Using Online Resources to Enhance the Learning Experience of International Students

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

International students have unique prior-learning-experiences and expectations.  Online technology provides teaching strategies, accommodations, and learning environments that foster such needs. The learning session addresses how online resources would serve as a platform for engagement with the larger community and the attainment of an overall positive learning experience.  

Presenters

Dr. Maus has taught in the higher education field, both in an online and seated environment. Her career in higher education originated as an adjunct instructor in 2005. Her full-time position in higher education began in 2010. She teaches business and healthcare administration courses. She has developed an Associate degree in Business with a specialization in Health Care Administration, a Bachelor degree in Organizational Management with a specialization in Healthcare Administration, in addition to, a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. Dr. Maus has had the opportunity to work in the healthcare industry since 1991 in a variety of different capacities within hospitals, in the medical employment industry in sales, and for a highly specialized laboratory testing facility. Additionally, Dr. Maus has worked with the National American Red Cross on a special database management project involving donors throughout the United States. During her tenure at On Assignment, Inc., she was awarded the prestigious honor of President's Club Affiliation twice for outstanding marketing and sales performance. She has served as Project Manager/Champion for a Go Green initiative in a private laboratory of 400+ employees. Dr. Maus presented in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 at the Online Learning Consortium International Conference in Orlando, Florida, the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference in 2015 and 2016, and at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She reviewed three textbooks for Elsevier, Inc., and has acted in 2013 and 2015 as an abstract reviewer for the American Public Health Association annual conference. Dr. Maus published an article in 2017 titled Using Taskstream-Tk20 to Help Faculty Close the Loop on Assessment. Her dissertation, published in 2018, is titled Examining the Relationship between Organizational Climate and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors within Hospitals. She is the 2019 recipient of the Service to Campus Tiffin University award.

Additional Authors

Dr. Mejri is an Assistant Dean of Graduate Education in the School of Arts and Science at Tiffin University. He has earned a Bachelor of Science from BGSU, a Master of Science Education from the University of Toledo, and a Ph.D. in International Education from Northcentral University. Over the past ten years, Dr. Mejri has served as a full-time faculty teaching Mathematics, Science, and Foreign Languages. In 2009, he was awarded instructor of the year from the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools through the Lincoln College of Technology. At Tiffin University, he oversaw online programs, assisted and served as Subject Matter Expert in the development of new courses and programs. Dr. Mejri's research focus is in Comparative and International education with an emphasis on virtual learning. Over the past two years, he has reviewed foreign language programs for Pearson Education and served as a peer reviewer for various online journals.

Extended Abstract

Introduction

International student enrollment is on the rise (Akanwa, 2015; Hegarty, 2014).  The number of international students attending American institutions has increased by 10% in the last three years (Akanwa, 2015; Institute of International Education, 2015). Colleges and Universities must cater to this increase by faculty training and awareness, the promotion of student readiness, institutional engagement and inclusiveness, and via the measurement of academic success.  A variety of online, web-based resources and activities can be utilized, and will be displayed, to accomplish each of these tasks, which are highlighted and discussed in detail below:

