Our research with university students found that stress remains high. The number one source of stress for all university students is balancing study time with other responsibilities and commitments (including employment, social and extracurricular activities). Students desire greater flexibility, and many are lacking a sense of community at their institutions – calling for stronger connection and peer-to-peer support. With many students now managing additional responsibilities on top of their studies – including more than 80 per cent working while studying – universities must consider how they can support students, including responding to their want for hybrid study and flexibility.
In the 2022 – 2023 Australian and New Zealand Student Wellbeing Survey, 10 per cent of the population were international students. The data showed attitudinal and experiential differences in their university experience from domestic students, including in their uptake of university and peer support programs, awareness of academic integrity, and future job readiness.
When asked about what their university could offer to make them feel more optimistic about future job prospects, students are overwhelmingly calling for more internships and practical work experience to be provided by their university. To address this issue, more needs to be done within the sector to help students bridge the gap between academia and employment. This is a space where mentorship can also support students in their development.
A gap in information on academic integrity
Compared to domestic students, international students are less likely to have heard about academic integrity (79% vs 63%), and less likely to know about where to find help with referencing (65% vs 51%). Here, universities must consider how they can better support and inform international students about these practices, and the expectations of academic integrity processes. Interestingly, international students who have heard about academic integrity are more likely than domestic students to have learnt about these practices through student services (27% vs 15%), reflecting their higher uptake of such services at university.
Within the total population surveyed, awareness of other students cheating is on a downward trend, dropping from a high of 30 per cent in 2020 to a low of 15 per cent in 2022. On the topic of cheating-related issues, students’ qualitative reposes highlighted confusion about what constitutes cheating; use of online study assist Web sites; impact of open book exams; and evaluation methods introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With technology changing at a rapid pace, universities must adapt to keep pace. It is more important than ever for universities to partner with their students to develop robust teaching, learning and examination practices, review how we assess and examine students and their work, and understand the ethics, accuracy, usage and transparency of new tech, including Generative AI.