Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

J. Scott Self

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Clementine M. Msengi

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Joseph Cardot


Online course communication activities can be used to support the social and cognitive needs of students in online courses, but when those students are international students from across the globe studying in the United States where there are language and cultural differences, online learning can be a challenge. The purpose of this study was to examine undergraduate international students’ online course communication behaviors and their academic performance in order to inform quality online course development and delivery. In this qualitative case study, semistructured interviews with 11 undergraduate international students were conducted, online course communication behaviors were observed, and five faculty members were interviewed. Data collection took place virtually via videoconferencing that were recorded and then transcribed in order to code and analyze the data. The community of inquiry model was utilized in creating the instruments used for this study, as well as in the data analysis and conclusion formulation. Findings indicated that while international students performed well in their course communication activities, their learning experiences could have been enhanced by more direct instruction using multimedia, a higher degree of interaction with professors, and more informal social learning opportunities. Higher education institutions in the United States can benefit from this research by implementing recommended instructional design and delivery strategies.

Keywords: Community of Inquiry, communication, higher education, interaction, instructional design, instructional strategies, international student, online learning

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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