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From: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Subject: Global: Why Remote Learning Is So Hard for International Students

First Thought

Insights drawn weekly from Karin Fischer's global-education newsletter, latitude(s). Subscribe here.

As director of the English Language Support Office at Cornell University, Michelle Cox has a lot of expertise teaching international students and nonnative English speakers. Even so, when the university switched to online learning in the spring, Cox realized these students face additional complications in virtual classrooms. “The challenges are immense,” she said.

For starters, it’s important to remember that for many international students, Zoom is the first time they’re in an American classroom. It takes time to learn how to be a college student, but typically, international students have resources to help them learn the ropes that might not be readily apparent to an instructor.

It can be harder for students to form support networks online, and harder for professors to know if a student is lost when courses are held asynchronously. There are other unique challenges, too. Karin outlines them — and shares some expert guidance on how to help international students find their footing — in this week's latitude(s).

The Reading List

  • A new report from a congressionally-appointed commission warns that China has sought to use students and researchers who go overseas to gain scientific knowledge to advance its military and geopolitical interests.
  • Japan is the latest country to increase vetting of visas for Chinese students and scientists amid growing worries about academic espionage and foreign interference.
  • The Trump administration will tighten visa rules for skilled workers that would, among other things, require workers to have a degree in the “specialty occupation” they apply for.

Featured on

"Covid-19 struck swiftly and relatively suddenly. With climate change, however, we have had decades to prepare. And yet, institutions with the power to enact substantive change have dragged their feet."

—Matt Sehrsweeney, a master’s student at the University of Michigan studying environmental policy, writes that made grand statements about the climate crisis, but have "failed to pair these symbolic gestures with tangible action proportionate to the crisis at hand."

Read his essay in The Chronicle Review: Covid-19 Is Just the Warm-Up Act for Climate Disaster