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Short-Term Study Abroad: Enhancing Students’ Motivation for Global Experience
Sayoko Oda, Atsuko K. Yamazaki, Masahiro Inoue
Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan
Engineers today are required to understand and demonstrate skills to work in a culturally diverse environment. Many institutions have begun including global perspective as a part of their education and introduced various types of study abroad programs to improve student’s competencies. There is a significant number of previous studies examined the effect of short-term programs as students who choose those options have been increasing. Most of those assessments are, however, based on comparison of intercultural competency between pre- and post-programs or participants and non-participants.
Authors have conducted multifaceted evaluation for cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary project-based learning short-term courses since 2015, applying assessment tools such as a generic skills test, the CEFR-based engineering communication can-do list, a learning outcomes rubric and questionnaires. Those discussions indicated that the evaluation of short-term programs should also take into consideration analysis of the impact to student’s motivation for another study abroad as a process of educational cycle.
This paper presents a survey that explored how student conceive of a short-term study abroad program and motivate him/herself to gain further global experience through it. The data are based on quantitative and qualitative questionnaire survey with a sample of 79 undergraduate and master students from 17 countries participated in a project-based leaning course titled the Cross-cultural Engineering Project (CEP) held in Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan in December 2019. This 10-day course required the participants to solve contemporary social/industrial problems with their diverse project members. The analysis of the data is based on comparison of students who had previous experience of study abroad with those who participated for the first time. The former accounts for 54.4% (group A), while the latter is 38.0% (group B) of the total respondents. This study also uses the KH Coder, an open source software for qualitative data analysis.
The results demonstrate that (1) prior to attending the CEP, both group A and B had higher motivation in networking with people from other countries, acquiring new knowledge and experiencing other culture, (2) group B also showed notably higher motivation compare to group A in broadening future career opportunities and practicing for long-term study abroad. (3) During the course, group B felt difficulties to understand and accept attitude or behaviour of other cultures, and to communicate in English more than group A. (4) After completion of the course, 83.9% of group B answered the CEP was effective or very effective to motivate themselves to study abroad again, while for those answers of group B was 72.1%, (5) group A mentioned about group, project, program, people and language, while group B referred to the words such as new, friend, experience, skill and culture for what they gained and felt through the course. These findings show that short-term program can enhance student’s motivation for further global experience, in particular for those who joins it as a first step of study abroad. Besides, participant who repeatedly experienced study abroad tends to be able to acclimatize to cross-cultural environment and learn deeper about contents of the program.
Role of Community of Practices to Facilitate Change in STEM Instructional Practices through Faculty Development Programs
KG Reddy College of Engineering and Technology, India
The last decade has seen numerous calls from academicians, government agencies, and policy agents to systematically transform instructional practices in STEM programs. In alignment with these calls, institutions have been organizing numerous faculty development programs with a goal to motivate their faculty and promote large scale reforms in STEM instruction. In spite of many years of efforts by faculty developers and institutions, traditional teaching methods continue to dominate as the primary mode of STEM instruction. The failure in achieving change is often attributed to the lack of support received by faculty post the faculty development program, when they try to implement the learnings and transform their classroom instruction.
In this study, we explore the role of a Community of Practice (CoP) in achieving sustainable change in instructional practice after the completion of the faculty development program in India. A CoP was established at the start of a 6-week faculty development program on technology-enhanced learning to foster a sense of community among the participants. Qualitative data was collected during the 6-week program to analyze the different ways in which the CoP helped the participants to achieve the outcomes of the faculty development program. Results from the thematic data analysis revealed that the members of the CoP helped each other through exchange of ideas, clarification of misconceptions, providing of feedback, and exchange of knowledge. It was observed that participants with varied prior teaching experience supported each other as they designed and developed course websites. After the completion of the 6-week program, the participants continued to meet with other members of the CoP to share the experience of adopting to technology-enhanced learning in their respective courses. The CoP members after the end of the semester started to share their learning to other faculty thereby promoting sustainable instructional change in the institution. At the end of the study, recommendations are provided for faculty developers to incorporate the CoPs during the design of their faculty development programs.