Improve the quality in higher education. Here is how to do it.

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Notice: This article is available in Mandarin. You find it at the end of this report.

Published: 25 May 2020

© Copyright (2020). Antonios Papadimitriou Anthony Eric of MAE. All rights reserved.

Wordcount: 4055

This article briefly explains how to improve student performance by enhancing the quality of higher education institutions (HEI) in China and Vietnam and nearby regions; referred to as far east Asia (FEA). (HEI) solely covers universities and colleges in (FEA).

The ideas in this paper are derived from secondary research (academic databases including proquest.com) and my own experience of having taught approximately 1000 university students at 4 different universities in Vietnam and China in 2017-2020. I am usually getting some 250-300 students per semester; 2 semesters per year since 2017 = 6 semesters up to date. 300 x 6 = 1,800. 1,000 students is a light number but a very trustworthy figure in this context.

Topics not discussed in this article include the provision of a competitive salary for highly skilled and knowledgeable foreign teachers. Private (HEI) attracting students of rich parents paying high tuition fees, should definitely afford to pay international and competitive salaries together with viable pension schemes for qualified teachers. It’s a pity that primary and secondary learning centers in (FEA) too often offer higher salaries than (HEI), just as international K12 schools tend to offer a better remuneration package than (HEI). No further discussions are done about this in this report because it would be beyond the scope, however, I would like to encourage further research concerning how a competitive salary attracts qualified teachers and how it would keep them longer in the business and how this impacts the quality of (HEI) including employer brand reputation and student performance. This article does not discuss the importance of building a strong education brand, and how this can be done in the 21st century in far east Asia. All aspects of the quality in (HEI) are not covered because it would exceed the word limits of this report. In addition, I have excluded the effectiveness of online learning and how online learning leads to improved student performance. It is recommended to conduct future research on how to build an optimized online learning program for undergraduate and graduate students at (HEI) in far east Asia.

Let’s briefly explain the notion of foreign teachers in (FEA). Institutions in (FEA) place great emphasis on getting a foreign face; it’s a common phenomenon. But a majority of foreign teachers in (FEA) are not qualified to teach at a certain level and Chinese/Vietnamese (FEA) students shall never be lured to think that a white face ultimately means high-quality teaching. When referring to foreign teachers in this report; I am emphasizing foreigners with a background like my own: born in Europe (the western world; USA, EU, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland); at least a dual university degree holder, +15 years combined expertise in business and teaching; worked and studied in different nations with multidisciplinary and multifunctional experience. Such extensive background offers competitive ideas and proven advice that works in business, and that more likely leads to jobs and a better career because, I’ve been there, and I know what it takes to succeed and fail.

I would like to start this report by explaining the meaning of student performance and why this topic is important. Secondly, I am discussing key factors that are correlated with improved quality at higher education institutions (HEI). Key factors are supported by researchers shown at the end of this article under the section of references.

Firstly, student performance includes how well students meet their goals, and it is impacted by how well students are provided subject matter expertise that is directly applicable in the industry after graduation. What is the purpose of education at (HEI) if it doesn’t lead to a job after graduation? Student performance can be correlated with how well a student achieves at least 2:1, which is critical to increasing the chance of landing a suitable and satisfactory job after graduation, as the job market is getting intensively competitive. And with the downside of AI artificial intelligence and robots killing white-collar jobs at a rapid speed never seen before; this doesn’t make the qualified and well-paid job market easier to enter in the 21st century. Student performance covers a sense of feeling satisfied with teachers’ correspondence, and teacher qualities. It happens that I come across talks with deans who carry the notion that: “just let the students learn something new”, while I wholeheartedly focus on teaching students what they need to know to succeed in business and their lives after graduation.

Key factors concerning improved quality of (HEI) include: (1) teaching quality (2) school environment including teaching facilities. (1) Teaching quality includes (1a) teacher feedback (1b) teacher dress (1c) curriculum (1d) teacher background.

