Research digest for practitioners: September 2016

Research digest for practitioners: September 2016

The September issue of the Journal of Studies in International Education offers an Asian flavour of studies, from China to Japan to an offshore Chinese university in Italy. The studies offer practitioners food for thought on such issues as international student satisfaction, English-medium instruction, international student services, and offshore campus developments. Below you will find a short summary of each article encouraging you to further explore those of interest.

International Student Participation in Higher Education: Changing the Focus From “International Students” to “Participation”

By: John Straker

Topic: International student participation

How has international student participation been pursued in the literature? Through a literature review, the author argues that the studies in this area are dominated by two main themes:
1.) English language competency

2.) Culture of origin
Straker deconstructs various studies and concludes that most focus on what makes international students different rather than focusing on their participation, leaving the field undertheorised. The author suggests that a sociocultural theory, specifically activity theory, offers a more nuanced approach to explore international student participation and its relationship to learning.

Exploring the Experiences of International Students in China

By: Xiaojiong Ding

Topic: International student satisfaction

The number of international students in China continues to increase. As a destination, it is popular due to the Chinese language and the economic growth. This study explores the experiences of international students and their levels of satisfaction. A mixed-methods approach, using both interviews and surveys, highlighted the experiences of international students in Shanghai in 2013. Overall, the findings show that, on average, international students report a low level of satisfaction with the study programmes, support services, and integration with local students when compared to international benchmarks. However, 67% rated their overall experience studying and living positively and 62% would recommend Shanghai as a study destination.

Toward a Typology of Implementation Challenges Facing English-Medium Instruction in Higher Education: Evidence From Japan

By: Annette Bradford

Topic: English-medium instruction

What are the challenges related to implementing English-medium instruction (EMI)? The author uses a multiple case study of English-taught degree programmes at three Japanese universities to develop a typology of challenges. Findings build on previously identified challenges, creating four categories of challenges:
1.) Linguistic: difficulties experienced when working in a non-native environment.

2.) Cultural: challenges arising from different academic backgrounds and social norms.

3.) Administrative and managerial: challenges with recruitment, retention, management, student services, and resources.

4.) Institutional: complications associated with the programme located within a larger institution.
As EMI continues to grow, this typology offers practitioners key challenges to be aware of when implementing new programmes.

Meeting the Needs of Chinese International Students: Is There Anything We Can Learn From Their Home System?

By: Wei Liu and Xiaobing Lin

Topic: International student services

This comparative study explores the differences between international student services offered in Canada and China. As part of a professional development programme, 39 international student service providers from 38 Chinese universities spent three months at a Canadian higher education institution. Using participant journals and participant observation, the authors analyse the differences in governance models, internationalisation goals, and student services in each country.

  • Governance: the Chinese higher education governance structure is characterised as centralised and proactive, whereas the Canadian governance is decentralised and reactive.
  • Student development responsibility: in China, student development is the responsibility of the institution and thus target student cohorts. In Canada, there is a more individualistic approach where the individual student is targeted.
  • Internationalisation goals: the goal in China is directly tied to the national agenda for international diplomacy. In Canada, the goals are driven by institutional interests and aim to generate revenue, job opportunities and bring in international talent for the shortage of skilled workers.
  • International student services: the Chinese services take more of a parental approach with regular check-ins and a cohort network. The Canadian services take more a customer approach where the student has to find what services they need and they are treated the same as domestic students.

Overall, the authors suggest that each country can learn from the practices of the other. Comparative research allows for benchmarking and performance evaluation which can lead to more innovative practices.

The Local Embeddedness of Foreign Campuses: The Case of Tongji University in Florence

By: Nicola Bellini, Cecilia Pasquinelli, Serena Rovai, and Simone Tani

Topic: Development of offshore campuses

This case study analyses the first offshore Chinese University campus in Italy. The authors present the case from two perspectives, first from the internationalisation process of creating an offshore campus and second from the city of Florence as an ‘education hub’. Using interviews and participant observation, the case study highlights the various characteristics of the process to develop the offshore campus with specific reference to the Uppsala internationalisation process model. Practitioners involved in developing offshore campuses can learn from the reciprocal process between this Chinese University and the city of Florence.
Leasa is Knowledge Development Adviser at the EAIE
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Leasa Weimer
EAIE, the NetherlandsLeasa is Senior Adviser for Knowledge Initiatives for the EAIE.