  • Learning Outcome 1:  To Enhance Faculty Training and Awareness Concerning the Unique Needs of International Students  
    • Communicate the unique needs of international students through faculty meetings, workshops, and webinars that are recorded and made available through the Faculty Resource Center that address such topics as:  
      • The difference between intentional and unintentional plagiarism.
      • The impact of English proficiency on international students’ self-esteem and academic performances (Akanwa, 2015).
      • The effect of homesickness, digital literacy, and communication skills on students’ academic and cultural assimilation.
    • Encourage faculty to reach out to international students should they miss class or fail to submit assignments via methods such as exchanging methods of communication with students, grouping international students with domestic students, or creating a social blog for the class.
  • Learning Outcome 2:  To Promote Student Readiness     
    • Assess students’ past learning experiences through the use of an online anonymous survey given during the first scheduled class
    • Direct students to the online resources available in the elibrary that address:
      • Online scholarly databases:  Encourage students to view short web-based videos that overview how to access an online database, basic and advanced searching in an online database, the use of MyEBSCOhost, and navigating an EBSCO database.
      • Plagiarism:  Direct students to virtual sources, such as short videos and websites that overview what plagiarism is and how to avoid it in academic writing.  Included within these virtual options are detailed instructions on how to use www.grammarly.com, TurnItIn, Purdue OWL, and www.plagiarism.org
      • Citations and References: Guide students to view a short-video and website links that address how to cite sources.
      • Academic Writing:  Recommend that students consistently visit the elibrary’ Academic Writing page which highlights and addresses topics such as Noodle Tools, common writing errors, grammar, parts of speech, punctuation, planning and prewriting, thesis statements, outlines, drafting, revising, and examples of different writing assignments.
    • Offer online tutoring sessions, day and evening, for basic writing and APA formatting throughout the week and weekend.
    • Encourage faculty to provide continuous academic coaching through the entire course, both in class and in the feedback provided
  • Learning Outcome 3:  To Embrace Institutional Engagement and Inclusiveness
    • Provide international students with the opportunity to engage in campus activities via the use of email and campus-wide announcements to highlight such events as:
      • Indian Student Council
      • Saudi Student Council
      • Chinese Student Council
      • The celebration of their national and religious holidays
      • Hosting of an international student for Thanksgiving
      • Blood drives
      • Volunteer opportunities
      • Community events to listen to a panel of international students about their culture.
  • Translation of the Course Policies into other languages that represent the student population and made available within the online course shell
    • Course Policies translated in Arabic               
    • Course Policies translated to Hindi
    • Course Policies translated in Chinese
  • Offer career development initiatives for students who wish to remain in the United States following graduation
    • Match learning experiences and career interests through the web - based program Sigi3
    • Social media platforms that connect current and alumni international students via the Career Services website and social media
  • Diversify avenues for communication with faculty, staff, and student support services (Salyers, Carston, Dean & London, 2015).
    • Use of wikis, blogs, and Facebook to remind students of current and future events (advising days, exams, etc.).
    • Create a recommendation system by which faculty make tutoring recommendations
    • Use TutorTrack to identify students’ struggles and communicate such needs with faculty and advising staff
  • Learning Outcome 4:  To Measurement Academic Success  
    • Assess a student’s readiness to learn, through the use of a pre and post-test of material that will be addressed during the course, via the use of an online non-graded assessment embedded within the online course shell.                                             
    • Evaluate international student success through the assessment of mid-term and final grades earned, which are recorded in the online learning course shell.
    • Investigate international students’ success via levels of engagement with peers during class time, with visits scheduled for online tutoring, and with faculty both in and outside of class

Conclusion

International student enrollment is on the rise and that has a positive impact on the United States economy.

  • The number of international students attending U.S institutions had increased by tremendously reaching a record number of 974,926 students, with 58% of foreign students coming from China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia (Hegarty, 2014; Institute of International Education, 2015).
  • International students add value to the U.S. economy. International students have contributed more than $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy during the last academic year (Institute of International Education, 2015).
  • The notion of a globalized classroom have changed the role of the educator, learner, and the environment in which they interact and thus, Colleges and Universities must cater to this increase by:
    • Promoting academic and cultural cohesiveness for international students
    • Creating a globalized learning environment, which caters to the needs and expectations of international students (Prior et al., 2016).

 

References

Akanwa, E. E. (2015). International students in western developed countries: History, challenges, and prospects. Journal of International Students, 5(3), 271-284.  Retrieved from https://jistudents.org/

Hegarty, N. (2014). Where we are now--The presence and importance of international students to universities in the United States. Journal of International Students, 4(3), 223-235.  Retrieved from https://jistudents.org/

Institute of International Education. (2015). "Top 25 places of origin of international students, 2013/14-2014/15." Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors

Prior, D. D., Mazanov, J., Meacheam, D., Heaslip, G., & Hanson, J. (2016). Attitude, digital literacy and self-efficacy: Flow-on effects for online learning behavior. The Internet and Higher Education, 2991-97. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2016.01.001

Salyers, V., Carston, C. S., Dean, Y., & London, C. (2015). Exploring the motivations, expectations, and experiences of students who study in global settings. Journal of International Students, 5(4), 368-382.  Retrieved from https://jistudents.org/