In regards to teacher feedback (1a), the good old days delivered a reality where teachers interacted with students mainly on email, and face-to-face, on campus. I clearly remember life as an MBA postgraduate student in the UK in 2010-2011. I got most of my questions answered by talking to teachers on class breaks and by visiting their office during office hours. One of the most counterproductive ways of learning is to let questions go unanswered. Once you sit the exam, you are supposed to compare and critique ideas, but it is going to be hard if you didn’t understand theory and concepts before taking the exam. Talking to ambitious study buddies often provide valuable clarifications. Nevertheless, teachers today, in the year of 2020, are expected to answer students quickly, and of course, accurately. Through student quality surveys of hundreds of (HEI) students’ last 3 years, I got to understand that the latter is important for improved student performance and enhanced student satisfaction. When teaching in China at (HEI) I use WeChat, emailing, and Zoom APP when communicating with my students. In Vietnam, I tend to use Facebook and Gmail hangout. It is important to listen to how students want to communicate and not how the teacher wants to communicate. The hours for two way online communication shall be agreed with the administration office such as to be online 4 hours per day, Monday to Friday, and it is suggested that teachers don’t make the mistake to always be available 24/7/365. Make sure to get some rest between tutorials and communication sessions and to get time over for research and to correct homework, assignments and exams. Moreover, feedback given to students must be constructive, unbiased, and free of prejudice and favoritism shall be excluded at all times. Don’t give some students more/better answers because you favor them before someone else. It creates a sense of injustice and an (HEI) shall be an institution promoting fairness, righteousness and social inclusion. The purpose of feedback is to clarify and enhance understanding, and not to confuse or mislead students. Feedback shall be underpinned by academic literature, and teacher’s subject matter expertise on top of important industry experience.

That’s why higher-level students and professionals enjoy my business and public speaking classes; I am from the business world and I bring a dual view when answering questions that enhance student’s understanding. Dual-view in terms of offering +10 years of my invaluable industry expertise, that comes with real business experiences, on top of, academic theory from high-level literature and articles found in databases. A recognized and highly successful teacher must promote solutions that are effective and work in the industry, in the business world, after graduation, or we are stuck in the graveyard of teaching students outdated, untested and counterproductive textbook theories that nobody talks about after graduation and that is not demanded by employers. Several researchers at (HEI) are busy addressing correlations and dependencies of factors, and to rank the importance of factors through SPSS/Anova tests. Nevertheless, teachers at (HEI) need to add effective frameworks, concepts, tools and techniques that are demanded by the business world so students get the most out of the time studying at (HEI).

Having spoken about teacher feedback, as part of ensuring and improving teaching quality at (HEI), and improving student performance, we are now going to look at teacher’s dress (1b) that can have a profound impact on learner’s study performance at (HEI). I remember myself turning-up in good looking but short trousers, a white long sleeve shirt and a tie, when teaching in Xiamen where it is hot and humid most of the year. One of the students asked me about the dress policy at the school, and I politely answered that there is no strict rule for using short trousers (khaki styled). Sometime after that discussion, it came to my mind that dress may have an impact on how students judge you as a teacher so I did some research. What I found was that the researchers shown in the reference list of this article state that students get more motivated to listen to an (HEI) teacher when dressed-up professionally. A professional dress gains respect and admiration according to the researchers mentioned at the end of this report, and a well-dressed teacher comes across as organized, tidy and well planned. He/she becomes an authority that is seen to bring respected knowledge and skills to the course. However, a professional dress may also signal distance between teachers and students, and it is therefore vital to communicate a teacher’s wishes to collaborate in an open, close, and friendly atmosphere with the students.

The next key factor impacting student performance and quality in (HEI)  is the curriculum (1c). With low salaries when teaching in (FEA) and with unviable remuneration packages that lack sufficient pension schemes to survive on, concerning the living costs of a retired teacher in the western world, it is easy to get stuck on the same curriculum year in and year out due to factors impacting satisfaction and motivation: salary, given teacher support by the administration office, teacher treatment, and facilities. In the ideal world, a responsible and highly qualified, well-paid teacher at (HEI) should improve the curriculum at least year on year, and the process of doing so shall be simplified and less bureaucratic. Curriculum improvements include how students are assessed, the weighting scores of assessments and questions used on assessments. Improving the curriculum also includes conducting ongoing studies in academic databases, and to provide new articles for homework and discussions that improve students’ learning and study performance. Literature shall be chosen that reflects the level and requirements of the (HEI) and newer literature shall be used to provide students with the latest research, concepts and methodologies. One weakness of teaching in (FEA) is that academic literature is seldom refunded by the institution, and some teachers choose to go with outdated literature found for free online. As part of updating the curriculum, it is important to include practical exercises that reflect a new and changing reality in the business world and to include activities that train learners in conducting presentations, solving problems, finding business data, collaborating in teams when solving problems as well as presenting findings convincingly. Students are expected to manage these key knowledge areas when applying for a white-collar job, so it is a perfect time starting at the college. An (HEI) teacher may not have to develop a curriculum from scratch depending on the topic taught, instead, find a curriculum online and make it better; why reinvent the ‘curriculum wheel’ again? Websites like edx.org and coursera.org in combination with peer discussions as well as a teacher’s academic and business experience would do well when improving the curriculum leading to improved quality and student performance.

