Major Papers


International students, synchronous online courses, culturally responsive pedagogy


With the increasing diversity of the K-12 student population, there has been a growing emphasis on the adoption of culturally responsive teaching practices (Lawrence, 2020). Additionally, online degree programs and courses provided by many universities in the United States and around the world offer people the chance to access higher education without leaving their homes and without considering the issues of age, time, and geography (Diaz, 2021). Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the prevalence of online courses (Bao 2020; Rapanta et al., 2020; Mollenkopf et al., 2020). According to Elshami et al. (2021), “satisfaction with online learning is a significant aspect of promoting successful educational processes” (p. 1). As more and more students enroll in online courses, curriculum designers and lecturers must find some way (i.e. applying culturally responsive pedagogy in online courses) to engage students to actively participate in online classes (Adams et al., 2018). However, according to Adams et al., (2018), in most of online courses, there was insufficient emphasis or alignment with culturally responsive pedagogy. This deficiency creates an environment that is suboptimal for facilitating intercultural learning. As stated by Heitner and Jennings (2016), neglecting cultural diversity in online instruction can impact the quality of online teaching and learning, leading to various challenges. The purpose of this research paper is to identify factors affecting international students’ engagement in synchronous online courses and the importance of culturally responsive pedagogy to engage international students’ participation in synchronous online courses.

Primary Advisor

Clayton Smith

Program Reader

James Oloo

Degree Name

Master of Education



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year