Small scale research: Future of university education

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1.  Small scale research on “What do UEL students think about the future of university education and reasons behind such thinking”.

1.1    Research background

International-linked programs refer to twinning programs, credit-transfer programs, and international university branch campuses (Akiba 2008, p.11). In many cases a twinning program contract allow a local university other education institutions to offer part of whole of an international program.


In this study, we will try to approach to the topic of “What do UEL students think about the future of university education and reasons behind such thinking” using survey and interview.


1.2    Problem definition


1.2.1            Research questions


How UEL students like the UEL 3+0 Twinning Program?


What are the motivators behind the choice of UEL 3+0 Twinning Program?


Do UEL students agree that Twinning Programs will represent a future trend of the Malaysia education?


1.2.2            Research objectives      To find out the popularity of UEL 3+0 Twinning Program in the current UEL students’ mind      To list out the motivators behind the choice of UEL 3+0 Twinning Program      To check UEL students’ mind that whether they agree that Twinning Programs will represent a future trend of the Malaysia education


1.3    Research methodology


1.3.1            Research design


As a small scale research, this research will employ a descriptive and casual research mode. A descriptive research provides data describing the “who, what, when, where and how” of an issue while casual research aims at offering reasons behind some facts (Crosby, DiClemente & Salazar 2006, p.78). We will look into the issue of Twinning Program between HELP and UEL and see how students think about such program as a trend of the education future in Malaysia.


1.3.2            Data collection methods


Two major types of collection methods will be applied in this study: survey and face to face interview. A small scale survey is possible since the UEL students will be available around the HELP campus and it is more direct and easier to obtain the first hand information from them. The survey will be done in form of questionnaire, a survey questionnaire is most often involves a questionnaire used to measure the characteristics and/or attitudes of people (Albarracín, Johnson & Zanna 2005, p.52). The questionnaire will have questions probing into the attitudes of the UEL students to the topic regarding the role of Twinning Program in the future education development in Malaysia. Though the questionnaire may just have several questions but obtaining the answers to these questions, it would be enough for us to come to some conclusions to the research questions as this is a small scale research. Another data collection method applied in the carrying out the data collection process is the face to face interview which is a kind of personal interview. While the questionnaire survey is carried out in a written form, the interview form of data collection will have some benefits over the written surveys. According to Belle Ruth Witkin and James W. Altschuld (1995, p.149), face to face interview will allow the interviewees to have opportunity for free expression and for revealing the attitudes and feelings which is very limited in the surveys due to the survey questionnaires are in a structured form and written way. And also as interviewer, we will be able to use a face to face interview with the candidates to further look into the specific questions that may be found out during the interview and also probe into the causes behind some behaviors.


1.3.3            Sampling


Sampling refers to the process of selecting a sample a sample from the population of interests in order to achieve that the results obtained by the participants would be fairly generalized from the target population (Nicholas 2008, p.31). As we target at the UEL students in a small scale research, we decide to perform a simple random sample gives each member of the population an equal chance of being chosen among the only the UEL students to obtain the needed information. In term of the volume of the sampling, we will choose a sample of 9 students. And in order to avoid collecting information from a single class, we will do the survey and questionnaire by three days, interviewing three students a day to make sure that within this limited number of participants, the outcome of the results would still be representative and thus generalized.


1.4    Sample of the survey questionnaire and interview questions

What is your age? Below 18 18-20 20-24 24 and above
What is your gender? Male Female
Which year of your study that you are doing? 1st year 2nd year 3rd year 4th year and above
How good do you think the UEL Twinning Program is?




Not sure Not good Good Very good
What are the motivators behind the choice of UEL  Twinning Program (multiple choices)?


Good track record (certificate) Tuition is cheaper Capabilities learn in the program Families’ hope or friend’s recommendations
Do you agree that Twinning Programs will represent a future trend of the Malaysia education?


Not agree Not sure Agree Strong agree

Table 1 Sample of the survey questionnaire


If you have second chance to choose, will you still choose to enroll in an international-linked program?
What are the disadvantages of taking the UEL Twinning Program?
Will you continue to do a master in Malaysia?
If you continue to do a master in Malaysia, are you still interested in considering taking an international-linked program?
Do you think a 3+0 program is better or 2+1, 1+2 modes are better? And why?

Table 2 Sample of the interview questions


1.5    Research outcomes and analysis


1.5.1            Information of the participants


In the end of the survey questionnaires and interview, we have invited 9 students as we had planned. Among these 9 participants, 3 are female while 6 are male; this configuration is within our expectation since we have more male students than female. And also we have 4 of them doing their first year study, 3 in their second year while the remaining 2 are in their third years. Also we have 5 Chinese students, 2 local students and 2 African students in term of original country and area.


1.5.2            Evaluations on the UEL Twinning Program


Based on the survey questionnaire, we have 3 students ranking the UEL Twinning Program as “Not good”, 3 students ranked it as “Good” and 3 students ranked as “Very good”. By the following interview, we have asked question “What are the disadvantages of taking the UEL Twinning Program” and also additional questions based on the reply of the students, we have found out that many students become disappointed about the UEL Twinning Program after the first time that they are failed in a subject. And the reasons given to rank the program as “not good” are majorly concerning the “insufficient communication and coordination between HLP and UEL”, “too difficult to understand the lecturers’ class” and “the class time change frequently”. But still the majority of the participants ranked the program as good or even very good because of the high quality of education that they had experienced.


1.5.3            Motivators behind the choice of UEL Twinning Program


Among the four choices for the motivators behind the choice of UEL Twinning Program, respectively 8 of 9 and 7 of 9 acknowledge that “Good track record (certificate)” and “Tuition is cheaper” are their key motivators toward the decision to take the program. And also 6 of them expect useful capabilities learn in the program and 4 of them actually had families’ hope or friend’s recommendations before they take the course. When interviews followed up this topic, and students were asked “Will you continue to do a master in Malaysia?” and If you continue to do a master in Malaysia, are you still interested in considering taking an international-linked program?”, 5 of them showed interest to continue to do a master in Malaysia and among these five students, 3 suggested that they have plan to continue to choose an international-linked program. These students also expressed their view on the reasons why they would like to take international-linked program, and one most common reply is that “I have taken a UK course, and there is no mean that I will take a Malaysian local course when I enroll into a master program”, this reply seems to have a reflection on these students’ mind and thinking irrespective of whether such thinking is right or inappropriate. When additional questions like “which country you will prefer if you choose to continue your study in term of doing a master degree”, many of them have expressed interest in taking a one year lasting master degree in business. The two major reasons given are: though the education and living cost in UK is high, the one year long program means a lot of cost saving while obtaining a UK master certificate; and also the students have been studying the UK program for long and have been familiar with the requirement of assignments and education methods that the UK education institutions such as universities could likely follow and thus there would be less difficulty to get adapted to the education system in UK.


1.5.4            Twinning Programs as a trend of the Malaysia education


When ask “Do you agree that Twinning Programs will represent a future trend of the Malaysia education?”, among the 9 participants, 5 of them expressed “strong agree” and 3 of them expressed “not agree” while one of them is “not sure”, this result reflects the fact that there is distinctive opinions on this topic about whether the future of the education would be a Twinning Programs dominance or less importance of twinning programs as a trend of the Malaysia education. With the followed up interview, we obtain the key reasons behind those who did not agree with the view that the Twinning Programs will continue to be popular: firstly, more and more local universities including our uiversity is more and more focusing on developing their own education program; secondly, there is no difference between a Twinning Program and a local course since the content of the study could very highly similar and the teachers are the same.