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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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Going Global: Preparing Faculty to Teach International Students Online

Gerald LeTendre (Penn State University, USA)
Laurence Boggess (Penn State University & World Campus, USA)
Ronald Musoleno (Penn State University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 2:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Southern Hemisphere I
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 3
Virtual Session
Best in Track

As more international students enroll in American online programs, faculty need specialized skills and understandings to support student success.

Extended Abstract

American universities such as ours, a land grant Research 1 university, face legal and technical obstacles when expanding online degree programs into international markets. Nevertheless, programs like our fully online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with a non-credentialed Teacher Leadership emphasis are seeing increasing numbers of international students interested in completing a leadership degree.

As this trend continues, crucial online faculty development questions arise:
* Do we need to develop special training for predominantly North American faculty to teach international students?
* If so, how do we do it?
* What is appropriate content for such a training course?
* How do we know our faculty are acquiring the skills and understandings needed for international student success?

At our university, we are creating a new addition to our dozen online faculty development training courses: Teaching the International Student. This is a cohort-based, instructor led, two week asynchronous course for faculty, instructional designers, and others interested in deepening their knowledge of the needs, issues, and opportunities present when teaching international students in asynchronous online courses and degree programs. In addition to the development of the course, we also designed a live webinar as a pre-course activity to gain additional input into the content and design of the course.

This session is co-lead by three faculty:
* A researcher in multi-cultural and comparative and international education who also serves as the department head;
* The director of online faculty development who also is a faculty member teaching in the online program, and
* The program lead faculty and a former overseas K-12 school administrator.

Session goals:

Through whole and small group discussion as well as brief videos, this session intends to:
* Attract participants interested in the issues of American universities reaching an online international market;
* Attract international faculty and program and university administrators interested in the challenges of online faculty development for international students;
* Ask participants to share experiences and best practices for teaching online international students;
* Crowdsource ideas for elements of a training course to improve instructors' effectiveness with international students; and
* Create an informal network of academics, designers, and administrators who can further the work of preparing faculty to meet the diverse and often challenging needs of an increasing number of online international students.

Session co-leaders and participants will examine and discuss the following:

Course Content Designed to Teach Faculty How to Teach Online International Students. This includes how and why the content was chosen, the faculty learning goals, and how we assess faculty understanding throughout the course in order to credential their successful completion.

Using the Course for Instruction and Advising Online International Students. This includes how can advisors who do not teach in the program develop their international competencies, how faculty and advisors create formal discussion spaces regarding international students, and how advisors can navigate university policies and procedures on behalf of their international advisees.

The Role of Formal Structures and Informal Networks Within the University. This includes how the course development and revision will tap into the expertise of groups such as the College of Education of Education Humphrey Fellows, the university international clubs and student associations, the comparative and international scholars throughout the humanities, the Institute for Emerging Leadership of Online Learning (IELOL), and the Online Learning Consortium's informal networks of international online scholars and leaders.

Additional session topics include:

* Developing cross-cultural communicative capacity such as using non-idiomatic English, providing multiple messages formats, and considering access issues;
* Developing intercultural sensitivity and empathetic awareness of US centric values and issues, egocentricity, issues of identities, and understanding of student motivation, goals, and desires;
* Developing generalized cross-cultural skills; no faculty can anticipate all the potential diversity of international students that might show up in a course;
* Practicing critical reflection of assumptions;
* Understanding how multi-cultural awareness differs from diversity and race awareness issues common in the United States;
* Supporting student self-advocacy of their own learning;
* Applying knowledge and understandings to advising international students; and
* Adjusting curriculum for the international learner, for example, considering alternative practicum experiences, location, and supervision and the role of accreditation for international students.

Session outcomes:

Attendees will participate in several activities including video and spoken vignettes focusing on intercultural expertise, cultures of learning, doing business internationally, and case studies. At the conclusion, participants will:
* Increase their familiarity with the cultural issues involved in North American faculty teaching online international students;
* Identify areas to establish or improve their own online faculty development with regard to teaching online international students;
* Create an informal network of resources and support for the continued study and implementation of online faculty development training and experiences to improve effectiveness with online international students.


Anderson-Levitt, K. (2005). "The Schoolyard Gate: Schooling and Childhood in Global Perspective." Journal of Social History Summer(987-1006).

Berger, P. and T. Luckman (1966). The social construction of reality. New York, Anchor.

Heath, S. (1983). Ways with Words. New York, Cambridge University Press.

LeTendre, G. (2000). Learning to be Adolescent: Growing up in U.S. and Japanese Middle Schools. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Shimahara, N. and A. Sakai (1995). Learning to Teach in Two Cultures. New York, Garland Publishing.

Spindler, G. (1997). Transcultural Sensitization. Education and Cultural Process. G. Spindler. Prospect Heights, Ill, Waveland Press: 498-512.

Spindler, G. and L. Spindler (1987). "Cultural Dialogue and Schooling in Schoenhausen and Roseville: A Comparative Analysis." Anthropology and Education Quarterly 18: 3-16.

Tobin, J., D. Y. Wu, et al. (1989). Preschools in Three Cultures: Japan, China and the United States. New Haven, Yale University Press.