Cardiff v Malaysia:
a comparison of students’ academic experience
in a first year MPharm module
Dr Steve Hiscox
PHRMY
PCUTL Module 2
September 2011
Welsh School of
Pharmacy
Taylors University
College
Welsh School of
Pharmacy
4-year MPharm degree
Taylors University
College
Welsh School of
Pharmacy
4-year MPharm degree
Taylors University
College
Requires MPharm course
Collaborative MPharm provision at TUC
Welsh School of
Pharmacy
Taylors University
College
PCUTL Module2 project
Comparison of student academic experience
within a first year MPharm module
Relevance of student ‘experience’
• Teaching, curriculum and assessment are central to
student experience (and effective learning outcomes)
• Student learning experience linked to academic
progress (Harvey and Drew (2006); Yorke and Longdon
(2008))
– Good academic experience in first year related to:
• better academic performance
• higher completion rates
• external perception of University (e.g. through NSS)
• Student engagement with MPharm course central to
successful collaborative venture
Harvey L and Drew S (2006).The first year experience: briefing on induction. HE Academy. York. UK
Yorke M and Longdon B (2008). The first year experience of higher education in the UK. HE Academy. York. UK
Welsh School of
Pharmacy
Taylors University
College
Anticipated outcomes
• Identify issues which positively / negatively affect student
experience
– Module specific and generic
– Cultural
• Reflection on my own teaching practice
– Identifying strengths and weaknesses
– “how can I improve the student learning experience”?
Study methodology
• Students
– module questionnaire
– group discussions
– informal interviews
• tutees and general student body
Module questionnaire
• Likert-type scale
• Addressed a number of key areas
of student’s academic experience:
– teaching
– assessment and feedback
– ‘learning environment’
• Captured ‘overall’ experience of
students of this module
• Demographic information included:
–
–
–
–
international status (Cardiff)
first language
prior work experience
prior biology study
• Opportunity for students to provide
written comments
Breakdown of student cohorts
Taylors College, Malaysia
Cardiff
number
%
number
%
Number of students in year
26
-
115
-
No. of questionnaires completed
26
100
81
70.4
Median age
19
(range 18-21)
19
(range 18-28)
Male
6
23
29
25
Female
20
77
86
75
English not as first language
14
54
19
16
No prior study of biology *
2
8
10
8
No prior Pharmacy-related
experience*
4
15
12
10
No. of international students
12
10
No. of Malaysian students
7
6
* Factors previously identified to affect first year student learning experience
Issues relating to students in Malaysia:
‘first language’
Experience of lectures
Perception of module difficulty
‘I found this module was harder than most others’
90.0
English NOT first language
83.3
80.0
English first language
64.3
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
10.0
21.4
16.7
20.0
7.1
7.1
0.0
0.0
80.0
% response for each catagory
% response for each catagory
‘I generally understood information in the lectures’
0.0 0.0
Agree
neutral
disagree
50.0
42.9
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
8.3
7.1
0.0
0.0
50.0
40.0
0.0
0.0 0.0
28.6
25.0
30.0
16.7
20.0
8.3
10.0
0.0 0.0
Strongly
Agree
% response for each catagory
% response for each catagory
English first language
80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
70.0
English NOT first language
91.7
English first language
60.0
strongly
disagree
‘Lecturers explanations were clear’
100.0
90.0
70.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Strongly
Agree
English NOT first language
71.4
Agree
neutral
disagree
strongly
disagree
I found this module challenging
58.3
60.0
50.0
42.9
English NOT first
language
English first language
40.0
30.0
28.6
25.0
28.6
16.7
20.0
10.0
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.0
disagree
strongly
disagree
0.0
Strongly
Agree
Agree
neutral
disagree
strongly
disagree
Strongly
Agree
Agree
neutral
Issues relating to students in Cardiff:
‘International student status’
Perception of module difficulty
37.5
home
25.0
25.0
20.0
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
37.5
International
25.0
12.5
7.8
4.7
3.1
Strongly
Agree
0.0
Agree
neutral
disagree
