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A Collaborative Curriculum Enhancement With Recognition Of Characteristics Of Chinese College Students

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Collaborative & New Efforts in Engineering Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.15.1 - 13.15.13



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Paper Authors


Fanyu Zeng Indiana Wesleyan University

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Fanyu Zeng is an assistant professor of Business Information Systems and is actively involved in several projects to develop Chinese higher education programs and international student programs for Indiana Wesleyan University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Collaborative Curriculum Enhancement with Recognition of Characteristics of Chinese College Students


This study aims to enhance a software engineering curriculum for a college in China, to eliminate gaps between the curriculum and rapidly changing requirements by foreign companies in China, and to ultimately help Chinese students to be prepared for their professional careers in the dynamic global economy.

Research is carried out to first examine common characteristics of Chinese students in this program in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The study recognizes Chinese students’ strengths and particularly their success in mathematics and science based on literature reviews on other’s work, personal experience interview and observation. It also reveals an important finding that overemphasis on understanding and memorization in mathematics and science in existing software engineering curriculum has become barriers for Chinese students to receive sufficient training in critical thinking and problem solving. Survey data analysis confirms the same finding by the fact that Chinese students have demonstrated lower performance on critical thinking and problem solving compared to their counterpart, American students. Outcomes of this assessment suggests to accept the hypothesis that Chinese students do not get sufficient training on critical thinking and problem solving and as a result generally they are less imaginative or creative in their professional careers despite the fact that software design scenarios involve open thinking and decision making.

Based on this research results a curriculum development task force comes up with a recommendation to address these issues. This recommendation consists of a set of new learning components with strong emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. A number of successful learning components from reviewed American engineering curricula are identified and integrated into the Chinese software engineering curriculum.


Prior to this study a preliminary research by a task force in a Chinese software engineering program realizes that it has become a trend that more and more higher education programs in China start to modernize their curricula in order to prepare Chinese students to meet the new demands as a result of rapid growth of global economy. This preliminary research suggests that it is crucial to first investigate the weakness of Chinese students in the program as well as the curriculum and then look for a proper way to integrate successful experiences from American higher education into the software engineering curriculum as a solution.

This research was first carried out to review other researches to find out common characteristics of Chinese students. A number of research publications summarize experiences to bring Chinese students into American engineering programs. Almost all

Zeng, F. (2008, June), A Collaborative Curriculum Enhancement With Recognition Of Characteristics Of Chinese College Students Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3828

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