Following the curriculum for improved student performance and enhanced quality at (HEI) is the teacher’s background and there are a lot of unqualified and junior foreign teachers in (FEA) looking for some ‘quick bang for buck’. A sad story among the bricks and mortar learning centers (I am not talking about higher education institutions) in far east Asia (FEA), is that too many students are not being told the truth. This is my experience when I temporarily taught at learning centers for a few months. Students are placed on wrong levels so the morally corrupt and unethical learning centers earn more money on each student, and students are being told all sorts of fancy stories, high-level backgrounds and extraordinary achievements of the young and unqualified teachers that are blunt lies. This happens to attract learners to learning centers. I haven’t experienced this at the same extent when teaching at (HEI) in (FEA) and (HEI) are absolutely much better places to be than the classical ‘bricks and mortar’ learning centers found on the streets, although, the salary often is lower at (HEI). Concerning learning centers, too many of those, are no more than a bunch of hypocrites, liars and educational cheaters and I feel sad about local hardworking students being stuck in long term language training contracts in a belief that the learning centers deliver “value” and “quality”.

Nevertheless, I promote university and college teachers with a mixed background concerning academic and industry expertise because the white-collar industry that carries successful and well-reputed global employers hire a mix of talents from all over the world and from all walks of life. Let me give you an example of a teacher I had at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden; Mr. Per Wallander. He taught GSM networks and mobile operations in the 1990th and early 2000 on the engineering program. He wrote books, and brought over 3 decades of fascinating industry expertise; he was part of building the first mobile networks at the biggest telecom operator in Sweden, Telia. His university lessons were detailed and easy to understand, and he brought state-of-the-art examples from the real telecom world and we did laboratory experiments under his surveillance that led to the “eureka” experience multiple times. I wouldn’t care if he had a Ph.D. or not – but his subject matter expertise and teaching style were engaging and interesting. What else can you ask from a modern (HEI) teacher?

Accordingly, I promote that universities and colleges hire a mix of PhDs and MBAs teachers full-time, in order to bring combined industry expertise and the know-how of applying theories and concepts into effective solutions and business practices. Politics and biased attitudes of looking down at anybody without a Ph.D. must stop immediately, as it hampers students’ optimal learning in my view. I understand that universities need PhDs and professors to conduct research that leads to publications that give (HEI) recognition and public funds. However, with the spread of the Internet, researchers can be found worldwide and (HEI) should take the opportunity to hire global researchers for the single purpose to conduct and publish reports in the name of the university through mutually beneficial agreements. (HEI) should intensify the hiring of teachers of mixed backgrounds that show a passion for learning (continuous learning, writing books and manuals) and who love to teach and inspire learners to go beyond what is expected to pass a program. Non-PhDs are also capable of doing research, especially case study research and literature reviews including primary and secondary data. An exceptional teacher writes blogs, books and study manuals on his spare-time and he/she is always looking for the latest knowledge and research that add value to (HEI) students. My recommendation is therefore that (HEI) look for a mix of local and international teachers with a multinational and multidisciplinary background for the simple reason that the world has come closer with IT and successful enterprises seek people from all walks of life. This mix of workers tends to give birth to competitive inventions, ideas as well as it generates creativity which benefits enterprises seeking an edge over competition.

Finally, having discussed the teacher’s background in the previous section, we are now going to cover the final part in this report; the school environment with consideration taken to (HEI) in far east Asia (FEA). Covered in this section is a school environment that improves the quality at (HEI) and that leads to enhanced student performance. First and foremost, ventilation shall be made comfortable and offer clean air (sounds obvious, but that is not always the case) and it shall not create unnecessary noises that impact students’ ability to stay focused. Lighting shall not make eyes tired, so too strong or too weak lighting shall be avoided. Expertise would be able to tell what lighting is most optimal for classroom learning. Projectors shall not be noisy, and they shall make it easy to see what is shown on a PowerPoint. Classrooms and the campus shall be equipped with high-speed Internet with no restriction on access to global websites used in learning purpose. Although I’m an engineer, I’m not a big fan of hyper-tech smartboards, but technology enthusiasts make a point that smartboards make it easier, and faster to find education documentation, and to share classroom notes with students. Whiteboards shall be available and the old blackboards with crayons shall be banned in the 21st century. It takes less time to write on a whiteboard than on a blackboard and I don’t have to inhale the white dust left from the crayons; crayons that usually break in pieces when being used. A modern (HEI) shall invest in an effective LMS learning management system, or at least, refund teachers for using third party solutions online. It is so much easier to keep track of a student’s progress by using online study platforms together with better visibility of submitted homework and with options to give effective real-time feedback digitally. An LMS that tells the teacher where students struggle with homework, and who is submitting what helps the teacher to give timely personal feedback that leads to improved student performance (feedback on weaknesses and misunderstandings). My students in far east Asia admire structured and explanatory video tutorials and these shall be made available on effective online study platforms. Weaker students can check these videos anytime, anywhere, and when there are weaknesses in the English language which is a common phenomenon, a student can run a video tutorial as many times as needed until understanding is maximized.

