AN INVESTIGATION IN TO PERCEPTIONS OF ASSESSED MULTI-CULTURAL GROUP WORK
University of Central Lancashire (UNITED KINGDOM)
Since the 1990s, there has been a growth in the diversity of Business and Management student cohorts with many UK Business Schools now heavily dependent on International students for revenue. This increase in student cohort cultural diversity has been a major factor driving a reappraisal in the ways universities approach teaching and learning of such multicultural groups At the same time there has been an increased focus on employability and on the benefits of improving collaborative working skills. As a result students are increasingly asked to work in groups for learning activities and assessments. The paper discusses the findings of an exploratory study into perceptions of assessed multi-cultural group work. It examines what constitutes a team, why is assessed multi-cultural group work so widely used, whether students enjoy the experience and whether they feel that the experience adds value to their courses or future employability prospects. This paper evaluates students’ perceptions of assessed multi-cultural group work by discussing examples of their positive and negative experiences. It also provides the views of academic staff, their reasons for using group work and their approach to its implementation. The main findings are that as well as the three drivers of workplace, student and instructor identified by Young and Henquinet (2010), a fourth of institutional policy should be added. It notes that whilst some students recognise the academic and developmental value of well-managed groupwork, they also recognise that changing conditions in the higher education environment are also driving institutions to adopt more assessed group work.