The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Italian Students Attending an Irish Third Level Institute

Emer Connolly, Technological University of the Shannon (Midlands) (Ireland)


Teaching to ensure diversity and inclusion, to include all learners, is a key focus at TUS (Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands). Globally, internationalising education is a priority for higher education institutes. “Educators are challenged with balancing the business model that prioritises growing international student numbers, with providing quality learning experiences for all students” (Markey et al. 2023, p.1). TUS hosts international students on Erasmus and various other exchange programmes annually and there is an onus on faculty to play a role in creating an inclusive environment for learners (Knox et al., 2019). Forty-nine students from Politecnico di Torino in Italy are on transfer to Business programmes in the Faculty of Business and Hospitality, TUS, in the current academic year (2023/2024). They are studying a range of modules. One of those modules is Business Law, which is open to students in Year 2 of the Higher Certificate in Business.

The module introduces students to the sources of law, the structure and practice of the administration of law in Ireland. Bailey (2006) argues that low levels of English can be challenging in lecture theatres and in this module students attend three one-hour lectures each week in large lecture halls. There are 77 students taking the module, including 38 from the Politecnico di Torino. There are no tutorials and the class is not broken into smaller groups at any stage. I argue that the large group environment – and the limited scope to interact and ask questions – is a challenge for some students whose primary language is not English. While students are generally positive in their views on the module, a substantial challenge for the Italian students is lack of familiarity with the Irish legal system. Through lecturer observations and informal class discussions with learners, two main recommendations are made, based on the findings, which focus on inclusivity: 1. A supplementary resource (and not a replacement for live delivery of lectures) in the form of audio content should be made available on the virtual learning environment Moodle and 2. Weekly tutorials for small group learning should be scheduled, in an effort to cultivate a greater understanding of the Irish legal system.  Such recommendations will be made to Faculty management.



Inclusivity; diversity; international students; additional learning resources; TUS (Midlands)



[1] Bailey, C. (2006) Supporting international students in UK Higher Education: key issues, and recommendations for further research, University of Wolverhampton, Learning and Teaching Projects, 1 – 17.

[2] Knox, A.; Lim, B.; Mahfouz, A. (2019) Mind the Gap: Integration of International Students, Learning and Teaching Practitioner Research Project, TU Dublin, 1 – 12.

[3] Markey, K.; Graham, M. M.; Tuohy, D; McCarthy, J.; O’Donnell, C.; Hennessy, T.; Fahy, A. and O’Brien, B. (2023) Navigating learning and teaching in expanding culturally diverse higher education settings, Higher Education Pedagogies, 8 (1), 1 – 19.


Back to the list


Reserved area

Media Partners:

Click BrownWalker Press logo for the International Academic and Industry Conference Event Calendar announcing scientific, academic and industry gatherings, online events, call for papers and journal articles
Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy