International Educator - May/June 2014 - 59

who attend the in-person orientation. By
the spring semester it was mandatory.
"The big thing for us is that everything's
trackable now," says Sean Milton, international student adviser at NAU. In the past,
if a student violated a visa regulation, for
example, and claimed to be unaware of the
rules, it was difficult for Milton or his colleagues to show that he or she received that
information. "We might be able to find the
orientation attendance records and see that
he was there at 8:00 a.m. to check in, but that
doesn't mean he didn't leave. Now I can say,
'You shouldn't have done that and here is
a record of your online orientation proving
that you knew that.' We are accountable for
what we presented."
All new international students are sent
a link a couple of weeks after school starts
to complete the online orientation-a PowerPoint presentation hosted on Blackboard
Learn that repeats some of the most critical
information presented at the in-person orientation. A hold is placed on their accounts
until they have completed the orientation
and passed a quiz. "This way we have some
redundancy in the materials we think are
important," says Milton, "but also the freedom to do more of what we want to do in a
fun, social way to welcome new students at
orientation and can spend less time trying
to cover every possible important topic in
sessions that tend to put students to sleep."

SHUTTERSTOCK

Online Orientations
Cut Costs in Half
At Washington State University (WSU), new
international students are required to complete an online orientation called the iCoug
Tutorial before they arrive. The online orientation was launched last fall and has enabled
the university to reduce its international orientation duration and budget by half and to
better integrate it with the domestic new student orientation, says Cheryl Hansen, director
of global services at WSU. The iCoug Tutorial
is divided into five modules and consists of a
staff introduction video with funny outtakes,
PowerPoint slides with audio, maps, animated clips featuring avatars narrated by current

In-Country Predeparture Orientations

W

hile more and more universities and colleges are using the
internet to virtually orient students across the pond or across
the globe, Michigan State University (MSU) has taken a more
hands-on approach. For the past five years, MSU's Office of International
Students and Scholars has been conducting in-country predeparture
orientations for its incoming cohorts of students from China, sending staff
and a handful of Chinese students to Shanghai and Beijing to meet with
incoming students and their families.
"It started out as a high-touch moment, not only to put the students in
some level of comfort but also the parents," says Peter Briggs, director of
the Office for International Students and Scholars at MSU. "You've got a
lot of people invested in [these students]: two sets of grandparents and
parents, and how much do they know about coming to the United States
or Michigan State University? It's good for the parents to have somebody
they can trust and to know that there is a point of contact if something
should happen. That's a lot of why we're doing this."
Each spring, after admissions
decisions are sent out,
acceptances confirmed,
and deposits received, his
office mails invitations in
both English and Chinese
to all incoming Chinese
students to attend a
predeparture orientation
session with one family
member. In 2013, 1,000
invitations were sent, and
600 students, plus family,
attended. Most of the
orientation is in Chinese,
apart from a brief welcoming speech from an MSU representative, whether
Briggs or a colleague. Most of the remaining content is presented by
MSU alumni living in China or members of Project Explorer, a leadership
organization for Chinese students at MSU. "Involving these students and
conducting it mostly in Chinese has been valuable and helped us make
the best use of our time," says Briggs. "If you did it bilingually and had to
translate every speech, you couldn't get as much done."
Plus, he adds, "The new students can see other Chinese students who
have not only gone to MUS but have been successful and seem to like
it there. The enthusiasm is infectious. What we are trying to do is set up
expectations, but a lot of what it does is humanizes the experience."
While they do cover a good bit of logistical and cultural material in the
six-hour sessions, Briggs says they are careful to call it a "predeparture
orientation" because they don't want to discourage anyone from attending
the on-campus orientation, which provides the full campus experience and
the opportunity to meet students of other nationalities. "I think the best
orientation programs are flawed only because there's so much to absorb
and you can only remember so much," says Briggs. "So if this spreads it
out a little bit, so much the better, but the intent is to be much more hightouch, meaning that they meet people. If they don't remember a thing, but
they remember they liked you and they trusted you, you're good."

M AY + J U N E .14 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

59  



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - May/June 2014

International Educator - May/June 2014
Contents
Front Lines
In Brief
New Windows on the World
Green River Community College Attracts International Students at an Early Age
Education Abroad
Foreign Student Affairs
Internationalization Leadership
Partnering
View From Out Here
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - May/June 2014 - International Educator - May/June 2014
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Contents
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 2
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 3
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Front Lines
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 5
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 6
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 7
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 8
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 9
International Educator - May/June 2014 - In Brief
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 11
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 12
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 13
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 14
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 15
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 16
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 17
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 18
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 19
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 20
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 21
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 22
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 23
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 24
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 25
International Educator - May/June 2014 - New Windows on the World
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 27
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 28
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 29
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 30
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 31
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 32
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 33
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 34
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 35
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 36
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 37
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 38
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 39
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Green River Community College Attracts International Students at an Early Age
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 41
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 42
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 43
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 44
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 45
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 46
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 47
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 48
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 49
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 50
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 51
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 52
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 53
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Education Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 55
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 56
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 57
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 59
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 60
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 61
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Internationalization Leadership
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 63
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 64
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 65
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Partnering
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 67
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 68
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 69
International Educator - May/June 2014 - View From Out Here
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 71
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 72
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 73
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Forum
International Educator - May/June 2014 - BB1
International Educator - May/June 2014 - BB2
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 75
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 76
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 77
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 78
International Educator - May/June 2014 - 79
International Educator - May/June 2014 - In Focus
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Cover3
International Educator - May/June 2014 - Cover4
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