Hello everybody, my name is Sheila and I am an Academic Assistant for the Business & Management department. Welcome to our presentation on International Students’ Learning Journey. Before we start the presentation I would like to introduce you to the rest of the presenting team, Salma (Academic Assistant for Business and Management Department), Bob (Programmes co-ordinator for Pre Sessionals) and Luciano ( Senior Lecturer for the Learner Development Unit).
Our aim for this presentation is to discuss how the different areas work together to provide a valuable learning experience for students with the BA International Business Administration Programme. Going forward, I will refer to the programme as BA IBA. I will start off by introducing you to the characteristics of the BA IBA programme, the teaching team and support staff and will then go through the journey of students on this programme. Luciano from the LDU will discuss the academic writing and language provisions embedded on this programme followed by Bob who will further discuss the pre-sessional programme. Salma will talk about the importance and benefits of this collaboration . Finally, I will conclude this presentation.
The BA IBA is a third year direct entry programme consisting of around 250 students during the October start cohort and around 100 students during the January start cohort. This programme attracts a diverse student group including students from: (read list) to name but a few. Workshops delivered by the Learner Development Unit and the Learning Resources are embedded in a core module of the programme which is Global Business Strategy. The workshops take place right after the Global Business Strategy seminars and there are 14 sessions in total between the Learner Development Unit and Learning Resources.
Just to clarify the Pre-Sessional is not attached to the BAIBA programme. They teach students who require additional English support prior to commencing their course. Once the course begins students are first met by their programme leader and Student Achievement Advisor and are in contact with them throughout the programme. Finally, one of the core modules of the programme, Global Business Strategy consists of a module leader and seminar tutors who deliver lectures and seminars. Academic assistants that is Salma and Myself support students with study skills for this module and workshop tutors who are from the LDU and LR, deliver workshops based on academic and Language support
Students are enrolled on to the programme with a HND or equivalent qualification from the UK or overseas. Before the start of the programme, some students are required to enrol on to the Pre Sessional programme which has courses ranging from 4, 8 and 12 weeks. The programme starts with an Induction, headed by the programme leader informing students about the programme. Once teaching commences, the workshops start in learning week 3, giving students time to settle in. Once all teaching has been completed and all assessments have been graded, students then go on to graduate. Some students may go on to post graduate studies either here at Middlesex University or else where. Now Salma will highlight the importance of this collaboration.
As Sheila mentioned we work with different units to support and enhance the experience of students while studying here. Although some of the units form a part of the programme, we also benefit from the works of units such as the pre-sessional unit that is distinct from the programme as they are able to lay a foundation of what students should expect at later stages of the programme. On an interesting dimension, we see that there is research backing this collaborative way of working as being effective as students can sometimes struggle to make the links between disparate theories and concepts they encounter. We have used Biggs structure of the observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy where it is suggested that students learning can be observed in different stages.
I put up this slide give a visual representation of how we have improved our practice . This is an excerpt of the attendance sheet for a cohort . As you can see it is designed to reflect the average attendance of students over 24 weeks. By colour coding the attendance average, we are able to immediately identify students whose attendance has fallen and inform the student achievement adviser of this for further action. Before students come to see us regarding concepts they do not understand, we use this to see if the student missed the seminar when this concept was discussed in class and that way we also know what level to pitch our assistance at.
From one-to-one meetings and focus group sessions held with students, we have been able to identify the following as being direct results of our inter-functional collaboration. A substantial number of students have seen their performance improve across a range of module assessments. As one student mentioned, she did not feel the need to always come to see either the academic assistants or other members of the teaching team after her second round of assessments because she had started to see how writing and reading skills used on one module assessment could be transferred to another module assessment. Another benefit that students have gained is the confidence they feel with their newly acquired skills in conducting academic research, their language skills and their ability to initiate relationships with people from a diverse background. A common type of assessment shared by most modules on the programme is the delivery of oral presentations to the entire class. This way students learn as much from themselves as from the teaching team of what skills they need in order to speak confidently. We have account of students who have gone on to secure very good jobs and feel they really stood out because of the skills they gained on the programme. One student sent an e-mail to a member of the programme to say he had secured a job in the biggest estate corporation in China. He asked that his story be used to encourage international students that if he could do it, so could they. Another student represented Middlesex at the 15 th World Business Dialogue held in Cologne Germany this year. His selection was on account of his outstanding CV for which he received the support of the team while writing it.
Students on the programme have also mentioned an increased awareness of the UK higher education system and the expectations that come with it. An area that stands out for students on the programme especially international students is the notion of academic integrity. This is a point that is continuously reinforced throughout the programme. Moving on to softer and social benefits, students enjoy the fact that there are various national cultures represented on the programme. A core module on the programme is based on cultural management and as one student put it “no text book could have prepared him for the variety of the cultures he has interacted with on this programme”. And not to mention the new friendships that are forged on the programme.
