Promoting Educational Inclusivity in Two Groups of International Students
Earlier this year I collaborated with Rachael Carden, a senior lecturer in the Brighton Business School, on a research project around activities designed to better support international students and help them understand the lexicon used in accountancy. The paper proposal was submitted to and accepted by EDINEB (Education Innovation in Economics and Business – http://edineb.org/
The project looked to explore how discussion boards can be used to support international students understanding of the language used in accountancy.
Two discussion boards (one per seminar group) were set up at the beginning of semester 2, 2016. On a weekly basis, the tutor Rachael Carden uploaded questions onto this board; concept checking questions (to test subject knowledge) and vocabulary checking questions (to test inconsistencies of understanding of potentially confusing accounting lexis). Students were invited to discuss these questions in small groups through the medium of peer assisted learning. Uses of the Discussion Board were monitored on a weekly basis in order to identify any residual conceptual or linguistic areas for remedial action.
We ran a workshop for each seminar group to get them started with both the technology being used and how the boards would be used. The students were encouraged to download Blackboard Mobile Learn and to set up push notifications for the discussion to encourage participation and engagement.
Students were then asked a series of feedback questions to determine their understanding of the value of the discussion boards.
Of the thirty one students in the study, eleven responded to the online survey (a response rate of 35 per cent). This has obvious impacts on the validity and reliability of the results. However, of the eleven students, nine said that they had engaged actively (by posting) or passively (by just reading) the threads. Two students said that they had forgotten to use the discussion board.
Of the eleven five stated that using the board had improved their understanding of accounting concepts; five that it had improved their understanding of accounting terminology.
In June we traveled to Nice to present the paper. The conference was held in the EDHEC Business School. The campus sits on the Promenade des Anglais, a beautiful sea front location that has since become synonymous with the tragic Bastille day events where over 80 people lost their lives.
The research project will be continued this year with some adjustments being made as a result of the findings and recommendations from both the participants and the delegates at EDINEB.
With thanks to Rachael Carden for both the opportunity of working with her and the students and also to both Rachael and the Brighton Business School for the opportunity of a trip to France and the EDINEB conference.