In regards to the bathroom (restroom), bacterial killing hand soap and toilet paper shall never be absent, to minimize the spread of germs and viruses. What could hamper productivity and student performance more than being on sick leave? In addition, (HEI) in far east Asia shall be equipped with modern libraries and with student support for writing essays and finding information. Modern scanners, printers and copy machines shall be offered because modern facilities make sharing of knowledge so much easier; it saves time and helps with understanding subjects taught. The canteen shall offer healthy snacks and healthy and refreshing drinks that keep students energetic, and at the same time minimizing risks of obesity.

Moreover, (HEI) shall offer advanced administration support that minimizes static and administrative teacher work. One example is that student exam results shall be read by a machine that corrects answers in cases it’s possible. Having teachers ticking 20 questions per student of a total of 300 students, in the 21st century, is ineffective and extremely counterproductive. A teacher needs to spend his/her time on communicating with students, updating curriculum and conducting research and readings of new literature that can be used in actual and upcoming courses. It is also vital that the administration brings the right students on courses that meet the entry requirements, and better communication between teachers and administration is urgently needed to make this work. Having students on a course with wrong expectations or insufficient language skills too often leads to lower satisfaction scores on teaching quality surveys and highly recognized and skilled teachers may suddenly come across as less qualified (or less appreciated) teachers. Moreover, it is advised that deans spend more time listening to foreign teachers’ ideas of improvements and to show that actions are taken to solve some of the inefficiencies and counterproductive procedures still existing in many (HEI) in far east Asia. Set aside politics, power struggle, hierarchy rules and management distance in top-down controlled and heavily centralized institutions and let the floor (the bottom line of teachers) be open with ideas that can make the institute an even better place for existing and future students. Teachers are the engine of any (HEI) and reputable teachers can boost a brand just as easily as it can break a brand if being left disappointed and dissatisfied when leaving school.

In conclusion, this report aimed at explaining how to improve the quality at (HEI) higher education institutes in far east Asia (FEA) that takes into consideration improved student performance. Key areas discussed included what student performance implies, followed by explaining why this topic is important. Factors impacting the quality at (HEI) include teaching quality in terms of teacher feedback, the curriculum, teacher background, teacher dress and school environment. The school environment highlighted facilities, teacher support and a better cooperation between foreign teachers and deans. This report is a shortened version of a complete report by Anthony Eric Antonios Papadimitriou including student surveys showing actual satisfaction, motivation and expectations at a famous top 10 private university college in southeast China. The complete report digs deeper into the areas named above, and claims are underpinned by recognized global researchers.

Written by

Anthony Eric Antonios Papadimitriou

Papadimitriou, Antonios

Senior university teacher & corporate trainer

Founder of MAE

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References

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Zaifudin Zainol et al. (2018). Digital disruption in higher learning education : the implementation of blended learning for undergraduates. Global business and management research: an international journey. Vol 10 No 3.

Si Na Kew et al. (2018). Examining the motivation level of students in e-learning in higher education institution in Thailand: A case study. Springer science and business media.

Annette A.J Venter et al. (2019). What will it take to make a successful administrative professional in the fourth industrial revolution. SA Journal of human resource management.

Ashley Bear and David Skorton (2019). The world needs students with interdisciplinary education. Issues in science and technology.

Zoran Ivanovic and Ace Milenkovski (2019). Importance of new approaches in education for higher education institutions. UTMS Journal of economics. 10 (1) pp 67-76.

Sehar Rashid and Rizwan Akram Rana (2019). Relationship between the levels of motivation and learning strategies of prospective teachers at higher education level. Bulletin of education and research. Vol 41. No 1. pp 57-66.

Mohammad Abul Kashem (2019). The effect of teacher’s dress on student’s attitude and student’s learning: higher education view. Education research international. Volume 2019. Article ID 9010589

Gyran Prakash (2018). Quality in higher education institutions: insights from the literature. TQM journal Vol 30 No 6 pp 732-748.

Karen C H Zhoc  et.al (2016). Higher education student engagement scale (HESES): Development and Psychometric evidence. Springer science business media LLC.

