[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This research investigates learning challenges faced by students in Higher Education. The population of the study consisted of undergraduates, postgraduates and instructors in a School of Education in a selected university in the United States of America. The researchers adopted qualitative approach which involved the use of questionnaire, interview, and document analysis to triangulate the data. The sample population comprised 181 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 22 instructors from the School of Education. Questionnaires using a 6 point Likert-scale were administered to all 203 respondents whilst interviews were conducted with 5 undergraduates, postgraduates and instructors. In addition, document analysis was also conducted on the syllabus used for the 12 courses. Data analyses indicated eight main learning challenges faced by students in higher education namely: cognitive challenge, becoming an active learner, coping with reading materials, instructional problem, language barrier, time management, burden of assignments, and culture difference in higher education. Based on the findings, it was suggested that higher learning institutes should emphasize on the construction of knowledge through active interaction between lecturer and the students which became a platform for the students to cope up with the learning challenges they were facing in higher education.
Preview · Article · May 2015 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postgraduate supervision is a much explored field and a subject of close scrutiny in the West but there is scant empirical research in Asia; particularly in Malaysia. It was against this uncharted background that the current study was conducted to compare and contrast postgraduate supervision practices from the perspectives of supervisees from both Malaysia and the United Kingdom. The study involved 66 postgraduate students from Malaysia and 33 postgraduates from the UK. Data were collected via a questionnaire and semi structured interviews. Findings indicated that there was a significant difference between Malaysian and the UK supervisees’ expectations of the roles and responsibilities of their supervisors. Supervisees from Malaysia looked for a ‘people’ oriented supervisor who was a motivator and confidence booster whilst respondents from the UK stressed the need for a supervisor to be an expert in their specific field of study. Respondents from Malaysia were also more dependent and had higher expectations of their supervisors when compared to their counterparts in the UK. With regards to supervisory practices, there was no significant difference between supervisory practices of supervisors in both countries. Since there exists two different world cultures of supervisors and the supervisees, it is pertinent to conduct in-depth studies involving both parties to help develop a comprehensive supervision model where students can be guided into professional research communities.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research has shown that the value of online collaboration is that it supports and fosters effective learning. Underpinning the notion of online collaboration is learning is a social process. This underlines the importance of social interaction which many researchers view as crucial for meaningful learning. The key to online collaborative learning is that it can enhance peer interaction and work in groups which facilitate shared meaning making and learning. In addition, knowledge construction that takes place is captured online thus making visible how knowledge emerges through a network of interactions. In order to understand how students construct knowledge, this study examines the patterns of interaction of ESL students during online collaboration. Gunawardena, Lowe and Anderson's (1997) Interaction Analysis Model was used for this purpose. The results show that co-construction of knowledge was evident among the ESL students during online collaboration. Nevertheless, the results also show that they were chiefly engaged at the lower levels of interactive phases. This has implications on the role of instructors during online collaboration. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is an attempt to analyse the assessment practices among students and lecturers in an institute of higher learning (IHL) in the United States. The sample population comprised 170 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 22 lecturers from an identified School of Education. Questionnaires using a 6 point Likert-scale were administered to all respondents whilst interviews were conducted with 5 undergraduates, 5 postgraduates and 5 instructors. Descriptive analysis indicated that assessment practices (dimensions or overall) recorded above moderate level in higher education. Interestingly, students in the IHL favoured formative assessment over final examination. Besides that, students also expressed a positive response to receiving more constructive feedback from lecturers to help them to learn better. Generally, students' preference for feedback coincided with the concepts of formative assessment. This should augur well especially in laying the foundation for more specific action to further improve assessment practices in higher education in the United States as well as other universities which aspire to become exemplary universities. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The twin forces of globalisation and internationalization have put a critical demand for resilient graduates who are able to compete at a global level. Henceforth, Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) in Malaysia are constantly challenged to produce graduates with 21st century skills which will enable them to excel in today's globalized, knowledge based society. This exploratory study aimed to investigate the 21st century skills among postgraduates from a public and a private university in Malaysia. The sample involved 59 postgraduate students and four lecturers and data were collected using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Initial findings revealed that postgraduates articulated success in using ICT skills, collaborating, and lifelong learning in being leaders but lacked critical and creative thinking and communication skills. They also highlighted academic staff in tertiary institutions were a few steps behind them in terms of social media applications and they felt that IHL were not successful in developing their entrepreneurial skills. These findings have implications on postgraduate students' readiness for careers and attempts to maximise 21st century skills among higher education students. