Engineering students' perceptions of the role of ESP curses in internationalized universities
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Recently there has been a trend towards English-medium instruction (EMI) with increasing numbers of programs taught in English (Wächter & Maiworm, 2014). At the same time, there has been a long tradition of ESP courses aiming at preparing students for effective academic and professional communication. In an increasingly internationalized context, it is necessary to reappraise current ESP courses in order to find out the extent to which they are adapted to the ever-changing needs of engineering graduates in a glob- alized world. Within this context, this study looks at the impact of ESP courses on uni- versity students of engineering in two European universities (Spain and Austria). Specifically, our research was based in three campuses: two campuses from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain), UPC-Vilanova (n 1/4 52) and UPC-Barcelona (n 1/4 26), and a third campus at FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences (FHJ) in Austria (n 1/4 17). This research set out to track participants’ perceptions of how ESP courses prepared them for academic communication in general and EMI in particular (N 1/4 95). Data stem mainly from surveys administered both at the start and at the end of an ESP course. Students were asked about their perceived initial level of proficiency, their expectations, and their learning objectives (first survey, T1) as well as their perceived development in the different skills, the degree of fulfilment of their initial learning objectives, and their evaluation of the ESP course as preparation for international academic and professional communication (second survey, T2). These data were complemented with qualitative diary entries from students (n 1/4 7) who reflected on their learning at different stages of their ESP course. Results point to overall satisfaction with ESP courses and greater awareness of the nature of specialized communication and yield deeper insights into students’ strategies and areas where ESP can contribute to better student preparation and empowerment.
CitationArno, E.; Aguilar Perez, M.; Tatzl, D. Engineering students' perceptions of the role of ESP curses in internationalized universities. "English for specific purposes", 3 Gener 2020, vol. 58, p. 58-74.