% response for each catagory
60.0
50.0
International
41.2
40.0
30.0
home
22.2
20.0
11.1
10.0
2.9
7.4
0.0
0.0 0.0
0.0
Strongly
Agree
Agree
neutral
disagree
international student
53.3
50.0
home student
40.0
37.7
40.0
30.0
29.5
21.3
20.0
8.2
6.7
10.0
0.0
0.0
3.3
0.0
Strongly
Agree
Agree
neutral
disagree
strongly
disagree
‘The workshops helped me understand the module’
66.7
48.5
60.0
strongly
disagree
I found this module challenging
70.0
% response for each catagory
46.9
50.0
45.0
40.0
35.0
30.0
‘I enjoyed the workshops’/ ‘..were interesting’/’..clear
explanations’
strongly
disagree
% response for each catagory
% response for each catagory
‘I found this module was harder than most others’
Experience of small group teaching
70.0
international student
61.5
60.0
home student
50.0
43.5
40.0
30.0
30.8
24.2
19.4
20.0
12.9
7.7
10.0
0.0
0.0 0.0
0.0
Strongly
Agree
Agree
neutral
disagree
strongly
disagree
Student responses: overall ‘experience’ of
module
40.0
30.0
20.0
Cardiff
30.8
26.3
14.5
11.5
TUC
10.5
10.0
7.7
2.6
0.0
0.0
Strongly
Agree
Agree
neutral
disagree
% response for each catagory
‘I found this module interesting’
50.0
46.1
50.0
70.0
59.2
60.0
50.0
42.3
Cardiff
40.0
30.0
20.0
30.8
23.1
18.4
10.0
3.9 3.8
strongly
disagree
Strongly
Agree
Agree
68.0
57.7
60.0
50.0
Cardiff
40.0
TUC
30.0
20.0
19.2
12.0
19.2
14.7
10.0
4.0
0.0
1.3 3.8
0.0
Strongly
Agree
Agree
1.3 0.0
0.0
80.0
70.0
TUC
17.1
‘overall, I was satisfied with this module’
% response for each catagory
% response for each catagory
‘Overall, I enjoyed this module’
60.0
neutral
disagree
strongly
disagree
neutral
disagree
strongly
disagree
Student responses: overall ‘experience’ of
module
• Data suggests that a minority of students report
poorer module experience
– ~30% respond ‘neutral’ or lower on questionnaire
• Analysis of these students revealed poor
experience of:
Category
Cardiff
Malaysia
Teaching
Supporting materials for
lectures and practicals
(h/o’s etc)
Supporting materials for
lectures and practicals
(h/o’s etc)
Assessment
preparation time for
assessments
Expectations of
assessments
Communication
Availability of module staff
Informal interviews and student discussions
• Positive aspects
– workshop and small-group teaching
– enthusiasm and expertise of visiting staff
– ability to contact module staff (at Cardiff) by email
• Negative aspects
–
–
–
–
podcasts
pace of lectures
assessment information
amount of information accompanying lectures
Summary
• Overall, students were generally positive about their
academic experience in the new MPharm module
• Subgroups of students found this module challenging
– International students (Cardiff)
– those whose first language is not English (Malaysia)
• Small group teaching/workshops rated higher by these
student groups vs. lectures
• Other key factors which may negatively affect student
experience include
– Methods of delivery (podcasts) to Malaysian students
– Information regarding, and timetabling of, assessments
Learning lessons from teaching in
culturally diverse contexts
• Reflections on teaching experience at Taylors
– Awareness that ones’ assumptions can influence
teaching practices
• teaching at Cardiff ≠ teaching at Malaysia
• Influence of student background, culture, education
– appreciation of diverse student learning styles in an
international environment
• Benefits of workshops vs. lectures; A/V aids
Learning lessons from teaching in
culturally diverse contexts
• What does this mean for me:
–
–
–
–
Assessment of student learning styles
modify lecture format to be more inclusive
develop workshop/tutorials
‘internationalisation’ of elements of module
Learning lessons from teaching in
culturally diverse contexts
• What does it mean for PHRMY/Cardiff
– Communication of individual experiences
• Reflective log?
• Provision of relevant information prior to visit
– Strengthen contacts during first two years
• deputy personal tutors for Taylors students
• close links with teaching staff at Taylors
– re-think introductory lecture strategy
• avoid podcasts?
Acknowledgments
• Dr Mark Gumbleton, PHRMY
• Clare Kell, PCUTL Programme Leader,
HUMRS
• Dr Syed Abbas Atif, TUC
• Dr Kan Mun Seng, TUC
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Cardiff v Malaysia - Student Experience & Academic Standards