A group of ten Bachelor of Information Technology students has returned from a short term study tour in Shanghai Maritime University (SMU) in China accompanied by their lecturers Anne Venables and Grace Tan. Funded by DEEWR grant, the trip proved to be a resounding success. Students described the tour as a "once in a lifetime cultural and learning experience".
The learning experience involved collaborative work with Chinese student buddies on an assessment task in a professional development unit on Security, Privacy & Ethics. Over the course of a week, five buddy teams composed of 2 students from each university (VU and SMU) worked on an IT privacy or security scenario and developed a team presentation on how the situation would be resolved in Australia and in China, drawing together commonalities and differences in approaches. Their presentations elicited many questions and comments from the audience, which further enriched the learning experience for all about the role of IT in our societies. The standard of all presentations was exceptionally high as judged by members of the assessment panel, academics from both VU and SMU.
For our students, living on campus and eating local food whilst enjoying the genuine friendship of their Chinese buddies was as much of a learning experience as that prescribed by their assessment.
While on-campus at SMU, students had quite a different experience to their campus life in Australia. SMU is a specialist Chinese university devoted to studying marine logistics and technologies. Our students were impressed by the vast SMU campus and its facilities, including its own container ship with port crane facilities for training. Our students thoroughly enjoyed their visit to SMU and China, and the many lessons learnt through their experience. The impact on the Chinese students was evidenced by the tears shed at Shanghai Pudong airport when our students departed. "The trip was very awesome" a VU student said.
The accompanying lecturers, Anne Venables and Grace Tan, praised the students for their exemplary behaviour and their cohesive team spirit. In their final display of thoughtfulness, the students bought small gifts from Shanghai for their classmates back in Melbourne.
Our students have done our School and Victoria University proud!