A Pilot Project to Assess the Grammar of First-Year Management Students

Donna M Velliaris 1

1 Independent Scholar, Singapore, Email: dvelliaris@hotmail.com


In today’s competitive business environment, students will need to build and strengthen strategic communication skills to manage business activities, and their ability to effectively communicate is central to them gaining and maintaining employment. Significantly, in the associated literature, the ability to communicate well—in all manner of ways—is a quality that consistently appears near or at the ‘top’ of the list of desired employability traits in the business realm. Grammatical competency enables persons to construct well-written prose that communicates valuable information with ease. Proper grammar forges greater trust between sender and receiver by avoiding ambiguous language. However, the literature suggests that rising numbers of students are entering Higher Education (HE) from which a notable portion are poor writers and business graduates in particular, are of prime concern. In an effort to address this dilemma, first-year Management students at a South Australian University undertook a grammar-based diagnostic test pre- and post- a compulsory and foundational core-course titled: ‘Professional Development in Business’. Students (n = 327) registered via a ‘learnonline’ link to Pearson’s MyWritingLab (MWL) where they needed to achieve a score of 70% or higher in a multiple-choice examination comprising 74 questions. Diagnostic Tests 1 and 2—the exact same online task—were administered in Week 2 and Week 11 of Semester 1, 2016, to investigate the merits of implementing MWL’s personalised and self-paced language-focused ‘Modules’ across other business programs. Administering Pearson’s MWL will continue to require a great deal of energy and patience. The program is not a panacea, and is most definitely a work in progress. There are no illusions that MWL will transform business students into writers of high academic and business calibre, but it is hoped that the program will be invaluable in elevating the level of ‘basic’ writing skills and conscious awareness of professional communications in the business student population.

Keywords: business communications, business graduate skills, competencies, employment characteristics, first-year, management education, undergraduates

Using learning analytics to personalise the pathway

Donna M Velliaris 1

1 Independent Scholar, Singapore, Email: dvelliaris@hotmail.com

In the Higher Education (HE) sector, learning quality assurance data are typically derived from Student Experience Surveys alongside measures of attrition, progression and assessment scores. The adoption of educational technologies—such as Learning Management Systems (LMS)—has resulted in a vast set of accessible data. In reality, the work of ‘researchers’ oftentimes resides in isolation from that of ‘educators’, whereby the ‘gap’ may reflect a poor-cycle of communication and interaction between empirical studies and praxis. Data is used ‘retrospectively’ to advance future iterations of program delivery, to determine impact on learning outcomes, and to provide a benchmark on overall institutional performance. Yet, such digital footprints should be collected and analysed as a means of providing a proactive assessment of student learning and engagement. The Eynesbury Institute of Business and Technology (EIBT) is one of a growing number of private providers partnering with universities to establish pre-university pathway programs. EIBT is successfully using its data for many and varied purposes, among which includes linking available datasets with its fellow pathway colleges and partner universities in order to implement more learner-oriented services. As a second chance for prospective students who do not meet initial Australian HE entrance requirements, EIBT has an abundance of empirically-rich data or Learning Analytics (LA) that may be used to find pedagogically useful indicators, predictors and recommendations for teaching and learning advancement by careful evaluation of the findings. With analytical tools growing more powerful and their reach increasing, the aim is to assist EIBT leaders to better interpret instructor- and learner-centric data for informing future pedagogical decision-making. Objectives related to EIBT’s motivation to pursue LA include, for example: to develop a deep(er) understanding of student learning at an individual-level to support the personalisation of their educative experiences; to embed emergent feedback on student learning into practices through enabling adaptations to EIBT’s teaching and learning in a timely manner; and to identify Students-At-Risk (STAR) of poor learning experiences/outcomes, in real-time and with insight to allow for meaningful intervention i.e., to reduce the timeframe between analysis and action. As shown in this presentation, LA can explore real-time user feedback, as well as enable manipulation/visualisation based on the interests of researchers, practitioners, as well as stakeholders.

Keywords: Academic Performance, Australia, Monitoring, Pre-University Pathway, Teaching and Learning

Student clubs and student executive as methodological tools

Maria Avia1, Andrew McRae1, Cecilia Cornejo Cabestany1

1 University of Newcastle 


Evidence Based Practice in International Education Services.

This poster will address:

“Improved methodologies and ways for Practitioners to monitor outcomes and evaluate impacts of their programs”

The University of Newcastle International Engagement Team Submission will provide an overview of how we engage international students in the design and evaluation of our programs focusing on iLEAD Plus and community engagement initiatives. iLEAD Plus is the UON Global flagship program for students creating exciting opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, increase their career readiness and entrepreneurial skills and contribute as a global citizen.

