The aim of this report was threefold; 1) to investigate potential problems AusEducation’s domestic and international students may face when studying online, 2) to identify strategies to alleviate these problems, and 3) to make recommendations on what can do to ensure their online students have a quality experience. This was done by reading research conducted in recent years by many different authors from many other countries. The main findings from these papers were then correlated and assessed for their relevance. This report has found that the potential problems of students face when studying online are difficulty to focus, time-limited to working students, language differences and family pressure. The strategies found to combat these challenges were; to provide an online learning platform to students, a flexible learning environment, and convenient communication options.
Studying online became a part of modern reality as globalisation provided people worldwide with access to foreign education, and the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to develop innovative platforms for remote learning. Indeed, international programs allow individuals from Asian countries to study in respected and high-rated Australian universities and vice versa. The approach benefits cultural diversity, communication, and effective learning of specifications and professions. Furthermore, online courses allow people with other responsibilities, such as a job or family, to integrate education into their lives and improve their resumes and qualifications (Paudel 2021). With the growing demand for remote learning, companies that provide the services to obtain knowledge were established to connect students and professors with diverse backgrounds.
AusEducation is an education provider where groups with domestic and international students learn in the same environment, and online classes implementation revealed that they experience different issues and obstacles to successful performance. It is crucial for education providers to identify the problems of remote studying and optimise their work in accordance with requirements and clients’ expectations (Arkoudis et al., 2019). This report aims to explore domestic and international students’ experiences’ issues in online learning and offer solutions for the AusEducation platform to address them.
Findings 1: Issues with online learning
Online learning is another platform for domestic students to study, but to a large extent causes students to be more easily distracted. If students are in class on campus, they will feel stressed when they see other students studying, but they will be more relaxed and not get pressured when obtaining learning materials at home with nobody (Henry 2020), which leads to their sense of participation decline. In addition, compared to on-campus learning, the online study could be more difficult to focus on as they may be distracted by other issues like family. Therefore, they may need to focus on their studies more actively. Moreover, apart from the young students studying at the appropriate age, many working students have returned to school. When Greenland & Moore (2014 cited in Muir et al. 2019, p. 264) said, students with work and family responsibilities, there is evidence that “work-related factors” and “personal reasons relating to health and family commitments” can also impact engagement and significantly contribute to attrition. In fact, online students of mature age, married, with children, and studying part-time with work are important prevalent in Australia. Hence, fixed class time and time-limited assistance from school are comparatively hard for domestic students while being educated online.
International students studying online, especially Asian, are also facing a lot of problems these days. Since they come from many different countries, they all have different cultural backgrounds and learning methods. The concept of online classes is still new to the Asian region, and compared to Western students, Asian students have less access to online materials, and they seem to have more difficulty navigating online (Baker & Unni 2018). Therefore, for Asian students, face-to-face classes are more comfortable than online. Accordingly, students from non-English-speaking countries are afraid to speak to teachers online since they are not confident with their English, and there is no way to ask other students who can keep up with the progress like in face-to-face courses. In addition, international students are usually burdened with relatively high expectations. For example, parents hope that their children can earn social recognition for their families through good academic performance, and they will continue to express high expectations for their children, which will cause their children to generate family pressure outside of learning (Lin & Nguyen 2021). And when those problems pile up, students will deviate from the track, thus losing confidence in education.
Finding 2: Strategies to reduce online learning issues for domestic/ international students
Provide support for domestic students
To improve domestic students’ problems with online courses, education providers need to provide more help to students. For example, to allow students to have a greater sense of engagement and participation, the school can offer an online learning platform that enables students to ask questions outside the classroom. Teachers can browse or respond to students’ questions to give positive or improvement suggestions. The platform can also allow students to communicate with each other at any time and increase their sense of engagement. When students receive timely and targeted support, they may experience more significant results in terms of academic achievement (Walsh et al. 2018). If a more flexible learning environment can be provided, for example, working students can choose their own time for exams or tests within a fixed period; students can replay class video clips anytime. By giving students greater freedom where feasible, the convenience of online learning is especially valuable for adults with multiple responsibilities and highly arranged lives (Xu & Jaggars 2013). Online learning thus boosts workforce development while helping adults return to school and complete additional education that would otherwise be difficult to integrate into everyday life.
Provide support for international students
Due to language barriers and cultural differences, international students require additional help to perform an online education program successfully. Consequently, AusEducation might organise international students’ support communities, where domestic ones could be connected to foreign mates and support them with learning (Zhu et al. 2020). It is more comfortable to have one assistant aware of all aspects of the educational environment and regulations than to seek help every time a question occurs. Moreover, international students in Australia might experience problems accessing books and scientific materials; thus, developing an accessible online library for them is necessary. Communication with professors is another challenging aspect of remote learning as the language barrier and unavailability of educators are serious obstacles (Song, Kim & Park 2019). AusEducation platform must develop a convenient way to contact teachers and include their profiles to help international students to get to know them before reaching them. Furthermore, translator options integration could be necessary to help learners orient their learning environment. Lastly, as many international students have jobs and families, a scheduler can be created to help them manage their time. Indeed, AusEducation can open access to curriculums, the volume of lectures and assignments deadlines to help learners plan their life and set priorities.
