Academic journal article International Education Studies

Integrating Student-Centered Learning in Finance Courses: The Case of a Malaysian Research University

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Integrating Student-Centered Learning in Finance Courses: The Case of a Malaysian Research University

Article excerpt

Abstract

The student-centered learning (SCL) approach is an approach to education that focuses on learners and their needs, rather than relying upon the input of the teacher's. The present paper examines how the SCL approach is integrated as a learner-centered paradigm into finance courses offered at a business school in a research university in Malaysia. Specifically, this paper identifies how a learner-centered environment is integrated into teaching methods, learning activities and evaluation tools. Since the adoption of the SCL approach is partly to cater for the needs of the research university, the analysis of the courses is supported with responses from the respective lecturers. This study finds that the lecturers of the five courses examined have used active/interactive learning and group project approaches as standard teaching methods under the SCL approach which includes projects, class discussion and presentation. Alongside these standard methods, some of the courses use additional methods under the SCL approach, including real life experiential learning and case studies. For example, students of the Investment and Portfolio Analysis course are exposed to the real world investment decision making by investing funds in selected stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia. In terms of course evaluations, the courses place greater weight on continuous assessment based on group projects and presentations, while reduce the emphasis on examinations. Overall, implementing the SCL approach requires a careful design of the learning process, which includes the classroom setting; flexibility of the curriculum; teaching methods; evaluation policies; and course content. In general, the study demonstrates that SCL has great potential to function as an effective learning tool in an environment where the labor market demands generically skilled job candidates and in which universities are demanding further resources to be devoted to efforts relating to research and publications.

Keywords: student centered learning (SCL), life experiential learning, case study approach, research university, learning methods

1. Introduction

The present analysis is conducted a tone of the most established universities in Malaysia. Since its establishment in 1970, the university has gone through numerous changes; but none has impacted the faculty members in their professional endeavors as significantly as attaining the status of research university (RU). In an effort to increase the visibility of Malaysian universities among international students, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) conferred the RU status to universities with outstanding performance in regards to research publications. In October 2006, the university examined in the present study was one of four universities to obtain RU status. Since being conferred the RU status, the university has reported a significant increase in research outputs in regards to the number of articles published in high impact journals, which consequently resulted in increasing its status in the international rankings of top universities. To empower the research universities, the Malaysian government generously funds efforts towards research and publication activities through the provision of research grants to the RUs through various organizations, including MOHE and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). Despite the tremendous monetary and physical support, the time and energy of the researchers or faculty members are critical elements that are beyond the control of the Malaysian government or university management. Faculty members continue to be burdened with the normal teaching and administrative duties that constrain their abilities to continue to dedicate time and energy onto activities associated with research and publications. Since a RU places a much greater emphasis on the research and publication activities of its faculty members, less of the resources of faculty members (particularly time and energy) can be allocated to teaching activities. …

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