ACE March Newsletter - International Students and Remote Learning
Mar 1, 2021 | Academic Centre of Excellence
Academic Centre of Excellence - March Newsletter
Teaching & Learning Highlights
International Students and Remote Learning
Canadore is the institution of choice for post-secondary study by a growing number of international students. This year, many of Canadore’s international students, like their Canadian peers, complete their studies remotely from home due to COVID-19. This “very remote” study presents some unique learning challenges for International students that their Canadian peers may not face. We reached out to Aamir Taiyeb, Canadore’s Director International and the International support staff to learn about these challenges and what we can do at Canadore to support International students during this period of remote learning.
What are the main remote learning challenges International students face?
The challenges International students face, in some ways, are not very different from those domestic students face while learning online. There are some challenges, however, that are particularly germane to International students. One of these is the issue of time zone differences. This is a major hurdle for International students, particularly those from time zones like India (home to a large number of our International students) because of the stark time zone difference (compared to, for example, students studying in Mexico). Another challenge is Wi-Fi connectivity. We know that some International students may live in environments that do not have very good connectivity. This may have an impact on everything from International student engagement to assessments and grading.
What resources are available to International students at Canadore?
We have full-time, dedicated staff that support International students at both the North Bay/Parry Sound and Stanford campuses. Staff provide international service advising and one-to-one counseling sessions for International students. This includes counsel on topics such as immigration status and health insurance. This year it also includes counseling and support for the safe arrival and adherence to Canadian COVID-19 travel regulations under the “Quarantine Act”. We maintain a website for International students to find and access the information and resources they need to live in Canada and study at Canadore. International students also have a dedicated App called “iCent” where information, documentation and guidance are available to them. Use of the iCent App is mandatory for all Canadore College International students.
What are some things faculty can do to assist International students in learning remotely?
We recommend that what may be most helpful for faculty is to be aware of the “lived reality” of the International students you teach. International students’ lived reality can be very different than the Canadian experience. For example, [COVID-19] case numbers may be going up in India or there might be huge street protests in Mumbai which are affecting students’ learning and emotional states. These differences in lived reality can impact International students physically (upheaval) and emotionally (stress). It’s helpful too, to use references and examples that International students can comprehend based on their lived reality.
Thank you Aamir and the Canadore International staff for this timely and helpful information. The following upcoming events at Canadore and the University of Windsor are great events to attend to learn more about how to support international students at Canadore:
- Canadore College’s Intercultural Mindsets in Higher Education Institutes PD Opportunity Session, March 05, 2021.
- University of Windsor’s International Teaching Online Symposium, June 17 – 18, 2021.