About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5359-5366
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

CHAOS OR COMPLEX SYSTEMS? IDENTIFYING FACTORS INFLUENCING THE SUCCESS OF INTERNATIONAL AND NESB GRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENTS IN ENGINEERING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FIELDS

K. Woodman1, J. Trevelyan2, T. Sahama1, P. Gudimetla1, H. Sharda2, T. Lucey3, A. Taji1, R. Narayanaswamy3, P. Yarlagadda1

1Queensland University of Technology (AUSTRALIA)
2University of Western Australia (AUSTRALIA)
3Curtin University (AUSTRALIA)
The paper details the results of the first phase of a larger ALTC project into the sociocultural factors that influence the supervision of higher degrees research (HDR) engineering students at the University of Western Australia, Curtain University, and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). A quantitative analysis was performed on the results from an online survey that was administered to 179 QUT engineering students. Research and innovation are central to the development of Australia’s competitiveness in a global economy. An analysis of the Higher Degrees Research (HDR) data from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the University of Western Australia (UWA) as part of the pilot project indicates that this is a growing problem in all disciplines, and is especially significant in Engineering and Information Technology disciplines. As the number of international students entering HDR study in Australia continues to grow, the issue of the identification of factors influencing HDR success should be seen to be of critical importance.

Research has shown that cultural, linguistic and/or academic differences between home cultures and/or institutions and the Australian context may impact students’ progress. Culture is a filter through which we perceive and experience the world. Thus, cultural differences may affect communication between students and their supervisors, students and other students, or students in the greater community. Linguistic challenges may include high level, and often highly specific, language skills and/or knowledge. For example, graduate students are expected to be able to write appropriately in a specific genre or discipline, present orally in seminars and at conferences, as well as interact appropriately with colleagues and others. They are expected to know and be able to use discipline specific terminology appropriately, and to read regular academic journal articles (Web, 2002). Finally, different countries and different institutions often have distinct academic cultures. Differences may include expectations regarding student and teacher/supervisor roles and responsibilities, discipline-specific skills expectations, or even different understandings of approaches to research (e.g., what it is, how it’s done) and requirements for different types of research degrees. Identifying the interaction of individual factors (e.g., personality, learner style, motivation, etc.) and more general cultural and/or academic factors (e.g., educational background, role expectations, understanding of research paradigm, etc.) will provide a sound basis from which to develop support materials and networks for both students and supervisors.

The study reveals that cultural barriers impact students' progression and developing confidence in their research programs. We argue that in order to assist international and non-English speaking background (NESB) research students to triumph over such culturally embedded challenges in engineering research, it is important for supervisors to understand this cohort’s unique pedagogical needs and develop intercultural sensitivity in their pedagogical practice in postgraduate research supervision.
@InProceedings{WOODMAN2011CHA,
author = {Woodman, K. and Trevelyan, J. and Sahama, T. and Gudimetla, P. and Sharda, H. and Lucey, T. and Taji, A. and Narayanaswamy, R. and Yarlagadda, P.},
title = {CHAOS OR COMPLEX SYSTEMS? IDENTIFYING FACTORS INFLUENCING THE SUCCESS OF INTERNATIONAL AND NESB GRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENTS IN ENGINEERING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FIELDS},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {5359-5366}}
TY - CONF
AU - K. Woodman AU - J. Trevelyan AU - T. Sahama AU - P. Gudimetla AU - H. Sharda AU - T. Lucey AU - A. Taji AU - R. Narayanaswamy AU - P. Yarlagadda
TI - CHAOS OR COMPLEX SYSTEMS? IDENTIFYING FACTORS INFLUENCING THE SUCCESS OF INTERNATIONAL AND NESB GRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENTS IN ENGINEERING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FIELDS
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 5359
EP - 5366
ER -
K. Woodman, J. Trevelyan, T. Sahama, P. Gudimetla, H. Sharda, T. Lucey, A. Taji, R. Narayanaswamy, P. Yarlagadda (2011) CHAOS OR COMPLEX SYSTEMS? IDENTIFYING FACTORS INFLUENCING THE SUCCESS OF INTERNATIONAL AND NESB GRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENTS IN ENGINEERING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FIELDS, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 5359-5366.
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