Teaching students of different cultural backgrounds requires flexibility and adjustment on both parties. This page offers ways on how faculty and instructors can help international students be successful in the classroom, especially in an online or hybrid mode of teaching.
Student Academic Success
International students are facing more challenges due to the pandemic. Keep in mind the following:
- Time zone challenges
- Some international students were unable to relocate to the United States due to visa delays and travel restrictions, causing students to take their online courses abroad
- Time differences mean that students are taking classes at all hours of the night, particularly students located in the Eastern Hemisphere, which may makes to be engaged in class
- Video and volume could wake up the rest of the household
- Internet and bandwidth issues
- Having to turn on video can make connectivity issues worsen
- Because of network restrictions in place in China and other locations, students may be forced to use VPN, which is heavily regulated in China
- Many commonly used tools and resources in the United States are not available for use in China
- Google-based tools (YouTube, Proctorio, GoogleDocs, etc.)
- News outlets like the New York Times and BBC
Tips on helping with international student success in an online environment
- Visit Keep Teaching
- Resources available to faculty to help transition to an online format
- Adjust your expectations for success
- Success in 2020 or 2021 may not be what success looked like in 2018—and that's OK. Review these tips for setting realistic expectations for the semester, provided by the Office of Student Academic Success, the Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Student Life and the Office of Distance Education and eLearning.
- Consider recording lecture content and making it available to international students taking classes online in another time zone to be able to watch it within 24 hours of the class time.
- Post course materials (PowerPoints) on CarmenCanvas, which gives non-native English speakers the chance to go back to the content to process the information and do further research or seek assistance if needed
- Use alternative means to count attendance and participation
- Such as assigning students to write comments/reflections using CarmenCanvas’ Discussion tool
- If your preference is to have videos on, make it know to the individual students taking the class abroad that you understand if they are unable to turn on their videos
- Enable NameCoach on CarmenCanvas, which allows you and your students to record the pronunciation of your names. You can also encourage students to include their pronouns directly in Canvas. If they choose to do so, their pronouns will appear alongside their name in places like People and Discussions.
- Avoid assigned course materials attached to Google tools
- Work with students on alternate exam times and proctoring options
- If an international student is struggling in your class, consider checking in on them and contact the Office of International Affairs Academic Liaison, Caroline Omolesky
- Direct students to helpful resources:
Faculty Support and Resources
The Office of International Affairs hosts its International Student Experience Workshop Series for faculty and staff every semester. The three-part series serves to educate participants about life as an international student and offer guidance on how to best work with this population.
The workshops include presentations by staff from OIA and other university offices, as well as a panel of international students who answer questions and share their experiences.
Upcoming Schedule for Spring 2021:
- Workshop Part I: Pre-arrival and Check-In & Orientation
- Tuesday, February 2, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
- Friday, February 5, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
- Workshop Part II: Cultural Adjustment
- Monday, February 8, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
- Thursday, February 11, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
- Workshop Part III: Academics & Career Expectations
- Thursday, February 25, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
- Friday, February 26, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Beware that in certain countries, video conferencing technology can place student and faculty data at risk. You may also confront conflicting issues of equity, accessibility and vulnerability as you interact with students online. This is especially the case when discussing issues in lectures (especially recorded lectures) that may be seen as controversial in the student’s home country.