Student Clubs and associations as contributors of evidence

One successful approach has been to adopt a student led model of operation. This has involved regular consultation and student feedback with cultural and nationality based student associations. This feedback and consultation has enabled UON Global to adapt previous programs, as well as start new programs and activities that are popular, inclusive and valuable to attendees due to being based on student needs.

iLEAD Plus student feedback leading initiatives in 2016

The international engagement team has a strong focus in creating engagement opportunities that combine elements from the UON graduate identity profile with components identified by students as strategic and meaningful for their future.

These engagement opportunities originate from student feedback and focus into the future, specifically on employability outcomes for our students. Our activities boost our students’ key skills which are fundamental for development. One initiative based on the student feedback and desire for real life learning opportunities in 2016 is a UON Global partnership with University of Monterrey which engaged a team of iLEAD Plus Leaders studying business to evaluate a financial analysis prepared by the overseas students of a public transnational organization according to the concepts learned in class. This offered students from two very different countries valuable lessons within the area of Intercultural communication, business practices, critical analysis and reflective practice; as the project offered an opportunity to translate learnings into real life experience.

This practical learning framework provides students with confidence and promotes the UON students’ graduate identity and employability.The integration of student feedback into engagement activities results in greater participation and challenges students thoughts in connection with the professional work environment.

iLEAD Plus Student Executive model best practice in reciprocity

iLEAD Plus is an exceptional opportunity for University of Newcastle (UON) students to gain experience and skills in the areas of leadership, international awareness, social responsibility and employability.

The iLEAD Plus Student Executive contributes to iLEAD Plus by providing a student perspective and voice on the development and direction of the iLEAD Plus program through reviewing the current program and identifying areas of opportunity. The Student Executive develop and  implement student-led initiatives under the guidance of the UON Global International Student Engagement Team, and assist in the promotion of the iLEAD Program through various avenues including direct promotion at on campus events.

Providing international and domestic students the opportunity to increase their employability skills and to shape student engagement programs is proving to be beneficial to  the growth of the program and  success of related activities.


Maria Avia has extensive experience in student engagement in particular with students from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities and has been employed with the University of Newcastle for the past 4 years with UON Global division. Her current role of International Engagement Officer is a student facing role working with international and domestic students. She has contribute significantly to the UON flagship program iLEAD Plus a global leadership program for students.

Let’s change the story! Valuing International students in U.S. campus internationalization

Gayle A. Woodruff1, Barbara J. Kappler2

1 University of Minnesota, 230 Heller Hall, 271-19th Ave S, Minnapolis MN 55455 USA
2 University of Minnesota, 190 Humphrey, 301-19th Ave S, Minneapolis MN 55455 USA

This e-poster will provide conference participants with the opportunity to dialogue with the poster presenters regarding recent research at the University of Minnesota that aims to “change the story” about international students on our campus. Shifting from a “deficit” to an “asset” model, we will together explore with you evidence that we collected from our students, academic teaching staff and professional staff about the benefits that international students bring to our campus. We welcome discussing with you the evidence about the positive impact that international students bring to the learning environments on your campuses.

Our premise stems from the legacy of the late Professor Emeritus Josef Mestenhauser, who spent 60 years advocating tirelessly for the positive inclusion of international students into higher education. His writing includes a piece from 1971, on “Learning With International Students”.  To honor the legacy of Professor Emeritus Mestenhauser, we invite you to dialogue with us about “changing the story” about international students in higher education.  We strive to bring evidence-based research into the conversations about our practices, while holding onto the goal that policies within our institutions can change.


Gayle A. Woodruff is the founding director of curriculum and campus internationalization, University of Minnesota. She provides leadership for initiatives aimed at faculty development, campus internationalization, and the evaluation and assessment of internationalization. Previously she directed Minnesota’s study abroad curriculum integration initiative. Gayle has published on numerous topics in international education, served as the faculty mentor for the Minnesota Studies in International Development program to Ecuador, and is the recipient of the University of Minnesota’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
Gayle served as the chair for the Teaching, Learning, & Scholarship Knowledge Community of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.


Barbara Kappler, Ph.D., is the Assistant Dean of International Student & Scholar Services in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance. Barbara holds a B.A. in both Economics and Communication and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Speech Communication. She has 25 years of experience in intercultural communication, program management, teaching, and research. Barbara is also a member of the Graduate Faculty and serves on graduate committees in the department of with the College of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Kappler previously served as Associate Director of ISSS and was responsible for Intercultural Training and Programs, including intercultural communication training. Barbara is co-author of three guides for students, staff, and language instructors on “Maximizing Study Abroad,” as well as a book on communication styles. Her career at the University has been an exciting blend of program and leadership experiences, curriculum development, international communication research, teaching, and working with international students.