Byrne, Gillian and Harvey, Halina (2012) Business learning development: supporting international student transition. In: The ABS Learning & Teaching Conference in association with the HEA 2012: Innovation in challenging times, 23rd – 25th April 2012, Manchester, UK. (Unpublished)

In line with the Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education, the University of Huddersfield Business School has seen a significant increase in overseas recruitment; this is a common phenomenon across the HE sector world-wide.

Traditionally academic writing support has been provided by centralised units. One of the criticisms of this separate, broad-based provision is its divorce from the subject curriculum, engendering perceptions of deficiency rather than academic development (Ivanič and Lea, 2006). Where students do not see a direct connection between academic skills teaching and their assessment they find it difficult to perceive its benefit. Indeed such provision has received criticism as students find it difficult to see the relevance to their learning (Wingate, 2006). At the University of Huddersfield we have developed a model which places academic writing support at the centre of the business curriculum area. This innovation encompassed
a conference style short course which evolved into a flexible and adaptable on-line module.
Research design and methods of data collection and analysis or method inquiry:

Taking an action research, mix – methods approach the Bridging Course was informed by primary research, carried out amongst Business School international student cohort. A questionnaire was administered on-line followed by a focus group. There were just over 100 responses to the questionnaire. Students were asked to consider prior learning cultures and that of British HE in terms of teaching, learning, assessment and technology. The quantitative data gives an overview and the qualitative data was analysed through NVivo to give a rich picture. This has fed into the curriculum design and delivery.

We see here that course assessment and delivery necessitates swift adjustment to British HE cultural norms. Therefore the curriculum response was to develop a bridging course in order to support this adjustment period and to facilitate reflective practice and academic skills development.

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