Becoming and being an engineer in an internationalised context: international students' engagement with 'realworld' enquiry at Masters' level

Catherine Montgomery*, Roger Penlington, John Tan, Angelina Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper presents a research project that charts the complex development of engagement and professional identities in a group of international students (including British students) on an MSc course in Engineering. A detailed picture of the diversity of students' social, cultural and educational backgrounds at entry is placed against the development of students' own sense of what it means to be an Engineer in an international context. The case study was initiated by a concern for summative assessment outcomes in a number of the modules which were producing a notable bipolar marks distribution in students' final assessments. Students were either achieving highly in the module or clearly demonstrating an inability to work with the concepts and ideas of the module. The aim of the research was to investigate the detail and the nature of this outcome following the introduction of an intensified focus on tutors' own research, amongst other innovations. Through survey, observation and interview data the case study focuses on the sociocultural background to learning in Engineering and presents a qualitative finegrained picture of how students build their competences and identities as professional Engineers through engagement with their tutors and their tutors' own research. The initial data on the backgrounds of students presented a fascinating picture of the effects of internationalisation on the composition of student groups in Higher Education. Through the student interviews a picture of students constructing both their competences and identities emerged. The research presented to them by their tutors and that they engaged in themselves as part of the course was seen to be a significant factor in their learning and one that distinguished their learning experience in the UK from their previous learning. Students also placed emphasis on the social and personal factors that both supported them in their learning and motivated them to become Engineers in the first instance. Furthermore, early analysis of students' summative assessments indicated that there was a clear impact upon the proportion of students who had made a transition between weak engagement and failure and there was a growing engagement and achievement of threshold performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEE 2008 - International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education, EE 2008 - Loughborough, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jul 200816 Jul 2008

Publication series

NameEE 2008 - International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education, EE 2008
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLoughborough
Period14/07/0816/07/08

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Becoming and being an engineer in an internationalised context: international students' engagement with 'realworld' enquiry at Masters' level'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this