The good news is that its not just the students who forge relationships but we the members of the teaching team also benefit from working closely with colleagues in other areas. We have a better knowledge and appreciation for what each area is involved in. For the teaching team, we are able to avoid blind spots in our practice. By this, I refer to what researchers such as Therese Huston define as the tendency for teachers to assume that students understand certain concepts because of how easy the teachers perceive them to be. With the level of interaction among the team, we are able to avoid this as we constantly review students experiences on the programme. The next point feels like a naturally occurring result of working collaboratively. We held a focus group at the end of the first year and most of the information we gathered was used to change assessments, remodel the teaching framework and reflect on what how to improve our overall practice. A module leader who had to teach about the thin lines between bribery and gift giving mentioned that one of his tasks before this lecture was to draw up a list of words used in different countries for bribery and to ask students to find the meaning of these words with at least one personal story. According to him, students came back excited and were more than happy to contribute to the class discussions.
For the university we have a pool of students who may be interested in pursuing post-graduate degrees with the university. If what Marketing gurus say is true, then this will save the university’s resources that would have otherwise been used to attract new students. On another dimension, the experience these student have had with the university will be shared with other potential students. Importantly, the work we all do reinforces the university's mission of equipping our culturally and internationally diverse students with the skills they need for work and life.
To conclude, the excellent collaboration between the different areas of Middlesex University has enabled us to improve our own job satisfaction, build closer links with each other and get a better understanding of the role we each play to provide an excellent learning experience for our students on the BA International Business Administration programme. Thank you for attending our presentation. We welcome your questions.
International Students Learning Journey Sheila Karsan Salma Ibrahim Bob Fisher Luciano Celini
Introduction• Characteristics of the programme (BA IBA)• Teaching team and support staff• Journey of the student• Importance of collaboration• Pre-sessional• Learner Development Unit• Benefits of the collaboration• Conclusion
Characteristics of the programme (BA IBA)• BA International Business Administration - Third year direct entry students• Diverse student group: - Africa (South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya) - Asia (China, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam) - Europe (United Kingdom, France, Cyprus and Lithuania) - Other (Guyana, Colombia and the United Arab Emirates)• LDU/ LR workshops attached to core module: MGT3201 Global Business Strategy
Teaching team and support staffBefore course: - Pre-Sessional (Not part of BA IBA programme)BA IBA Programme• Programme Leader• Student Achievement AdvisorMGT3201• Module Leader/ Tutors• Academic Assistants• Workshop Lecturers: Learner Development Unit and Learning Resources
Importance of Collaboration• Different areas contributing to deliver a comprehensive learning package to students• Theoretical underpinning as evidenced by Biggs SOLO Taxonomy• Win-win for all involved
What do we do?• Prepare overseas students for challenges of studying a degree programme at Middlesex- Pre-EAP Course (English for Academic Purposes)- EAP Course- BALEAP accredited (British Association of Lecturers in EAP)
Middlesex University Pre-sessional Courses course content Develop & Improve Academic Literacy & Study Skills: • essays, reports, reflective writingAcademic WritingReading • reading strategies for academic texts, note- taking, paraphrasing, summarising, referencing conventionsResearch skills • searching & evaluating sources; group work; qualitative & quantitative research methodsListening • to lecturesSpeaking • presentations & seminars
Middlesex University Pre-sessional Courses course content Assessment- Portfolio of Essays (3 essays based on concepts in course reader; each essay revised & improved)- Final Exam (90-minute Reading to Writing exam- Project Report (based on input & research conducted by SS in project class)- Presentation (based on your experience of working on the group project)- Listening Exam (based on an authentic academic lecture)
Student NumbersPre-sessional Students (UG & PG) – Summer 2011
MGT3201 Assessments• Question of the Week Presentations - Four oral presentations (learning week 3-20)• Online Multiple Choice Test - Two one-hour in class tests (Learning week 6-16)• Group Report - 5000 word group report (Learning week 18)• Viva - Individual viva based on group report (Learning week 21-24)
Our Work on BAIBA – What• Weekly embedded programme-specific 1.5-hour AWL classes • 9-11 LDU classes • 5 LR classes • tailored specifically for BAIBA assignments• Programme-specific one-to-one AWL tutorials • aimed at programme assessments• Programme-specific group AWL tutorials • e.g. “Practise your Presentation”• Optional additional AWL Workshops• Optional additional one-to-one AWL tutorials• Academic, social / cultural & pastoral care
Our Work on BAIBA – Who• AWL Lecturers • Programme-specific AWL Workshops • Programme-specific One-to-one AWL Tutorials • Programme-specific group AWL Tutorials • Optional additional AWL Workshops / Tutorials • Academic & language teaching / help• Academic Assistants • Programme-specific drop-in appointments • Present in every programme-specific AWL / LR Workshop • Academic assistance; language help; social; pastoral• Student Learning Assistants • Academic assistance; language; social; pastoral
Benefit to Students• Improved performance and achievement in assessments• Confidence boost• Language skills• Employability skills
Benefit to Students...• Awareness of UK Higher Education System and expectation on the programme• Cultural exposure• Developing friendships
Benefit to Teaching Team• Increased interaction and collaboration with staff from different areas• Avoiding blind spots• Continuous improvement• Job satisfaction
Benefit to the University• Potential pool of students for post- graduate courses• Word-of-mouth references• Reinforce university’s mission
ConclusionExcellent collaboration has allowed us to: - Job satisfaction - Build closer links with each other - Better understanding of the parts we each play Excellent learning experience for our students