Towards understanding international graduate student isolation in traditional and online environments
- 1.4k Downloads
A mixed-methodology approach was employed to gain a better understanding of international graduate students’ perceptions of academic and social isolation, both in traditional and online environments, to see if these differ, and to explore suggestions for improving their sense of engagement within their learning communities. A survey was completed by 54 respondents and ten individuals participated in focus group sessions or individual interviews. The results show that international students, both in traditional and online programs, experience/perceive high levels of isolation, academically and socially. However, online international students may feel even more isolated than their traditional counterparts. The independent variables gender, type of degree, and family presence appear to also have some influence on some of the respondents’ answers. Participants suggested several types of potential interventions they would find useful.
KeywordsGraduate student International student Student isolation Mixed methods
The authors would like to thank the College of Education at the University of Wyoming for its generous financial support of this project.
- Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2008, November). Staying the course: Online education in the United States, 2008. Needham, MA: Sloan Consortium. Retrieved 23rd Jan 2010, from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/pdf/staying_the_course.pdf.
- Bogdan, R., & Biklen, S. K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theories and methods (4th ed.). New York: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Byram, M., & Feng, A. (Eds.). (2006). Living and studying abroad: Research and practice. Toronto: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
- Council of Graduate Schools. (2008). Findings from the 2008 CGS international graduate student admission survey. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved 21st July 2008, from http://www.cgsnet.org/Portals/0/pdf/R_IntlApps08_I.pdf.
- Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Cross, K. P. (1998). Why learning communities? Why now? About Campus, 3(3), 4–11. Retrieved 10th March 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.Google Scholar
- Flick, U. (2006). An introduction to qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Institute of International Education. (2006). Open doors online: Report on international educational exchange. New York: Author. Retrieved 21st July 2008, from http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=89206.
- Institute of International Education. (2007). International student enrollment in U.S. rebounds. New York: Author. Retrieved 21st July 2008, from http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=113743.
- Kinnell, M. (Ed.). (1990). The learning experience of overseas students. Bristol, PA: Society for Research into Higher Education.Google Scholar
- Klineberg, O., & Hull, W. F. (1979). At a foreign university: An international study of adaptation and coping. New York, NY: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- McNamara, D., & Harris, R. (Eds.). (1997). Overseas students in higher education: Issues in teaching and learning. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education: A systems view. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.Google Scholar
- Okorocha, E. (1996). The international student experience: Expectations and realities. Journal of Graduate Education, 2(3), 80–84.Google Scholar
- Park, K. (2002). Transformative learning: Sojourners’ experiences in intercultural adjustment. Ph.D. dissertation, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, IL, USA. Retrieved 30st Dec 2007, from ProQuest Digital Dissertations.Google Scholar
- Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Poyrazli, S., & Kavanaugh, P. R. (2006). Marital status, ethnicity, academic achievement, and adjustment strains: The case of graduate international students. College Student Journal, 40(4), 767–780.Google Scholar
- Richards, C., & Ridley, D. (1997). Factors affecting college students’ persistence in on-line computer-managed instruction. College Student Journal, 31(4), 490. Retrieved 4th Feb 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.Google Scholar
- Schinke, R. J., & da Costa, J. (2001). Considerations regarding graduate student persistence. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 47, 341–352.Google Scholar
- Senyshyn, R. M., Warford, M., & Zhan, J. (2000). Issues of adjustment to higher education: International students’ perspectives. International Education, 30(1), 17–35.Google Scholar
- Shaw, S., & Polovina, S. (1999). Practical experiences of, and lessons learnt from, Internet technologies in higher education. Educational Technology & Society, 2(3), 16–24. Retrieved 28th July 2008, from http://www.ifets.info/journals/2_3/stephen_shaw.pdf.
- Terry, N. (2001). Assessing enrollment and attrition rates for the online MBA. Technology Horizons in Education Journal. Retrieved 27th July 2008, from http://www.thejournal.com/articles/15251.
- Tomich, P., McWhirter, J., & King, W. (2000). International student adaptation: Critical variables. International Education, 29(2), 37–46.Google Scholar
- Wille, H., & Jackson, J. (2003). Understanding the college experience for Asian international students at a midwestern research university. College Student Journal, 37(3), 379–391.Google Scholar