International Educator - March/April 2018 - 26

CHECKLIST

Making Online Work

W

HILE ONLINE PROGRAMS can be a promising alternative or supplement to

international study experiences, it's important to be thoughtful, experts
say. "It can't just be treated as a revenue source or a cash cow," Abdel-Kader says. "There are a lot of skeptics who view online delivery methods as less
than ideal. To dispel that notion, institutions absolutely have to pay attention to the
rigor and quality of instruction and learning that takes place."
Among the elements to keep in mind:

✔ Think technology that works. Online
international programs use everything
from sophisticated learning platforms like
Blackboard and Moodle to off-the-shelf
tools like WhatsApp and Slack. The important thing is to meet global students
where they are. "Some advances in online
education can be a distraction," says
Lamers. "A lot of it is basic conversation."
✔ Plan partnerships carefully. MOUs
with partner institutions or one-on-one
collaborations with educators across
borders both require careful planning.
"The benefits won't necessarily look the
same for all students and all partners,"
Abdel-Kader says. "It has to be a win-win,
but the gains have to be relevant to each
party's academic and skill needs."
✔ Keep students engaged. Student
"melt" is common in all online programs,
and that can be particularly true for international students. "It's difficult enough
to stay motivated in a graduate program,
let alone if you're 5,000 miles away," says
Chase-Mayoral.
Along with the prepackaged asynchronous courses that make up much of
online programs of study, many international programs feature live sessions,
including group work and presentations.
While students scattered across far-flung
time zones can make scheduling more
difficult, doing so is vital. "We've gone
from offering a suite of staggered classes
and live session schedules to those at set
9 p.m. and 8 a.m. time slots because
they appeal to the widest variety of time
zones," Zeigler says.

✔ Offer supports. It's critical to have
dedicated support for far-flung students.
AU and Lehigh both have full-time online
26  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M A R .+ A P R . 2018

advisers, who help with everything from
registration and course selection to
fostering connections with faculty beyond
their programs. Some online program
management providers that handle the
technology backend for online programs
also offer tech and student support services as part of their agreements, but it's
still important to foster a direct connection with campus.

✔ Hybrid opportunities. Wherever possible, it's valuable to bring online students to
campus for a short-term program. "We've
seen that students who participate in that
tend to complete their degree," says AU's
Ziegler, whose program holds immersion
experiences over long weekends. Remember that for international students, these
programs may require coordination with
the institution's visa office.
✔ Flexibility. Online students often lead
busy lives-and that's not considering
those working or living in war zones
who may require unpredictable leaves
of absence. Many schools drop inactive
online students from their rolls and communication, but AU's Zeigler stresses the
importance of continued contact.
Flexibility also should extend to faculty, who must be willing to communicate
and hold live courses at odd hours for
global students-and it should be extended back to them. "Allow faculty some
freedom to experiment with what works
to allow students to get to know each
other as best as possible," McCauley says.
✔ Planning. Balancing cultural exposure
and academic learning objectives becomes all the more challenging in online
settings, requiring additional preparation,
according to McCauley.

✔ Assessment. Defining success for
programs and students can be challenging. "Intercultural communication
competencies are not easy to measure,"
says McCauley. "A huge piece of this
is the relationship and trust building
and opening students' eyes to the fact
there's a broader world of opportunities.
Sometimes the quantitative data doesn't
capture that as well."
✔ Recruiting. As with attracting international students for on-campus study, personal contact is vital for online programs.
"Those kinds of students still respond
really well to the personal connections
they can make with someone from the
university-staff, faculty, another student,
or alum," says Chase-Mayoral.

✔ Sensitivity. As with in-person study
abroad experiences, particularly in developing regions of the world, it's important
to be respectful of other cultures. "We
have to be careful not to treat people in
this process as subjects being studied by
the other party-all parties participating
should gain something," Abdel-Kader says.

✔ Leadership support. To reinforce the
diversity online programs bring and the
demand for learning experiences from
global audiences, leadership support
is critical. "Because these are different
types of experiences and don't fit into the
regular 9-5, it takes some serious administrative buy-in," Lamers says.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - March/April 2018

From the Desk of
Frontlines
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Canada
Quick Questions
Feature: Using Technology to Reach Students Where They Are
Feature: Global Connections, Staying Local: Online International Education Continues to Grow As an Alternative—and Support—to In-Person Study
Feature: Getting to Work How Career Services Offices Are Helping Students Launch Their Careers
Feature: How Assessment Approaches Measure Up
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment
International Education Leadership
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover1
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover2
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 1
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 2
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 3
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 4
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 5
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 6
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 7
International Educator - March/April 2018 - From the Desk of
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Frontlines
International Educator - March/April 2018 - In Brief
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 11
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 12
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Global Spotlight: Canada
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 14
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 15
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Quick Questions
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 17
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Using Technology to Reach Students Where They Are
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 19
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 20
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 21
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 22
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 23
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Global Connections, Staying Local: Online International Education Continues to Grow As an Alternative—and Support—to In-Person Study
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 25
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 26
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 27
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Getting to Work How Career Services Offices Are Helping Students Launch Their Careers
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 29
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 30
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 31
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: How Assessment Approaches Measure Up
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 33
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 34
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 35
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 36
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 37
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Education Abroad
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 39
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 41
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Enrollment
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 43
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 45
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Forum
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 47
International Educator - March/April 2018 - In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover3
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover4
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