Editorial

in Learning and Teaching
Author:
Penny Welch
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Susan Wright
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In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, authors from the United Kingdom, Peru and Australia report on empirical research carried out with students or academics. Two of the articles are about the internationalisation of higher education, a theme this journal has covered quite extensively in the past. The other two articles concern the use of digital tools for teaching remotely and the design of a course unit to promote a sense of community amongst first-year undergraduates.

In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, authors from the United Kingdom, Peru and Australia report on empirical research carried out with students or academics. Two of the articles are about the internationalisation of higher education, a theme this journal has covered quite extensively in the past. The other two articles concern the use of digital tools for teaching remotely and the design of a course unit to promote a sense of community amongst first-year undergraduates.

In the first article, Wenya Cheng and Geethanjali Selvaretnam assess the impact of a classroom intervention aimed at increasing interactions between students from different countries and cultural backgrounds. The class of third- and fourth-year students of Economics included students from twenty different countries. For their assessed group project, each team was required to include students from at least two nationalities in their group of four. When surveyed towards the end of the semester, almost half the students believed that this arrangement had improved the quality of their work, but a similar number felt it had not made a difference. The diversity of knowledge and perspectives was the benefit most often mentioned. Half the students were in favour of School-level interventions to help students from different countries get to know each other better. There was strong support for tutors allocating students to groups and for more group discussion in class.

In the second article, Miguel Antonio Lim and Zhuo Min Huang show how international students can contribute to the internationalisation of the curriculum. They analysed the references used by Chinese students in an essay on education and development for an International Education MA in the United Kingdom. Over three academic years, the proportion of sources written by Chinese authors in Chinese or in English increased from 23 to 44 per cent. English-medium resources by Chinese writers were particularly popular, and the number used by students far exceeded the small number on the reading list. The authors advocate more encouragement to international students to use sources from their own countries and more inclusion of such sources on course reading lists.

In the third article, Bexi Perdomo, María del Carmen Llontop Castillo and Oscar Mas investigate the digital tools used by academics when teaching creative courses remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The university provided G-Suite (now Google Workspace), but the tutors used a range of other applications, software and platforms, including social media, for teaching, learning and communication with students. Emergency training in the use of digital tools was provided by the institution, but the authors conclude that a more systematic training programme for teaching staff and students is still required.

In the fourth article, Suzanne Hudson, Roslyn Franklin, Peter Hudson and Sarah James evaluate a first-year Health and Physical Education programme for intending primary school teachers. The course was deliberately designed to build a sense of community and belonging amongst the students as well as prepare them to teach fundamental movement skills effectively. After four weekly sessions of physical activities on campus, students went out in groups of four to teach physical education skills to all year groups in three different primary schools. At the end of the programme, almost all the students reported that they felt part of a community and were confident that they could complete all their assignments and teach the subject effectively.

The issue concludes with book reviews by Andrea R. Olinger, Alexander Williams and Davydd J. Greenwood. Our thanks go to the authors of the articles and book reviews, the anonymous referees who commented on the manuscripts, the Editorial Board and everyone at Berghahn Journals. This is the seventh issue that has been copy-edited, typeset and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Penny Welch and Susan Wright

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Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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