Orientation Use for Online Learners
 
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What can international students and orientation programs that serve them do to better prepare new international students for success in learning in the USA?

Increasing student persistence and satisfactory completion of first year courses are problems international student coordinators regularly strive to attain. With the wide diversity of backgrounds and needs of international students, organizing success-oriented orientations often becomes a complex task. One solution is to involve students in their own self-directed orientation and adjustment by encouraging their reading and regular use of a self-help reference text that can serve as a navigational guide for independently solving problems when and where they occur. 100 Things Every International Student Ought to Know, is such a valuable guide. It will help international students focus on what is personally important to them across a range of categories. Reading it will help them complete their own self-orientation to learning in the USA by providing them with “the right kind of information, in a way they can best understand, and at a time when their most important needs arise.” (i.e. empower their adjustment and transition, etc.)

HOW TO USE: 100 Thing Every International Student Ought to Know

International students enjoy reading and using 100 Things to regularly navigate adjustment problems they face. A brief exposure to its consumer-friendly advice, tips and helpful web links will prove convincing evidence of its value as a key “must have” learning resource. It can be introduced in many venues by different international student advocates and departments. For example, college Admissions/Enrollment Offices can forward copies to international students upon receipt of registration deposits as an “early alert” resource that better prepares for arrival at college in the USA. Orientation Program Coordinators can adopt it as a basal text or self-help guidebook as part of extended orientation programs designed for international students. It can also prove beneficial as a required text or supplemental resource/ reference book by faculty teaching credit courses designed for all new incoming international students. Additionally, International Student Clubs may also find it productive as a fund raising resource by encouraging new students to purchase copies through direct mail or display tables during orientation/registration.

Regardless how it is introduced, it will be used, not only to help the reader but also to help the reader help others in solving their adjustment problems. Its impact has a collaborative effect on helping students help other students succeed. For instructors teaching international students, this can prove the difference between answering similar questions repeatedly or engaging students in a seminar discussion that empowers them to help each other. It can also prove a more in depth way of providing help, namely by pointing the direction to a page with a helpful suggestion or self-explanatory web link the student can regularly reference for help.

For those desiring feedback of students’ reading and use of 100 Things, several models are available. One is a Problem Solving Situations Exercise. It can be done by creating descriptions of typical problems facing international students for which the index of 100 Things provides a reference in determining solutions. Written solutions can be submitted as a homework assignment or, for those who encourage group discussions in English, topic seminars or group problem solving discussions can prove to be a meaningful learning experience that shares wide and diverse perspectives. Any similar activity proves helpful as international students learn how to take responsibility for their own problem solving strategies with the aid of a self-help tool that means so much to so many different people and the problems they will face.

FUND RAISING

Fund raising groups can earn valuable returns by introducing the 100 Things guidebooks, (including the freshman, adult, and online student editions), as a gift or self-help book for international students living both on campus and off. Discounts and consignment copies are provided clubs and organizations interested in raising funds for trips, equipment, or other needs. Email Cambridge Stratford for more information.


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