Leveraging Online Databases to Enhance Australian International Students’ Academic Skills: A Case of Gapminder


The academic adaption in the university context has become a challenge facing the international students in Australia (Yu & Wright, 2016). To date, a number of students have experienced ‘academic shock’ (Savic, 2008) as they may initially lack of appropriate academic skills as well as proficiency in the English language to adapt to the new education system in Australia. This study investigates the development of Australian international students’ academic skills by employing the Gapminder, an open online database, to achieve one milestone set by the subject of International Perspectives. A total of 100 international students from one Australian university completed an online survey. It is noted that the Gapminder could facilitate the development of international students’ research skills, critical thinking skills, English reading and writing skills and cultural awareness that could benefit their future study in the university. Data also indicated that the students showed their interests in the Gapminder, which assisted them completing the assigned assessments and enhancing their academic skills, particularly in collecting and analyzing data as well as researching trends. It is implied that leveraging appropriate online databases could help international students enhance both academic skills and English language competence, better facilitating them to adapt to the teaching and learning in Australian universities.

Author Information
Yifeng Yuan, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Mariana Rodriguez, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2018
Stream: International Education

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon