Innovations in communication and educational technologies continue to facilitate demographic change and increased cultural diversity in higher education environments. However, when individuals from diverse backgrounds interact professionally and socially, personal hopes and expectations may subsequently vary from the realities faced while living in a 'foreign' country. Such differences can have important implications for educators designing online materials for such students or for institutions wishing to expand their online classes to a wider body of globally dispersed students. This chapter uses findings from an online survey of international onshore undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in an Australian university in 2009 to critically examine and compare their expectations, experiences and levels of satisfaction. This research yielded a plethora of unique and vital concerns that were further affected by variables such as students' age and geographic location in regional/rural versus metropolitan areas. Moreover, the results of this study, in turn, can offer educators important initial insights they can then use to develop online educational materials or online courses for such internationally diverse groups of students. This chapter argues the gap between expectations and experiences requires further attention if the delivery of academic excellence to students from divergent cultural backgrounds, with different language skills and varying social norms is to be achieved within an environment that supports and reflects cultural diversity. The chapter also provides suggestions on how such factors can and should be addressed when devising online educational materials and environments for such students.
|Title of host publication||Computer-mediated communication across cultures|
|Subtitle of host publication||International interactions in online environments|
|Editors||Kirk St Amant, Sigrid Kelsey|
|Place of Publication||Hershey, PA|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|