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Widening the Graduate Attribute Debate: a Higher Education for Global Citizenship

There is more to life than simply doing a job. The graduates of our higher education system will be more than employees/employers, they will also be future leaders in our world and our neighbours and so affect our lives at all levels. What do we want these people to be like? This paper considers the idea of educating global citizens and offers suggestions for possible graduate attributes, such as being responsible, capable, compassionate, self-aware, ecoliterate, cosmopolitan and employed. It also asks if graduate attributes referring to ‘good citizens’ and ‘ethics’ are all culturally bound and thereby impositional.

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Posted in Academic Paper

Teaching Reflective Skills and PDP to International Students: How effective is the use of PebblePad?

The aim of this paper is to discuss a pilot study designed to enhance international postgraduate students’ reflective skills in their Personal Development Planning (PDP) as part of their master’s course. A cohort of students in a special module used an e-portfolio, PebblePad, to create an action plan and a webfolio as reflective assessments that recorded their learning achievements and career aspirations. The paper discusses some of the issues related to teaching PDP to international students, the author’s initial perceptions on the benefits of using PebblePad and examples from the anonymous feedback from students collected at the end of the module.

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Student learning technology use: preferences for study and contact

This paper reports some of the results from a mixed-method research project to evaluate learners’ experiences of e-learning at Oxford Brookes University. Here we present the analysis of responses to a survey completed by 1,180 full-time undergraduate students. The survey aimed to elicit patterns and preferences in technology use by this group. It was found that students prefer to study at home, many using their own laptops to get online. Once online, students most frequently engaged in activities related to accessing and reading online learning materials. Students used a wide variety of communication tools to contact friends and peers but a narrower range to contact tutors, with a preference for e-mail. The implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the provision of learning spaces and technology on campus and the impact of institutions and courses in influencing how and where undergraduates study.

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Posted in Research Notes

Evaluating Systematic Transition to Higher Education

This research note outlines progress made on a twelve-month Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded e-learning research project. The focus of the project is on evaluating systematic transition to Higher Education. Pre-entry work has been undertaken at both Bournemouth and Bradford Universities in order to better understand the student experience and provide appropriate support measures to enhance initial transition into University. Our work has been beneficial in providing insights into the student experience of transition by providing rich data for analysis of the student experience of e-learning (during transition and induction in particular) and on how students feel about starting University, and their initial support needs. This paper discusses our project aims, methods and preliminary findings in order to understand more about student needs and what student hopes and concerns are when thinking about arriving at University.

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Voices from the Multicultural Language Class: Discovering Language, Culture, Others and Self

The multicultural language-learning classroom, with its wide range of mother tongues, cultural backgrounds, motivations, expectations, prior knowledge, learning styles, attitudes to participation and learner autonomy, potentially offers an ideal forum for promoting internationalisation. This article reviews the scope for interaction, and the nature of interaction, in multilingual language-learning classrooms. It explores the extent to which students are expected to engage effectively in the classroom and presents student views based on data gathered through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.

It concludes that languages staff and students see language classes as offering a more even playing field for classroom interaction between home and international students than other modules. On the one hand it points out the need to constantly adapt provision to meet changing demand, and on the other that the strategies used in language classes could well be of interest to other disciplines.

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Embedding Undergraduate Research Publication in the Student Learning Experience

This article outlines a gap in the research cycle as experienced by undergraduates and discusses how engaging with the process of publication, in its broadest sense, can allow students to complete the research process. The paper argues that learners at all levels can be supported to publish their work through embedding a variety of forms of dissemination in the curriculum. It also discusses the way in which new technology can contribute to undergraduate research publication. Arguing that all undergraduates should be given the opportunity to disseminate their research work, the paper outlines ten strategies to facilitate the publication of undergraduate research.

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The Role of Turnitin within the Formative Process of Academic Writing

This study comes from an attempt to respond to the Brookes student feedback surveys on the Extended Writing Project module of the pre-Master’s diploma for international students. In the 2005 module feedback, students stated that if they were to take the module again, they would want to try to improve their writing more between drafts and learn more about using sources. From 2006-07, the study of the experiential use of Turnitin with first drafts before assessment aimed to examine the learning and ‘unlearning’ opportunities for academic literacy and plagiarism education.

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MyWORLD e-Portfolios: Activity and Identity

This paper is an exploration of how policy is enacted through e-portfolio systems. The compilation of a portfolio is essentially dialogic. We talk through them and elaborate our context. All contexts are the products of previous contexts and contain within them echoes of earlier contexts. Portfolios make explicit and facilitate the representation of identity. Not only are we products of our world but we are the products of all the actors that we come into play with. Through e-portfolios there is a struggle going on for our identity. If our identities are artefacts of the use of digital technologies, it is important that we have some choice, maybe largely limited and illusory, over the tools we use to make them.

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‘Staying the Distance’: The Unfolding Story of Discovery and Development Through Long-Term Collaborative Research into Assessment

In the UK, there is growing pressure both within and across higher education institutions to make assessment standards and processes more transparent to students and other stakeholders. What follows is a brief account of our continuing quest to develop student understanding of assessment standards and processes. The evolution of our research and practice, undertaken at The Business School, Oxford Brookes University, is then related to a suggested framework of four generic approaches to developing student understanding of assessment standards and processes, culminating in a community of practice approach.

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Posted in Academic Paper

Can E-Learning Foster Intercultural Competence?

This article focuses on strategies and materials devised to enable students both to approach their period of residence abroad in Spain with greater confidence, and to make best use of time spent there. The basic premise is that students risk denying themselves the full potential benefit of their period of residence abroad by not appreciating the need to prepare themselves adequately in advance for the tasks they may be expected to carry out, and for the culture in which they will be operating. Materials were devised for students to access independently in WebCT to help address this deficiency in provision.

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Posted in Practice Paper

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