本文简要介绍了如何通过提高中国和越南及周边地区(远东地区)高等教育机构的质量来提高学生的成绩与表现。本文所提高等教育机构只涵盖远东地区。

本文的主要思想来源于二手研究(学术数据库包含proquest.com)和本人2017-2020年在越南和中国的4所不同的大学执教过约1000多名学生的经验。本人通常每学期执教250-300名学生,自2017年起,按每年2个学期计算至今已6个学期,故300乘以6应已有1800名左右。虽然1800不是一个很大的数字,但在此情况下的研究统计分析也是比较可靠的。

本文并未讨论“为拥有高级技能和知识渊博的外籍教师提供有国际竞争力的薪酬”这一话题。许多私立高等教育机构吸引了那些父母有经济能力、能够支付高额学费的学生,它们应当为具有高资质的老师支付具有国际竞争力的薪酬,以及推行可行的津贴方案。遗憾的是,远东地区的中小学教育机构提供的薪酬往往高于高等教育机构,就像国际K12学校提供的薪酬往往高于高等教育机构一样。此问题,由于超出本文范围,没有做进一步的讨论。然而,本人鼓励进一步研究以下问题:有竞争力的薪酬如何吸引有资质的教师、如何让这些教师在这个行业呆得更久,以及这如何影响高等教育机构的质量,包括机构的品牌声誉和学生的表现。本文没有讨论建立一个强大的教育品牌的重要性,以及如何在21世纪的远东地区做到这一点。由于本报告字数有限,本文并不能全面涵盖有关高等教育机构的质量方面的问题。此外,本文也不讨论“线上学习的有效性以及线上学习如何提高学生的成绩”方面的内容。故建议以后“对如何为远东地区的本科生和研究生建立一个优化的线上学习计划”的问题进行进一步的研究。

让我们先简单解释一下远东地区对外籍教师的概念。大多数情况下,远东地区的机构非常重视在学生面前展示一张“外国脸”。但是我在远东地区见到的绝大多数外籍教师都没有执教他们目前所在水平或者级别的资质,而且中国籍或越南籍的学生绝对不应该被这种现象引导产生“外籍白人脸的教师就代表着高质量的教育”这种思想。我在报告中提及的“外籍教师”应当如下:我强调的是跟我背景类似的外国人:出生于欧洲(或来自于西方世界:美国、欧盟、加拿大、澳洲、英国、爱尔兰);至少拥有双学位(以我为例:英国-国际商务工商管理硕士,瑞典-工程学士);拥有15年以上的商业及教学的综合专业知识和经验;至少在4个以上不同的国家工作和学习过(这会使人拥有多元化的思想和更丰富的社交);多专业(我曾从事过教育,保险,IT和电信行业)和多岗位(我曾从事教育/培训,销售,项目管理,创建企业,客户参与度,客户咨询等多个岗位)的经验。只有这样丰富而全面的背景才能够帮助学生们提出有竞争力的想法并给予他们在商界已经被验证过的经验建议,这些在2020年甚至以后都会十分有用,甚至有可能带来更好工作、开创更好的职业生涯,因为我曾亲身经历和实践过,我知道成功和失败需要什么。

在报告中,首先我想解释一下“学生的表现(学生成绩)”的意义以及为什么这个话题很重要。其次,我讨论了与提高高等教育机构质量相关的关键因素。提到的关键因素得到了研究人员的支持,显示在本文末尾的参考文献部分。

首先,“学生的表现(学生成绩)”包括学生达到目标的程度,而学生在毕业后获得的直接应用于该行业的学科专业知识的程度会影响“学生的表现(学生成绩)”。如果毕业后找不到一份满意的工作,那么在高等教育机构接受教育的目的是什么?“学生的表现(学生成绩)”与学生达到2:1 (B)的成绩有相关性,这对于增加学生毕业后找到一份合适的、令人满意的工作的机会至关重要,因为就业市场竞争越来越激烈。随着人工智能和机器人以前所未有的速度夺走白领的工作,在21世纪,高质量、高收入的就业市场会更难进入。“学生的表现(学生成绩)”是学生对老师是否与学生相配(匹配度)以及对教师素质的满意程度的体现。我碰巧遇到一些高校院长和领导,他们的想法是:“让学生学习新东西”,然而我却是全心全意地教授学生在毕业后的生活中、在商界成功所需要的知识。