The identified strategies AusEducation can integrate to enhance their online education programs for domestic and international students have benefits and disadvantages. As the recent findings suggest that online education enabled people of different ages, jobs, and family situations to combine learning with other activities and, consequently, improve workforce qualifications (Arkoudis et al. 2019). The main benefit of schedule optimisation and flexibility providence is that learners can better organise their life; however, it is a serious concern for professors who also have unique circumstances and priorities. Moreover, a critical analysis of the solutions for international students revealed that the lack of direct, face-to-face communication disrupts the learning process (Karkar-Esperat 2018). AusEducation’s strategies to adjust the connection between educators and clients can be improved by integrating translation and online messaging options. Indeed, the study by Afrouz and Crisp displayed how important it is to assist international students in communication with professors and their domestic classmates to prevent them from falling behind the curriculum (Afrouz & Crisp 2021). The effectiveness of the strategies developed in this report aligns with the research about remote education. Hence, integrating the features for improving the learning experience, access to study materials, engagement and intrapersonal communication would become a foundation for AusEducation’s services adjustment to providing online courses.
The findings of this report revealed that although online education has major benefits and made education more accessible worldwide, challenges that damage its effectiveness exist. Domestic students and their international classmates experience different obstacles when studying remotely, and the learning process requires additional optimisation to address them. AusEducation can develop a convenient platform if it considers that domestic clients need more opportunities to stay engaged, and the foreigners require additional support and ways to contact professors. A flexible schedule and access to all materials must be provided online studying process to be successful.
Considering the findings explored in this report, multiple recommendations were developed for AusEducation to improve their online education for domestic and international students.
- Domestic students’ engagement can be increased by setting a platform to ask questions and discuss the learning material outside of the classes.
- Enabling professors to integrate more group projects into the practice is also workable for engagement and effective teamwork of domestic and international students.
- AusEducation should provide additional exam times or dates for the remote students who cannot pass them according to the schedule due to their work or family obligations.
- Flexibility is crucial for the online schedule, and to respect professors’ and students’ time, the percentage of obligatory lectures can be set where the timing is established by teachers (Paudel 2021).
- International and domestic students will benefit from receiving the curriculums with recorded lectures, assignments’ deadlines, and the volume of materials to learn ahead; it will help them set priorities and integrate education into their lives (Arkoudis et al. 2019).
- International students should receive additional support from their domestic classmates who better understand the program’s specifications (Afrouz & Crisp 2021).
- Translation options integration to the AusEducation learning platform would benefit international students.
The learning environment must contain an accessible online library with all textbooks and materials required according to a program.
Afrouz, R & Crisp, BR 2021, ‘Online education in social work, effectiveness, benefits, and challenges: A scoping review’, Australian Social Work, vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 55-67.
Arkoudis, S, Dollinger, M, Baik, C, & Patience, A 2019, ’International students’ experience in Australian higher education: Can we do better?’, Higher Education, vol. 77, no. 5, pp. 799-813.
Baker, DM & Unni, R 2018, ‘USA and Asia hospitality & tourism students’ perceptions and satisfaction with online learning versus traditional face-to-face instruction’, E-Journal of Business Education and Scholarship of Teaching, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 40-54. Web.
Henry, M 2020, ‘Online Student Expectations: A multifaceted, student-centred understanding of online education’, Student Success, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 91-98.
Karkar-Esperat, ™ 2018, ‘International graduate students’ challenges and learning experiences in online classes’, Journal of International Students, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 1722-1735.
Lin, Y & Nguyen, H 2021 ‘International students’ perspectives on e-Learning during COVID-19 in higher education in Australia: A study of an Asian student’, Electronic Journal of E-Learning, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 241-251.
Muir, T, Milthorpe, N, Stone, C, Dyment, J, Freeman, E & Hopwood, B 2019, ‘Chronicling engagement: Students’ experience of online learning over time’, Distance Education Article, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 262-277.
Paul, P 2021, ‘Online education: Benefits, challenges and strategies during and after COVID-19 in higher education, International Journal on Studies in Education, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 70-85.
Song, H, Kim, J & Park, N 2019, ‘I know my professor: Teacher self-disclosure in online education and a mediating role of social presence’, International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 448-455.
James, S 2021, ‘Benefits of online education’, Visually, Web.
Walsh, C, Mital, A, Ratcliff, M, Yap, A & Jamaleddine, Z 2018, ‘A public-private partnership to transform online education through high levels of academic student support’, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 30-45.
Xu, D & Jaggars, SS 2013, ‘The impact of online learning on students’ course outcomes: Evidence from a large community and technical college system’, Economics of Education Review, vol. 37, pp. 46-57.
Zhu, Y, Zhang, JH, Au, W, & Yates, G 2020, ‘University students’ online learning attitudes and continuous intention to undertake online courses: A self-regulated learning perspective’, Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 1485-1519.