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An investigation of online maritime English education in China

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Shi, J ORCID: 0000-0003-0068-1232 2019 , 'An investigation of online maritime English education in China', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

English is the official working language for oceangoing seafarers across the world. In China, substantial time and effort has been dedicated to improving maritime students’ Maritime English. However, when maritime graduates are employed as seafarers, many of them still regard a lack of English ability as the main obstacle to effective communication on board. Low English proficiency has become one of the main barriers for Chinese seafarers to compete in the international maritime labour market. Given the language challenges faced by Chinese seafarers, it is imperative to develop strategies to improve the outcomes of Maritime English education in China. When online technology has demonstrated its potential to improve the quality of education, it has also introduced great opportunities for Maritime English education in China.
This study aims to identify ways to improve the outcomes of Maritime English education in China through online methods, making maritime students more adaptable to the practical language needs of their profession. To achieve the research aim, a mixed methods approach was employed in which questionnaires were administered and interviews were conducted. Data were collected on the current status of, needs and readiness for, online Maritime English education in China from the perspectives of maritime students and Maritime English teachers.
In total, 255 maritime students and 34 Maritime English teachers from different maritime education and training institutions in China participated in this research. The selection of the participants was based on purposive and stratified random sampling. The statistical data were analysed using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software Version 23. The data collected from the interviews were analysed using the qualitative data software NVivo Version 11. Quantitative statistical tests, such as descriptive analysis, Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), Kruskal-Wallis test, Mann-Whitney U Test, and Spearman’s Rho test, were employed to analyse the quantitative data. Thematic analysis and three-step coding were adopted for the qualitative data analysis.
The research made a number of findings. For example, the current status of online Maritime English education in China was still in its early stages. Very limited and simple online methods were being used in practical Maritime English teaching and learning. Also, the study found that there was a strong need for online Maritime English education; however, the exam-oriented teaching mode greatly impeded the implementation of creative online methods.
In addition, the levels of maritime students’ self-efficacy and self-management of online learning were relatively low. Some Maritime English teachers had a low level of technical competence. To successfully carry out online Maritime English education in China, considerations for individual preferences should be highlighted. The result of this research shows that a blended learning approach was recommended. Recommendations for blended learning were provided from five aspects of Maritime English education in China: Maritime English online learning materials, Maritime English assessment and feedback, online interactions, related online support and Maritime English teachers.
It is suggested that future research into Maritime English in China should focus on operationalising the blended Maritime English learning mode recommended in this research. Some outstanding issues found in this research, such as enhancing online interactions in English and optimising online Maritime English tests, are worthy of more detailed exploration. Furthermore, a longitudinal study would be beneficial to observe the effect of the recommendations made in this study.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Shi, J
Keywords: Maritime English; online education
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Copyright 2018 the author

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