Karen Commons and Xiaodan Gao
Abstract: Research on the experiences of international students and their adaptation to the education environment in NZ has revealed some dissatisfaction relating to the academic experience of international students in NZ. It has been suggested that the discrepancy between international students’ expectations and reality may sometimes contribute to negative views and difficulties with study. Student Learning Support Service at Victoria University of Wellington has designed and trialled a number of academic orientation programmes and materials for international students, in an attempt to ease the transition, raise awareness of possible challenges students may face in a NZ tertiary environment, and ultimately create a more positive and rewarding academic experience.
This paper reports on a preliminary evaluation of the influence of our academic orientation programmes on international students’ attitudes and study behaviours. Students who attended the July 2004 orientation, as well as those who did not, were invited to participate in a two-stage research programme. They were interviewed at the beginning of the trimester, and at mid-trimester they responded to a questionnaire. We found that students who had attended our academic orientation programmes tended to demonstrate more detailed awareness of the main skills required in their new education environment. They also tended to apply a wider range of study strategies. We tentatively conclude that academic orientation programmes do make a difference.
Key words: student adaptation, orientation programs, study behaviours, study strategies, transition
J. Kapnoullas, N Love, J Reidy
Abstract: Many people involved in Higher Education in Australia are currently discussing the many issues related to the quality of the large and complex field known as ‘international education’. This is not surprising, given that in 2003, a total of 136, 807 international students were studying onshore in Australia with another 73, 590 students enrolled offshore (Morris, 2004). Of particular importance to the students and their families, as well as to Australian academic and support staff, are the students’ perceptions of the quality of the teaching and learning experiences provided for them in Australian universities. In the project described in this paper – the QUEST Project – the research on the approaches to learning of both local and international students detailed by such writers as Ramburuth (2000) has been given a curriculum focus as the issues surfaced by students are translated into teaching and learning strategies.
The paper describes the ways in which focus groups were used to gather undergraduate students’ perceptions of their Semester 1 experiences of learning at an Australian university. An overview of the ways in which staff members have worked together in a collaborative model to make adjustments to the program in order to address the issues raised by the students has also been provided.
Key words: QUEST, teaching and learning, curriculum, student perceptions, first year experiences
Download article - abstract only
Jo Byng and Anna Rees
Abstract: In response to the Educational Services Overseas Student (ESOS) Act 2000, Macquarie International undertook the task of implementing an academic performance monitoring project to assist those students who were not progressing satisfactorily and to help students at risk resolve problems which could impede successful completion of their study. International students studying on a student visa must achieve an academic result that is certified by the education provider to be at least “satisfactory” for each semester.
What Defines Satisfactory Progress?
A 50% pass rate has been used as a default minimum by Macquarie International in the absence of any comprehensive progression measure or requirements at Macquarie University.
Relevant ESOS Requirements
The education provider must keep a record of each student's academic performance for each requirement of the course for which the student is enrolled. Procedures must be in place for advising DIMA of a student's failure to meet their visa conditions relating to attendance or academic performance under the Migration Act 1958, and for notifying the student of their non-compliance. This session will outline the statistical and anecdotal results as well as related outcomes of the interviews that were conducted with international students as a part of the academic monitoring project in 2003.
Key words: Academic progress, ESOS, academic performance, monitoring, course progress
Mark Dougherty, Yella Siril
Abstract: In 2001 Högskolan Dalarna launched a masters programme in computer science. This programme has attracted a large number of applications from international students. This has yielded many exciting opportunities, but also given rise to some problems, both practical and academic. A key element of the success in solving some of these problems has been to make the programme highly modular in structure, allowing two intakes per year. This has been the key to developing a peer group support system that is much appreciated by the students.
Keyword: Peer support, international students, independent semesters, staggered intake