ACC384 – International Accounting Issues is a core undergraduate subject within our Bachelor of Business course in China. Students’ are taught by the Chinese partner university during their first two years of study. In their third year, CSU lecturers travel to China and teach two subjects concurrently over a four-week period (four times a year). For the rest of the session students are taught by local lecturers employed with the partner university.

I’ve taught on the program on and off since 2015. The classes have traditionally been delivered by a PowerPoint with reference to the prescribed textbook. English is a second language for all students undertaking the course. Academic and digital literacy demands are common challenges for these students. Students undertake English classes during their high school education, however they are usually not taught by a native English speaker (or one with an Australian accent!). Technology options for teaching can also be limited due to firewall restrictions.

What were we trying to achieve?

The subject was allocated funding for 201830 as part of the BJBS Faculty’s Initiatives and Improvements plan (I&I). This included time allocated for academic and Division of Student Services (DSS) to implement improvements that would increase both the quality and pass rate of the subject.

Changes included a new textbook that was better suited to international accounting, a new interactive study guide with videos, multiple-choice questions and Academic Skills (formally ‘ALLaN’) support. These additional resources and updated subject design were prepared with the notion of bringing the subject quality to the same level as a typical internal offering on a CSU campus. Thank you so much to Kath Dalton (Educational Designer) and Brooke Thornton (Educational Support Coordinator) for assisting in the design and update of this material.

To support these students who have the added challenge of communicating in a second language, I worked with Jula Ryder (Division of Library Services) and Debbie Wheeler (Academic Skills) to provide the following additional support within Interact2. The focus of this material was to improve student’s submissions in their major assignment report:

  • Links and videos on how to utilise the Academic Skills feedback support;
  • Links to academic writing, communicating and APA referencing support;
  • An ACC384 CSU Library Research Skills Guide; and
  • Videos specifically created for the ACC384 report assessment.

The importance of Academic Integrity was another area that I wanted emphasised so additional information and guidance on Turnitin (and how students could pre-check their work) was provided.

What’s important about this learning and teaching story?

As educators, we want to give our students every opportunity to succeed and complete their course of study. It’s also part of our compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework TEQSA expects that:

the learning resources provided and recommended are appropriate to the level of the course of study, consistent with the expected learning outcomes and modes of participation, and accessible when needed (including for individuals with special needs)

HESF Domain 3.3

In their related guidance note TEQSA also points out that it will:

assess the adequacy of more general educational support provided to students who are at risk (or potentially at risk) of not making sufficient progress, such as support for language development and building of academic study skills

Section 3.3

What did it look like?

Information and support from Academic Skills were embedded in the subject outline and study guide. Usually, a first-year business CSU on-campus subject would receive a visit from an Academic Skills Advisor in week 2 of session. However, because of the distance and likely connectivity issues video conferencing to the campus, we pre-recorded videos via CSU Panopto, which works fine in China! The following videos were created:

This video (click to open) was created to assist students in an assessment. Narrated by Phil Edwardes (Academic Skills Advisor)
This video was created to assist with referencing.
Narrated by Tricia Bowman (Senior Client Services)

How can you make this happen?

Understanding the needs/ backgrounds of your students can help ensure the resources provided cater to their needs. Academic Skills can help review the language used in your subject outline, assessment instructions, rubric, and study guide as well as designing academic support tools and strategies to support your students. Academic Skills provides a free support service, 7 days a week, to all online and on-campus CSU students including study guides, appointments, draft assignment feedback, online workshops, discussion forum. Academic Skills Advisors can help academic staff create customised content and provide feedback including:

  • course reviews;
  • reviews of Subject Outlines, rubrics, assessments, and documentation; and
  • contextualised strategies, workshops, and other resources.

Academic Skills:

  • saves you time;
  • facilitates student learning and performance;
  • builds better rubrics;
  • provides what you and your students need, when you need it; and
  • increases compliance with CSU Policies, TEQSA, professional standards.

All that Debbie Wheeler, our Academic Skills Manager, asks for is a little notice – don’t ask a week before your subject outline is due for QA! I usually start a conversation 2-3 months before session, which allows for plenty of time for feedback and tweaking.

Please note that the process is a collaborative effort – they won’t take a lead role and do the work. How I approached it was by pitching my ideas and drafting material (or referred to something that had been done in another subject), then I would receive feedback, or, we would then work together and get to the final version.