D. Nielsen, Y. Lin, A. White

University of Greenwich (UNITED KINGDOM)
Globalisation in Higher Education (HE) paves the way for many HEs in the Western countries to establish partnerships with HEs and Colleges in other countries where there is a perceived lack of quality education or good learning experience. HE fees from foreign students form a good source of income for HEs in Western countries. Contracts drawn between these organisations provided the impetus for large groups of undergraduate students to migrate to HEs located in the Western countries to study for a specific timeframe of one or two years. Other variations of the terms of the contracts allowed Western-based lecturers to run specific guest lecture sessions in person, in their local HE or College as well as the provision of the learning frameworks, resources and curriculum.

Regardless of the origins or nationality of students, they want the best educational experiences they can derive from the HE that they have signed up to. With their economy doing very well in recent years, and therefore affordability, large numbers of Chinese students opt to go to HEs located in other countries. There are many past studies done by researchers from Western Country HEs on Chinese students and their learning from Hong Kong and mainland China. These focussed largely on cultural differences and language skills but not on technology use.

This investigation analyses the learning experiences of a group of third year Direct Entry Chinese students from mainland China in University of Greenwich. The definition of Direct Entry students is explained. The study focuses on the impacts of these students’ learning in a particular course that innovatively uses different technologies to engage students and enhance their learning. This group of Chinese students experienced similar learning environments and conditions like the other local and international students within the same third year cohort for the same course. They also use the same learning resources. It must be noted that not all of the third year students are Direct Entry students.

The study reveals the challenges faced by the students in terms of learning, engagement and skills development, student cohort collaborations, their technical abilities and interesting findings such as expectations, attitudes, adaptability, resilience and cultural changes. Feedback and lessons learnt provide the feeds for iterative revisions to improve curriculum design, teaching methods and delivery, interactions and support for not only future cohorts of third year Direct Entry Chinese students but for all other Direct Entry students.