与高等教育机构质量提高相关的关键因素包括:(1)教学质量(2)包括教学设施在内的学校环境。(1)教学质量包括(1a)教师反馈(1b)教师着装(1c)课程(1d
)教师背景。在教师反馈方面(1a),我旧时的美好经历告诉我,曾经教师与学生的互动主要是通过电子邮件和面对面在校园里进行的。我清楚地记得2010-2011年在英国读MBA研究生时的生活,我大部分问题的答案的解决都是在课间休息时和老师交谈以及在办公时间去他们的办公室完成的。如果问题得不到解决,不知道答案,那学习就会适得其反。考试时,你的脑海本应该依据掌握的内容对解决问题的方法进行对比和批判,但是如果你在连理论和概念都不理解的情况下参加考试就会变得非常困难。与“学霸”交谈常常能得到有价值的解释和答案。然而,如今2020年的老师,被期望能够快速、准确地回答学生的问题。通过对数百名高等教育机构的学生近3年的学生质量调查,我了解到后者(老师能够快速准确地回答学生的问题)对于提高学生成绩和提高学生满意度很重要。在中国的高等教育机构教学时,我使用微信,电子邮件和缩放应用程序与我的学生交流。在越南,我倾向于使用Facebook和Gmail hangout。了解并倾听学生想要如何交流,而不是教师自己想要如何交流,这一点很重要。教师与学生的双向在线交流时间应与学校的行政处商定,如周一至周五每天在线4小时,建议教师最好一年365天每天24小时保持通信畅通尽量不要出错。教师确保在辅导课和交流会议之间得到一些休息,并留出时间进行研究和修改家庭作业、作业和考试。此外,给学生的反馈必须是建设性的,不偏不倚的,任何时候都应排除偏见和偏袒。教师不得因更喜爱某些学生而给他们更好的建议或答案。否则会造成一种不公正的氛围,而一个高等教育机构应该是一个促进公平、正义和社会包容的机构。反馈的目的是解决问题和提高学生的理解,而不是迷惑或误导学生。反馈应以学术文献、教师的学科专业知识以及重要的行业经验为基础。

这就是为什么高水平的学生和专业人士青睐我的商业和公共演讲课程;由于我来自商界,当我回答问题时,我“商业和学术的二元观”能够提高学生的理解力。“二元观”提供了10年以上宝贵的行业专业知识和经验,这些经验来自真实的商业经验,此外,学术理论来自数据库中的高水平文献和文章。公认的非常成功的教师必须改进和促进在行业里、在商界、在学生毕业后对他们有效和管用的解决问题的方案,否则,我们就陷入了教授学生过时的、未经检验的、适得其反的和学生毕业之后在社会和行业根本就接触不到的教科书理论的死胡同,这些理论企业雇主是不需要的。一些在高等教育机构的研究人员正忙于研究处理各种因素的相关性和依赖性,并通过SPSS/Anova方差分析测试对各种因素的重要性进行排序。然而,高等教育机构的教师需要加入商界和基于现实实践所需要的有效的框架、概念、工具和技术,这样学生才是充分利用了在高等教育机构学习的时间。

谈到教师反馈,作为确保和提高高等教育机构教学质量的一部分,并提高学生的表现,我们现在要看看教师的穿着(1b),可以对学生在高等教育机构的学习表现有深远的影响。我记得自己在厦门教书的时候,穿着好看的短裤,白色长袖衬衫,打着领带,因为厦门一年中的大部分时间都是炎热潮湿的。有个学生问我学校的着装规定,我礼貌地回答说,穿卡其风格的短裤并没有严格的规定。这次讨论之后,我想到了穿着可能会影响学生对老师的评价,所以我做了一些调查研究。我发现,研究人员在文献中指出,学生在教师穿着职业装时更有动力去听教师讲课。研究人员在报告的最后提到,职业着装会赢得尊重和赞赏,而穿着得体的老师给人的印象是有条理、整洁、有计划和准备的,这会使这名老师成为一种将值得尊重的知识和技能带进课堂的权威。然而,职业化的服装也可能拉开老师和学生之间的距离,因此,在一个开放、亲密、友好的氛围中老师向学生表达自己的合作意愿是至关重要的。

影响学生在高等教育机构表现和素质的下一个关键因素是课程(1c)。在远东地区教学,由于低工资与欠妥的薪酬方案以及缺乏足够保障生活的津贴,同时考虑到西方世界的退休教师生活成本很高,外籍教师受工资、行政部门给予教师的支持、教师待遇和教学设施等影响满意度和积极性的因素影响,很容易被困住,年复一年重复教授相同的课程。在理想的情况下,一个负责任的、高素质的、高收入的教师至少应该逐年改进课程,而且这个过程应该简化,避免官僚主义。课程改进通常包括如何评估学生,评估的权重分数和用于评估的问题。改进课程还包括在学术数据库中进行持续的研究,并为家庭作业和讨论提供新的文章资料,以提高学生的学习和学习成绩。选择文献研究并教学时,文献应符合高等教育机构水平和需求,使用更新的文献,为学生提供最新的研究、概念和方法。远东地区教学的一个缺点是学术文献很少得到机构的退款,一些教师选择使用网上免费找到的过时文献。更新课程,重要的是要包含反映商业世界中新的、变化的、符合现实的实践练习,并包含培训学生进行演示、解决问题、查找业务数据、在团队中协作解决问题,并能够有说服力地展示结果的活动。在申请白领水平的工作时,学生们被要求掌握这些关键的知识,所以大学是开始学习这些的最佳时机。高等教育机构的教师可能不需要根据所教的课题从零开始开发课程,而是可以在网上找到课程并优化,既然在edx.org和coursera.org这样的网站,就能够结合同行的讨论,以及学术和商业经验,并可以很好地改进课程来提高质量和学生表现,为什么还要从零开始研发课程呢?

讨论完课程以后,能够提升“学生的表现(学生成绩)”以及质量的就是教师的背景。有很多不具备资质的初级外籍教师在远东地区“挣快钱”,令人悲哀的是,在传统的学习中心(非高等教育机构),太多的学生没有被告知真相。这是我在学习中心临时教了几个月所了解到的。这些学生被安排到不合适甚至错误的学习阶段和水平,这样那些道德败坏的学习中心就能够在每一个学生身上获取更多的利益,这些学生被告知各种各样的“华丽的故事”,这些年轻和不具备资质教师的非凡成就以及他们的高水平背景都是赤裸裸的谎言。然而这还恰好吸引了学习者来到学习中心。但在远东地区的高等教育机构教书时,我还没有经历过这种程度的事情,高等教育机构绝对比街上传统的学习中心好得多,尽管高等教育机构的薪水往往更低。关于学习中心,太多的学习中心不过是一群伪君子、说谎者和教育骗子,我对当地勤奋学习的学生被困在长期的语言培训合同中感到难过,因为他们相信学习中心能带来价值并且是有质量的。

然而,我推崇的大学和高校教师在学术和行业专业知识方面有着复杂的背景,因为白领行业雇佣的人才来自世界各地和各行各业。举个例子,我在瑞典皇家理工学院的一位老师:Mr. Per Wallander。他在1990年代和2000年初教授GSM网络和移动操作工程课程,他著书立说,并拥有超过30年令人崇敬的行业专业知识。他参与了瑞典最大的电信运营商Telia的第一个移动网络的建设。他的大学课程很详细,很容易理解,他本人就是现实的电信界的活生生例子,我们在他的监督下在实验室做了实验,并获得了很多次发现。我不在乎他是否有博士学位——但他的学科专长和教学风格都很吸引人,也很有趣。你还能向像他这种水平现代大学教师多要求些什么呢?

因此,我建议大学和学院聘用全职的博士和MBA教师,以便将综合的行业专业知识和将理论和概念应用到有效的解决方案和商业实践中的诀窍结合起来。但是蔑视没有博士学位的人的政治和偏见也应立马停止,因为在我看来它会妨碍学生的最佳学习。我知道大学需要博士和教授来进行研究,然后发表论文,并得到高等教育机构的认可和公共基金。然而,随着互联网的普及,全球各地都可以找到研究人员,因此高等教育机构应该抓住机会雇佣全球的研究人员,并以大学的名义,通过互惠协议进行和发表报告。高等教育机构应该加强对不同背景的教师的招聘,尤其是表现出对学习的热情(持续学习,著书和手册),并且喜欢教学和激励学生超越自己所做项目预期的老师。非博士也能做研究,特别是基于案例的研究和文献综述,包括第一手和二手数据。一位杰出的教师会在业余时间写博客、写书、写学习手册,并且他/她总是在寻找能为学生带来价值的最新知识和研究。因此,我的建议是高等教育机构应寻求一种具有多国和多学科背景的本地以及国际教师的融合,原因很简单,世界与IT越来越近,成功的企业寻找各行各业的人。员工的这种融合往往会产生具有竞争力的发明、创意以及创造力,这有利于寻求竞争优势的企业。

最后,在上一节讨论了教师的背景之后,我们现在要讲的是这篇报告的最后一部分,远东地区高等教育机构的学校环境。本节所述的是改善高等教育机构质量及提高学生成绩与表现的学校环境。首先,通风设备应该是舒适的,提供干净的空气(听起来很简单,但并不总是这样),不应该制造不必要的噪音,影响学生集中注意力的能力。光线不应使眼睛疲劳,避免太强烈或太弱的光线,有经验的教职工应能够判断出什么灯光最适合课堂学习。投影仪不应该有噪音,而且应该能让学生很容易地看到幻灯片上的内容。教室和校园应配备高速互联网,不限制访问用于学习目的的全球网站。虽然我是一名工程师,但我不喜欢使用高科技智能黑板,但喜欢使用的科技爱好者认为,智能黑板使查找教学资料和与学生分享课堂笔记变得更容易、更快,这有一定的道理。21世纪,应该使用白板,使用粉笔的旧黑板应被禁止。在白板上写字比在黑板上写字花的时间要少,而且不用吸入粉笔留下的白色灰尘;,况且粉笔使用时通常会折断。一个现代的高等教育机构应该投资一个有效的LMS学习管理系统,或至少报销教师使用第三方在线解决方案的费用。通过使用具有提交作业可见性并提供有效的数字实时反馈选项的在线学习平台,跟踪学生的学习进度会容易得多。LMS可以告诉老师学生在作业上遇到的困难,以及谁提交的作业,这都有助于老师及时给出个人反馈,从而提高学生的成绩与表现(对错误、弱点和误解给出反馈)。我在远东的学生喜欢结构化的、阐述性的视频教程,这些在有效的在线学习平台上更容易被实现并被发布。程度较差的学生可以随时随地查看这些视频,当他们的英语存在薄弱之处(这是一种普遍现象)时,学生可以根据需要多次运行视频教程,直到最大程度地理解。

