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Adapting to a United Kingdom Undergraduate Engineering Pedagogical Approach While Teaching at a Sino-Foreign Joint Educational Programme

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.153.1 - 26.153.20



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Paper Authors

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Kathleen Meehan University of Glasgow

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Sessions: International Exchange/Joint Programs in Engineering Education Faculty Involvement in International Engineering Education Programs Convergence of Curricular Approaches Around the GlobeAdapting to a United Kingdom Undergraduate Engineering Pedagogical Approach While Teaching at a Sino-Foreign Joint Educational ProgrammeThere are well over 2000 joint educational programmes (JEPs), collaborations between Chineseinstitutions and foreign institutions. These JEPs included a wide range of educational activities– everything from nursery schools to institutes of higher learning (IHLs) that only offer graduatedegrees. In September 2013, the Scottish University (UK) and the Chinese University (CU)opened the doors to the UK-CU Joint School with 144 students enrolled in a dual degreeprogramme in Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE). The courses in the JEP are taughtroughly 50:50 by UK and CU staff. The courses that contribute to the UK EEE degree are taughtin English, no matter if course instructor is a UK or CU staff member. While UK staff teach moreof the Year 3 and Year 4 courses, there was a conscious decision to have UK staff teach threecourses in each of the first two years. This allows the students to engage with UK staff as soonas they begin their academic careers and the UK staff can introduce its pedagogical approach tothe students as well as to the CU staff involved in the Joint School. It has also meant that UKteaching and administration staff have been actively involved in the day-to-day evolution of theJoint School from the day the Joint School opened. With the enrollment of the second cohortof students, the Joint School has a total of 379 students and 20 CU and 3 UK teach staff.Advertisements of the UK staff positions to support the UK-CU Joint School were posted widelywith applications received from candidates around the world. The three staff who were hiredhad experience in teaching at institutions in China, New Zealand, Canada, and the UnitedStates. This has presented an interesting issue as the UK staff have to learn the pedagogicalapproach as well as the university policies employed at UK, the UK ‘ethos’, at the same timethat they were responsible for the introduction of the UK ‘ethos’ to the UK-CU student. Whilethere are some differences in instructional approaches used in the five different countries, thedifferences between underlying pedagogical philosophies are significant. Furthermore, the roleof the institution and its staff in students’ activities outside the classroom differs considerably.In this paper, one American’s view of the differences and similarities between American, UnitedKingdom, and Chinese approaches to education based upon her experiences at UK, at UK-CU,and at three IHLs in the United States will be presented. The differences between a Scottishand English engineering educational programme will briefly be mentioned. Comparisonsinclude the curricula, student and instructor expectations, instructional techniques, assessmentof learning, programme accreditation and quality assurance, privacy of information, parents’rights and engagement, and extracurricular activities at UK, CU, and US universities at which theauthor has taught. Observations on hiring practices, promotion and tenure, equal opportunity,and the staff-administration relationships at UK will be described. Finally, two sets ofrecommendations are provided: one for other teachers who may be interested in a similarposition and the second for those interested in developing a joint educational programmebetween institutions that are geographically and philosophically apart.

Meehan, K. (2015, June), Adapting to a United Kingdom Undergraduate Engineering Pedagogical Approach While Teaching at a Sino-Foreign Joint Educational Programme Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23492

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