Articulation of Chinese students into an Australian engineering degree
Context: Recently, there has been an increase in the number of Chinese students articulating into the third year of an engineering degree course at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). UTAS lecturers occasionally deliver relevant engineering units during two to four weeks at their home universities. Additionally, before enrolling in the engineering degree at UTAS, some of these students either spend three to five months engaging in theoretical and practical sessions in English at UTAS English Language Centre or participate in an Academic Skills Program in their home university. But despite these experiences, when the Chinese students articulate into the Australian engineering degree they encounter many challenges, such as cultural differences, social issues, poor communication with staff and students, different learning and teaching styles, and high failure rates.
Purpose:E This paper discusses the intervention strategies of a support framework that was implemented to support newly arrived students from China enrolled in the Bachelor of Engineering degree (Honours) at the University of Tasmania. The impact of these strategies on the academic achievement of the students was closely examined at the end of their first semester. A comparison was made with the results of earlier cohorts of students who were not afforded the same level of support after articulation.
Approach: Intervention strategies included reducing the cultural divide between domestic and international students; informing students of expectations; enhancing communication; providing instruction on the use of the in-line learning and teaching facility; a mid semester review of progress, and engaging Chinese-speaking tutors for special additional tutorial support throughout the semester. The performance of the Chinese students in their first semester at UTAS was evaluated through feedback from tutors and lecturers and a statistical analysis of students' results at the end of their first semester.
Results: The recipients of the intervention strategies performed significantly better in their first semester than the earlier cohorts.
Conclusions: The significant improvement supports the proposition that the strategies in the support framework addressed the cultural and pedagogical factors leading to the high failure rate of the previous cohort.
Publication titleProceedings of the 29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference (AAEE 2018)
Department/SchoolSchool of Engineering
Place of publicationNew Zealand
Event title29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference (AAEE 2018)
Event VenueHamilton, New Zealand
Date of Event (Start Date)2018-12-09
Date of Event (End Date)2018-12-12
Rights statementCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.