Digital Learning & Design

Sidewalk chalk drawing reading "welcome to brown"The Brown community values inclusive teaching and learning experiences for all students.  Considerations to ensure online security and safety, data privacy, and inclusive strategies for accessibility for Brown’s international students specifically guide and inform these recommended strategies.

Brown’s international students may face unique barriers in the context of hybrid and online instruction given each of their individual situations. Some examples include that internationally-located students may not have access to Brown’s course tools such as Google’s GSuite, YouTube, or Dropbox due to in-country restrictions or they may have low bandwidth, making it difficult to access course materials or join synchronous class sessions. Students may also have concerns about online privacy or feel the need to self-censure given local laws around free speech.

See Frequently Asked Questions around supporting internationally-located students here

Implementing strategies to make teaching and learning experiences more inclusive for students can also benefit internationally-located students who are learning remotely. Such strategies include: 

  • Video content reduced to smaller segments enables easier viewing given slower bandwidths. 
  • Asynchronous online discussion activities to provide an alternative to real-time in class-discussion. 
  • Individual or small group tutorials for students who are located in different time zones.
  • A variety of modes for submitting assignments and receiving feedback (e.g. submitting directly in Canvas, uploading recordings, MS Word, and/or PowerPoint attachments, sharing a Google Doc.)

Additional information can be found: 

Additional considerations are recommended to ensure the safety of students and instructors and the security of their data. Alternative strategies may be needed to ensure student access to software applications & content used in courses.

Zoom Class Meetings

  • Encourage students to use their Brown login to join Zoom sessions to ensure they benefit from configurations that Brown has negotiated with Zoom. For example, Brown data is not stored in data centers located in China. 
  • Keep your Zoom software up to date. 
  • Update your Zoom settings in advance of a new semester. 
  • Give students options for how they participate in synchronous Zoom sessions. 
    • Some students may not feel comfortable displaying their name or live video; they may prefer to post an image, use an alias for their Zoom display name or use audio only.  

Asynchronous Discussion

  • Provide an alternate asynchronous option for any student who cannot attend synchronous Zoom class discussions. Options to consider include: 
    • Canvas discussion posts, 
    • 1:1 tutorial at a different time, 
    • Collaborative note-taking on a Google Doc that all students can add at any time, 
    • Self-directed learning contract. 
  • Use Brown-approved asynchronous discussion forums such as Slate or Canvas discussions. Such forums can help students abroad feel more connected to the class.
  • Offer a way for students to communicate with you as an alternative to participating in an open class environment; students may not feel comfortable discussing some topics or asking questions in a group. You could invite the student to join you during Zoom office hours to discuss the topic, respond to you directly in a Canvas message or an email, or note their thoughts in a Google document shared only with you.

Tools and Recommended Practices

  • Use DLD-supported and approved tools and practices for your teaching as they have undergone Brown IT Security review and have been approved for instructor use across campus. https://dld.brown.edu/technology-catalog.
  • Incorporate syllabus language, such as the inclusion statement for international and multilingual students, found the Sheridan Center website.

Sharing Media

Seek support

  • Instructional Design Consultation: Discuss how to best meet the needs of your students, address particular security concerns and review your planned strategies with an instructional designer by scheduling a consultation using this linked calendar or emailing  [email protected].  
  • English Language Support: contact [email protected] for pedagogical and learning strategies.