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The Many Faces of Technology in International Education

By Shanna Saubert posted 07-26-2018 03:55 PM


Technology is ubiquitous in modern society, yet can continue to offer innovative approaches for supporting international education initiatives at all levels and across different environments. Think of the #WeAreInternational (UK) and #YouAreWelcomeHere (USA) campaigns that generated so much support worldwide via social media. From the student perspective, technology can be used: to find out about postsecondary opportunities while still in high school; to apply to specific colleges or universities; to submit financial aid applications and documents (or apply for visas); to communicate with faculty, staff, and fellow students at the university and in the home community (whether in the United States or abroad); and to submit important assignments and exams required to matriculate. As such, it is reasonably important for international educators to consider how technology can be used to facilitate campus-wide internationalization, to improve the international education experiences of students and scholars, to enable greater communication between administrators and partners abroad, and to advance both teaching and learning for domestic and international students.

While reviewing these studies, it may help to consider several questions:

  • How do students, staff, and faculty use technology on campus?
  • Do orientation and pre-departure programs incorporate discussions of the appropriate uses of technology?
  • Are faculty adequately prepared and comfortable with incorporating technology into the curriculum?
  • How can technology bridge communication between current students, alumni, and future students?

Selections provide a sample of current research on this complex topic arranged by year and alphabetically for the author/s. More abstracts on this and other topics can be found in the
NAFSA Research Connections community library. Links to individual annotated bibliographies compiled for NAFSA's Knowledge Communities (KCs) are also provided - TLS, EA, IEL, and ISSS & IEM - with links to more research, NAFSA publications such as the Global Studies Literature Review (GSLR) and Trends & Insights (T&I), and other events and resources.


  • Kardos, Lauren. 2018. “Study abroad promotional tactics: Program providers in critical language host countries.” NAFSA Research Symposium Series, 2. Link

This article considers the strategies used by study abroad professionals to promote their programs in critical language host countries, including how they leverage technology to do so.

  • McVay, Caitlin. 2018. “Everything changed: Experiences of international students affected by home country crises.” NAFSA Research Symposium Series, 2. Link

This article focuses on how international students are affected by and cope with the effects of crises experienced in their home country, including their preferences regarding technology for communication and updates and desired levels of support from U.S. universities.

  • Academic Assembly and International Education Advantage (Intead). 2017. Global alumni management for U.S. institutions: The state of the field in 2017. Salem, MA: Intead. RC Link

This white paper report focuses on how postsecondary institutions address international alumni relations, including the use of data and technology in outreach and communication.

  • Hobsons. 2017. International student survey 2017: Welcoming the world – An international future for European higher education. London: Hobsons. RC Link

This report looks at international students’ motivations and influences on decisionmaking, including communication preferences regarding technology and social media.

  • Florida International University (FIU). 2016. The benefits of Quality Matters certification: What the analytics reveal. Report. FIU Online. RC Link

This report looks at how an online certification affected the student learning experience for students enrolled in online courses by comparing metrics between courses with and without the certification.

  • Hofer, Barbara K., Stacey Woody Thebodo, Kristen Meredith, Zoe Kaslow, and Alexandra Saunders. 2016. “The long arm of the digital tether: Communication with home during study abroad.” Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad 28:24-41. RC Link

Article examines how students use technology to communicate with family and friends when studying abroad, and how these connections affect students’ autonomy, self-regulation, and cultural and personal learning.

  • Kang, Haijun, and Bo Chang. 2016. “Examining culture’s impact on the learning behaviors of international students from Confucius culture studying in Western online learning context.” Journal of International Students 6, 3:779-797. RC Link

This study presents a review of literature focused on international students’ learning behaviors in a Western online learning context.

If you're currently working on research related to the role of technology in international education, please consider submitting a proposal for the upcoming NAFSA Research Symposium on November 16, 2018 (Friday of International Education Week 2018). All proposals must be submitted by August 31, 2018 via the website - (registration for the event will open September 1).

Annotated Bibliographies for each of NAFSA's five Knowledge Communities (KCs) -

**Additional updates regarding upcoming events and other resources will be posted in the comments below.**