A much larger number of English communication courses have been provided for undergraduate students through the EFL Program: in the spring semester of 2012, for example, two English communication courses with 15 sections were offered for graduate students, while nine English communication courses with 37 sections in total were offered for undergraduate students. This large gap may have been due to a general, unsubstantiated assumption that undergraduate students have a lower English ability than graduate students do. Also, the student population at KAIST consists of 52% (5 233) of graduate students and 48% (4 836) of undergraduate students (as of August 2012) . There is no persuasive reason for conspicuously less English communication training for graduate students. ·
Lack of English Communication Education Center: KAIST has offered English communication education and services through two separate offices: the EFL Program, with a focus on credit education for undergraduate students, and the Language Center, offering noncredit education in different languages. However, English language education for graduate students has been provided at a minimum level, receiving scarce attention from the administration.
Tutorail Writing Task 1 Road to IELTS Clarity and BC
Students’ Satisfaction With Scientific Writing (SW): Overall, students showed high levels of satisfaction with SW, while most professors were unsure about the course. The student respondents showed high degrees of satisfaction (Fig. 4). Regarding the overall quality of SW, 75.8% (88) of the 116 respondents answered satisfied (40.5%) or very satisfied (35.3%), or they showed a satisfaction level of 4.12 out of 5.0. Their satisfaction with their instructors was even higher: an overwhelming 87.1% of them said that they were satisfied (27.6%) or very satisfied (59.5%) or showed a mean of 4.5 on a 5.0 scale. The students were less enthusiastic about the course materials; however, 57.7% (67) of them were satisfied (33.6%) or very satisfied (24.1%) about the course materials, and their satisfaction level was a mean of 3.7 on a 5.0 scale. A much higher percentage, 10.3%, of the students showed dissatisfaction with their course materials, compared to only 0.9% showing dissatisfaction with the instructors or the overall quality of the course. On the other hand, none of the faculty respondents answered that SW was highly satisfactory; 10.4% (5 of the 48 respondents) were satisfactory, 18.8% neutral, 6.3% dissatisfactory, and 2.1% highly dissatisfactory (Fig. 5). The vast amount (60.4%) of them said that they were not sure about their level of satisfaction, possibly reflecting the fact that they had not been aware of the existence or quality of the course due to the limited number of SW classes that had been offered. Despite the students’ overall satisfaction over SW, some made complaints, mainly about the demands or pace of the course and the quality of the course materials. Some observed, “Actually the contents of Scientific Writing are so important, but too fast,” “I need to have something to write, but [the] course schedule doesn’t allow to wait for me [sic],” “ the amount of assignments is a little overwhelming,” and “[Classes] should go a bit slower because it is hard to understand everything in such a short time.” Others commented, “The textbook looks old and has no color. I want a new version of it,” “[I] just want [the] textbook to be made easier to see and enjoy to students [sic]. The current one is a kind of complicated to study it,” and“[The] textbook is too complex.”
Lack of Uniformity in Scientific Writing Contents: SW classes by different instructors taught different materials with different instructional goals. In the spring semester of 2011, five instructors were teaching the course. One instructor used The Mayfield Handbook of Technical and Scientific Writing (1998) by Perelman, Paradis, and Barrett. The textbook is more of a comprehensive manual or a reference book that covers a broad range of topics, including elements of technical documents, punctuation, citing sources and listing references, and sentence types and word order. He supplemented the manual with writings by other critical thinkers, scientists, and scientific writers for 30% of his course. The other four instructors used a textbook entitled Writing Up Research (1990) by Weissberg and Baker. This textbook contains a step-by-step explanation of the elements included in all parts of a research paper: the introduction, methods/materials, results, discussion, and abstract. Among these instructors, one supplemented his course with writing and grammar exercises and peer-editing sheets from websites and other books for 45% of his course. Another instructor supplemented 50% of her course with grammar lessons and exercises, and exercises on sentence structures and sentence problems. Yet, another used worksheets, videos, articles, and websites to supplement 40% to 50% of his class materials.
Insufficient English Communication Support Outside the Classroom: The EFL Program has run the English Clinic, which provides writing- and speaking-related assistance for students. This service, provided by the native speakers of English in the EFL Program, has been offered for an average of 5.9 hours a day, or 29.5 hours/week, while classes are in session. Each session runs 30 minutes, which means that only an average of 11.8 sessions/day, a highly limited amount of service, has been offered for a student population of more than 10 000.