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  • 2019_DE_Online International students_Lee Bligh_Open Version

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    Accepted author manuscript, 429 KB, PDF-document

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    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Four narratives about online international students: A critical literature review

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/03/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Distance Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press
Original languageEnglish


In the current higher education context, where there is a growing economic imperative for universities to recruit more international students, offering online programmes is seen as an effective international recruitment strategy. However, supporting online international students studying at a distance is not a simple task for both universities and tutors. The problem mainly stems from a lack of theoretical understanding of the actual ways, in which online international students experience and engage with online learning. The present article, therefore, aims to address a gap in our current understanding of online international students, by systematically, yet critically reviewing relevant academic narratives about who online international students are. Our review reveals four types of narratives presented in the published academic literature, describing and discussing online international students in particular ways such as: i) unspecified others with a rapid increase in their numbers; ii) specific others with deficits; iii) specific others as pedagogical resources; and iv) active participants in international learning communities. We discuss both the merits and the drawbacks of each type of narratives for online educators seeking pedagogical suggestions about supporting online international students in their real-life teaching contexts.