education-focussed diplomas and certificates, completed via distance studies at universities, and one polytechnic, in New Zealand, the USA, UK and Chile.
"I'd completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Otago in 2013-2015, [so I knew] the University of Otago and its College of Education provided excellent and flexible options for distance learning."
Janine's Harvard Masters' focussed on International Education Policy and included research on international models of parental choice in education and policies that support teaching as a profession.
Janine says, “I chose to do my EdD because after my Masters I was left with unanswered questions that required ongoing and innovative research to answer. I'd completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Otago in 2013-2015, [so I knew] the University of Otago and its College of Education provided excellent and flexible options for distance learning.
Education policy transfer requires critical thinking
“My research focus is on the teaching profession and the often-overlooked cultural complexity of transferring teaching policies between countries. This policy transfer is generally the result of policy recommendations based on international assessments such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).”
Janine explains, “From a personal and professional perspective, this study is rooted in my concern about the uncritical adoption of international policy recommendations for the teaching profession. My motivation lies specifically in supporting decision makers in Chile to make contextually critical decisions that support the teaching profession over the next six years, a time during which a new national policy on the profession of teaching is rolled out and its initial impact is evaluated.”
Distance learning a challenge and a joy
Despite being an experienced distance learner, Janine says working towards her EdD is still “a bit of an emotional rollercoaster”.
“The best thing about distance learning from Otago, is that it permits me to live on the other side of the world, study in English, and interact with a diverse cohort of peers. My colleagues are from NZ, Denmark, Malaysia, Scotland and England, and work in NZ, Chile, Singapore and China.
“The biggest challenge is intrinsic motivation. I am either racing ahead and bursting with motivation, or have ground to a complete standstill… Overall it results in steady progress. [My supervisors] have been very supportive and encouraging about my research ideas, and quick to respond to any doubts I have."
Janine's daughter is in the final stages of her Masters in Economics at Otago, so Janine was happy to attend the EdD course's two compulsory residential schools in Dunedin city.
“I love Dunedin, and choose to stay out at beautiful St Clair beach whenever possible. A highlight was this year's snow. Although I live in the south of Chile, we don't often get snow (except on the Andes), and July's snow was (almost) a throwback to living in Boston.”