FIN385 International Trade and Finance is a final year subject in the Bachelor of Business Studies delivered to CSU’s students that are enrolled in the joint co-operation program at Chinese Universities.   All students are from a non-English speaking background.  Students are taught by Australian based CSU lecturers for two weeks of the session (in an intensive manner) and the balance of teaching is delivered by the lecturers from the Chinese partner Universities.

What’s important about this learning and teaching story?

Student engagement with the subject generally can be low due to the students’ limited English language skills.  Further, the Interact2 resources load at very slow speeds in China (due to the ‘great firewall of China’).   There is little CSU ‘teacher presence’ after the CSU lecturer leaves China at the end of the intensive teaching period.

What were you trying to achieve?

Better student engagement within the subject by providing a fun and engaging way of interacting with the content

What did it look like?

Students are required, as part of a 10% assessment item, to prepare a short (3-5 minute) video explaining any aspect of the subject that interests them.  That video must be engaging, include subtitles in English and Chinese and may be spoken in Chinese.  The video must also be loaded onto the Panapto website and the settings adjusted to all the video to be ‘viewed by anyone’.   After the assessment item and intensive teaching period is completed, I select the best videos and circulate a link to these videos to all students via a weekly announcement using the announcement function in Interact2 (and another Chinese teaching app).

This assessment engages students with the topic because it is novel but yet utilises a medium that the students are familiar with.  Further the output of the assessment is a video learning resources that is literally, in the student’s own language.  Students often make short videos of themselves and share these with each other via Wechat (Chinese social media platform).  Students are also learn not just from preparing their own video but by also watching the videos of others.  The videos are more accessible because they are often in Chinese and always include Chinese and English subtitles.  They are short and able to be digested in ‘bit size’ (3-5 minute sections) and are sent directly to their mobile phone via regular announcements.

The assessment relies on group work and sharing.  Completing the task in a group and the file sharing nature of this technology appeals to the collectivist cultural bias of Chinese students.  The assessment also allows students to utilise their personal strengths and contribute to the group.  For example, the more extroverted students with better English are usually the ‘performers’ in the videos.  Other students can still contribute.  Weaker students usually take on the role of editing videos.  These students will still learn.  To edit the videos they must understand the content.

Two examples of students output are: