Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Graduate Students' Perspectives on Study Environment Based on Exit Survey

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Graduate Students' Perspectives on Study Environment Based on Exit Survey

Article excerpt

Abstract

Graduate exit survey was conducted in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, UKM for students graduating from Masters and PhD programs between June 2010 to May 2011. A random sampling was responded by 82 students consisting of Malaysian and international students. The survey consisted of four main parts: respondents' profile; assessment of learning gains; assessment of educational experience; assessment of academic and non-academic support issues and assessment of facilities and resources. All the data were analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 16.0. Learning gains were evaluated by relating the gains with six Program Outcomes (PO). PO6 on lifelong learning ability was marked "very good" by masters students (53.5%) whilst the majority of PhD students gave the highest score to PO1 on comprehension and in depth understanding of field study (72.7%). For educational experience, attribute on exposure to common and professional tools, was rated "excellent" with the highest percentage of 36.6%. A percentage of 42.7% was given to commitment of the lecturers/supervisors in assisting students for assessment of academic and non academic support issues. In terms of facilities and resources, security and safety was found to be the highest satisfactory factor (39.0%) among other factors.

Keywords: study environment, learning gains, program outcomes, educational experience

1. Introduction

1.1 Graduate Exit Survey

Graduate exit survey is a method of collecting information on the quality of graduate education from the perspectives of graduating students upon the completion of their degree programs. The Office of Postgraduate Studies for the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia recently completed an effort to get responses to exit surveys by students as they prepare to graduate with a master's degree or PhD. This survey asked graduate students about their experiences and perceptions they had as a graduate student. The responses were provided at program level, classified as either taught or research at master or doctoral levels, so that results could be used for program improvement. Such survey is important since the responses to the questions will be used to review and enrich the quality of the program so as to meet the future needs of the various stakeholders. The survey probes assessment on learning gains, educational experience, academic and non academic support issues and facilities and resources.

1.2 Program Outcomes

The degree to which students gain learning experience and knowledge significantly correlates with perceived learning outcomes (Haverila, 2011). In 2004, Malaysian universities started concerted effort in the implementation of Outcome Based Education (OBE) in the teaching of engineering. OBE is an educational philosophy that is founded on the idea that educational assessment should recognize and reflect progress made by individual students. Program Outcomes (PO) are statements that describe what graduates are expected to know or be able to do by the time of graduation. The faculty has devised 6 PO to specifically address the achievement of learning outcomes.

1.3 Educational Experiences

Educational experience and academic performance are two inter-related educational outcomes as educational experience fosters student achievement and confidence. The educational experience of the students was assessed in terms of the technical content of the program, team work, access of information, environmental and ethical issues in engineering, exposure to common and professional tools and students' confidence level.

Relations between staff(whether academic or non academic) and students will provide learning environment which enable students to fulfill their personal potential. A healthy work environment can only be created if the academic stafffoster positive relationships with the students, conducting themselves at all times in ways that are consistent with the university policy and procedures. …

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