卫生间绝不可缺少杀菌洗手液和手纸,应尽量减少细菌和病毒的传播。还有什么比请病假更能影响工作学习效率和学生的成绩与表现呢?此外,远东地区的高等教育机构应配备现代化图书馆,并为学生提供写作和查找信息的支持。学校还应提供现代化的扫描仪、打印机和复印机,因为现代化的设施使知识的分享容易得多,既节省时间,又有助于理解所教的科目。食堂应提供健康的食品和健康清爽的饮料,使学生保持精力充沛,同时尽量减少肥胖的风险。

此外,高等教育机构应提供先进的管理支持,尽量减少教师的静态化和行政化(形式化)工作。举例说明,学生的考试批改应该由能够尽可能纠错的机器来完成,21世纪,还让老师为300名学生每个人批改20个答案是非常低效的,浪费时间和精力。一名教师应将他/她的时间花在与学生的交流、更新课程、研究和阅读可用于实际并帮助更新课程内容的新文献上。同样至关重要的是,管理部门要让合适的学生学习符合入学要求的课程,并且迫切需要教师和管理部门之间更好的沟通。而一门让学生产生错误预期或学生语言技能无法满足的课程,往往会导致教学质量调查的满意度得分较低,而原本得到高度认可和熟练的教师,可能会突然被视为资质较差(或不受赏识)的教师。除此之外,我建议远东地区高等教育机构的院长们花更多的时间听取外籍教师的改进意见,并表明已采取行动来解决仍然存在的一些效率低下和适得其反的现象和程序。呼吁在自上而下控制和权力高度集中的高校,把政治、权力斗争、等级制度和管理距离放在一边,让基层的教师多一些自由的空间和思想,为了现今和未来的学生,应当让学院成为更美好的地方。教师就是高校的引擎,声誉好的教师可以促进一个大学的品牌,如果基层教师离开学校的时候充满了失望和不满,那这所的大学的品牌可以说是崩塌了。

总之,本报告旨在解释如何提高远东地区高等教育机构的质量,以提高学生的成绩和表现。讨论的关键内容包括学生的成绩和表现的意义,以及为什么这个话题如此重要。影响高等教育机构质量和教学质量的因素包括教师反馈、课程设置、教师背景、教师着装和学校环境等方面。对学校环境的探究,突出了学校设施、对教师支持和外籍教师与院长之间更好的合作等问题。这份报告是Anthony Eric Antonios Papadimitriou的完整报告的简略版本,其中包括在一所中国东南部著名的前10名私立大学学院的学生调查显示的实际满意度,学生的主观能动性和期望。完整的报告对上述地区进行了更深入的挖掘,并得出了全球科研人员公认的结论。

 

作者

Anthony Eric Antonios Papadimitriou

大学高级教师,企业培训师

MAE创始人

MAE在远东地区提供的现代化教育和咨询服务,为商业专业人士和积极进取的高等教育学习者提供更好的学习体验和更好的学习成绩。Anthony Eric拥有国际商务工商管理硕士学位(成绩优异)和电子与经济工程学士学位(1:1)。他2004年毕业于瑞典,2011年毕业于英国,先后在IBM、德勤、伦敦国王学院、爱立信、伯明翰商学院以及Semcon和TietoEnator等国际知名机构接受培训。Anthony拥有以上11年的行业专业知识,将商业世界的深度和广度带到了课堂上,他主要在电信、IT和保险行业和领域担任过各种职位,如企业所有者、顾问、销售和项目经理。他在项目管理、商业运营以及商业相关主题的专业人员和大学生培训方面积累了多年宝贵的经验。Anthony带来了各种概念、框架和最新的学术研究,并结合经验证的行业解决方案,帮助学习者在就业市场上变得更有竞争力,实现他们的学习目标。Anthony写非虚构小说、学习手册以及关于他业余时间与教育和商业有关的文章,他在越南从事儿童慈善项目。Anthony Eric (Antonios Papadimitriou)讲希腊语,他瑞典语和英语流利,目前居住在香港和中国大陆。

 

 

 

 

参考文献

 

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