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the growing need of more school-based assessments, teachers must be knowledgeable in item analysis. This move towards decentralizing assessment would most certainly put a critical demand on teachers to prepare and construct valid and reliable tests to ensure students are being assessed fairly in schools. A quick way to prepare and construct valid and reliable tests is to use item analysis software. Item analysis software simplifies the process of conducting item analysis and facilitates the formation of an item bank in educational institutions. Hence, this research was conducted to examine teachers' competency (knowledge and skills) in performing item analysis as well as their usage of item analysis software. Findings of the study show that the respondents have moderate level of knowledge on item analysis as well as in using item analysis software. More relevant training is considered crucial to enhance the teachers' knowledge on item analysis and item analysis software for a more valid and reliable test in school.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postgraduate supervision has been a subject of close scrutiny all around the globe demanding transparency, parity and rigour as students cross international boundaries, prompting reflection and critical analysis of the student-centered paradigm shift in higher education. Therefore, this study investigated supervisees’ experiences of postgraduate supervision in Malaysia. The study involved 66 postgraduate students from two public universities in Malaysia. Data were collected via a questionnaire and semi structured interviews. Initial findings revealed supervisees were only moderately satisfied with postgraduate supervision. Respondents indicated that an effective supervisor is a ‘people’ oriented person who is a motivator, a confidence booster and one who respects the student as a fellow researcher. Besides being an expert in his/her area of interest, the supervisor must be willing to transfer his/her knowledge and skills to the student in a flexible and non-threatening learning environment. Findings further revealed that supervisors displayed highest levels of competency and supervision providing most help and guidance at the initial stage of writing the research proposal. Supervision lessens after the acceptance of the proposal and less guidance is given at later stages. Supervisees highlighted they encounter most problems and challenges during the final stage of their research – i.e. the thesis writing, viva and correction stages. Respondents also felt that institutional support was below average and suggested the need for better run postgraduate centres and more flexible financial packages to create learning communities for postgraduates. The implications of the study suggest that it is imperative for supervisors to understand a range of postgraduate supervisory approaches to cater to the varying needs and expectations of students.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is an attempt to assess the level of learning practices among undergraduate and postgraduate students in a higher learning institute in the United States. The sample population comprised 181 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 22 instructors from the School of Education. Questionnaires using a 6 point Likert-scale were administered to all 203 respondents whilst interviews were conducted with 5 undergraduates, postgraduates and instructors. In addition, document analysis was also conducted on the syllabus used for the 12 courses. Descriptive analysis indicated that most of the learning practices (dimensions or overall) recorded above moderate level in higher education. Overall, students exhibited high levels of learning obligation, but moderate levels of learning effort and collaboration in learning. Therefore, in an effort to raise the current level of effort and collaboration in learning among the students might entail increasing the scores on each dimension of the two main aspects of learning practices appropriately. More efforts have to be considered to increase the levels of learning effort and collaboration in learning among the students. This suggestion is made on the basis that takes into consideration that these two dimensions were found to be experienced at a relatively lower level than the dimension of learning obligation. This observation informs us that steps need to be taken when planning intervention programs to raise the overall level of learning effort and collaboration in learning among students in higher education.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is an attempt to assess the general communication skills of unemployed graduates at job interviews. The sample population comprised unemployed graduates who took part in the 1 Malaysia Training Scheme (SL1 M program) set up by the Malaysian government to address the issue of unemployment amongst the Malaysian graduates. The mixed method research was employed using research instruments comprising survey questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. Questionnaires using a five point Likert scale were administered to 506 respondents where 337 were finally regarded as useable. Meanwhile face-to-face interviews were conducted with thirteen unemployed graduates from the same group of respondents in the SL1 M program. Descriptive analysis indicated that more than half of the respondents were in the range of moderate to low level in their general communication skills. Independent t-tests carried out indicated that there were significant differences for gender and types of higher education institutions (HEIs) in relation to general communication skills. Male unemployed graduates seemed to have higher general communication skills compared to their female counterparts, while unemployed graduates from the private HEIs (IPTS) have better general communication skills than those from the public HEIs (IPTAs). The ANOVA tests carried out with MUET band scores and general communication skills showed an upward trend where the higher the MUET band score, the higher the mean of general communication skills. Findings were further enhanced by the qualitative data that conformed to the data obtained from the quantitative analysis. Another equally important finding of the study is the association between general communication skills and communication apprehension. This finding opens up the prospect for further research, that general communication skills need to be assessed in relation to communication apprehension among unemployed graduates in Malaysia.
Preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is an attempt to assess the level as well as factors associated with teaching practices among students and instructors in a higher learning institute in the United States. The sample population comprised 181 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 22 instructors from the School of Education. Questionnaires using a 6 point Likert-scale were administered to all 203 respondents whilst interviews were conducted with 5 undergraduates, postgraduates and instructors. In addition, document analysis was also conducted on the syllabus used for the 12 courses. Descriptive analysis indicated that most of the teaching practices (dimensions or overall) recorded above moderate level in higher education. Inferential statistical analysis indicated that many of the sub-variables seemed to have moderate influences on the dimensions of teaching practices. Results of independent-samples t-tests, indicated that gender did not have any influence on the perception of teaching practices. Generally, students' preference for feedback and active learning coincided with the concept of transformative learning. This should augur well especially in laying the foundations for more specific actions to further improve teaching practices in higher education in the United States as well as other universities which aspire to become research universities. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Huseyin Uzunboylu
Preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The turn of the century witnessed a move to decentralise public summative examinations in Malaysia. The new global move in assessment has also paved the way to more formative teacher made tests. This paradigm shift towards more teacher made tests and school-based assessment has not only led to an increased workload for teachers but has put forward a critical demand for greater accountability in terms of more valid, reliable and quality assessments. The change would require better item development, enhanced item management and correct item analysis to ensure students are being assessed fairly. Unfortunately, item development, management and analysis is a time consuming endeavour. Teachers as test setters not only need to master the skill of constructing valid and reliable items but more importantly they need to be able to determine the difficulty level of each item to ensure a test will not be too difficult or easy for their students. In order to ensure teachers are able to prepare high quality classroom based tests teachers need to be provided with user friendly item development and analysis software. To ease this difficult process, the researchers in this study have taken the initiative to invent an item analysis software referred to as SuperSeTIA (Super Specific e-Tool for Item Analysis) and has been tested with a group of teachers from four different states in Malaysia. Their feedback towards the effectiveness of this psychometric analysis software had provided researchers relevant information to further improve the development of this software in terms of ease of use, user interface, audience appeal, effectiveness, presentation, program content and documentation and supplementary materials.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study attempts to investigate factors that influence the psychological empowerment with work motivation and work withdrawal intention of school principals in Malaysia. The sample population comprised school principals. A total of 101 self-administered questionnaires were analysed. Pearson product moment correlation coefficients (Pearson r's) or Point bi-serial (r(pb)) coefficients were computed between the psychological empowerment total scores and those of the independent variables (or sub-variables). Total scores from the four psychological empowerment dimensions and the PE-Overall were correlated individually with scores from the independent variables of Work Motivation and Work Withdrawal Intention. Results indicated all five aspects of psychological empowerment (PE-Overall, PE-Meaning, PE-Competence, PE-Self-determination and PE-Impact) correlated positively and significantly with the Intrinsic Work motivation domain. This study also proves that when withdrawal intentions increased, the dimensional component levels of psychological empowerment decreased correspondingly.
No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: From the literature reviewed, it was important to perform this study for the reason to explore students and teachers' perceptions of having this portfolio assessment in English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms. A qualitative case study method was carried out in this study in order to learn about portfolio assessment in ESL writing classrooms within the selected population. The explanation would not only focus on statistics, but on the real description of an observation. The findings indicated that both the teachers and students were satisfied with the positive outcomes of the integration of portfolio assessment in the ESL classroom. This study was important since there were limited studies done in this alternative assessment which provide fruitful results in that the learning has become more effective, motivating and interesting for the learners.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of reflective journal writing in helping learners monitor their own learning. In this study, monitoring refers to the ability of students to check, verify and correct oneself in the performance of a learning task. The study was conducted in an intact Malaysian ESL class of 42 students at an urban secondary school located in Petaling Jaya in Selangor. In this study six students out of the total 42 students were used as case studies. The six students are referred to as Students A1, A2, A3, B1, B2 and B3. Students A1, A2 and A3 were students who displayed the highest improvement in language learning whilst students B1, B2 and B3 were students who had shown the least improvement during a 15-week Strategy Training Programme (STP) in the ESL classroom. The overall findings suggest that reflective journal writing is a valuable tool that can help students monitor their learning-a part of students' ability to take responsibility for their own learning.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Problem statement: Researchers have noted that there is a mismatch between curriculum content and assessment practices in higher education. At the moment, the focus is still on the assessment of learning and not much on assessment for learning. Therefore, this study was conducted to examine the implementation of authentic assessment in higher education in Malaysia. Approach: The study employed a qualitative research method and involved the use of instruments such as interviews, document analysis and unobtrusive classroom observations to collect the relevant data in the classrooms of a three-credit hour course from a Masters degree programme. The total population consisted of 2 lecturers and 20 students from the two selected intact TSL 752 classes. Results: In this study, researchers identified different types of authentic assessment with the suitability to certain pedagogical strategies, their effects on students’ learning and the appropriate procedures of conducting authentic assessments. The findings indicated that alternative and authentic assessment have more acceptance from students and should therefore be viewed as an alternative to traditional standardized assessment. Conclusion/Recommendations: The study identified that assessment strategies should be closely related to teaching and learning. Assessing authentic performances should become integral parts of the instructional cycle and feedback provided by the lecturer and peers should be formative in order to help the students assess their strengths and weaknesses, identifying areas of needed growth and mobilizing current capacity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2004, the Malaysian Ministry of Education, issued a new circular on homework with the aim of providing some structure to the organisation of homework in Malaysian schools. Therefore this study set out to explore teachers' practices and perspectives on the organization of homework in Malaysian public primary schools. The study comprised 297 teachers from 17 primary schools located in Malaysia. The data collection process included the use of a questionnaire, semi structured interviews and document analyses. The findings of the study revealed that teachers view homework favourably and see it as an important aspect in consolidating and extending upon classroom learning. Teachers claimed they distributed homework evenly but findings revealed that there has no concerted effort in planning homework for each level. Teachers were also seen assigning more practice based tasks leaving little room for preparation and extension activities and other fun and engaging real life learning experiences. Though school administrators ensured teachers promptly marked and assessed pupils' homework the implementation of homework practices and teachers' adherence to guidelines provided left much to be desired. Arguably, the findings of this study cast doubts as to the effectiveness of teachers' practices in the organisation of homework in the Malaysian classrooms.