Q. IT Support for International Students
1. Does SDSU have any specific plan to support international students with technical issues?
The Library Computing Hub assists all students, including international students. To us, a student is a student, as long as they are active students we can help to the best of our knowledge and ability.
2. More specifically, has thought been given to international students' difficulty with Google-related sites if SDSU migrates to SDSUid emails?
We are aware of some countries where Google restricts access to some of its business services. This would impact the student’s ability to use any Google Services e.g. Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar. We are aware that some students in these situations choose to use personal VPN for this and other sites that might be blocked from their location.
From an email continuity standpoint, it is possible for SDSU IT administrators to forward the Gmail address to another email address. Also, the IT Division has created an exemption process for students to use a personal email address in place of the SDSU email address when residing in a country that doesn’t allow Google G Suite. Those students impacted by this issue were sent an email with additional support information. Beyond course-work submitted through the Learning Management System (LMS), International students can also use Microsoft OneDrive for file storage.
3. Are there any recommendations to better serve international students in their countries as they take online courses at SDSU?
Understand that some international students may have difficulty accessing Google and other services. Whenever possible, it is best to use the LMS (Blackboard or Canvas) to communicate and share information.
If a student is in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, utilizing the Google G Suite might be problematic. For instance, if professors link to YouTube videos as part of the coursework some students might not be capable of viewing them. Keeping coursework and instruction within the LMS will help mitigate many of these concerns.
Any student having difficulty with their SDSU account or school-related systems can contact the Library Computing Hub. The HUB can escalate concerns to the appropriate application owners. For international students, given time zone differences, the easiest way to contact us is via email, but we are also available via phone and chat during local operational hours. Canvas support is available to faculty, staff and students 24/7/365 at Canvas Support Hotline 619.483.0632 or Chat with Canvas Support (Student)
4. Any recommendations as to platforms for recording video content that may be easier for such students to access?
It is recommended to use Zoom. Zoom serves as the web conference service for all SDSU faculty, staff, and students. Zoom works with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Linux, allowing users to connect via video, audio, and/or screen sharing remotely from any location. Students can also use Zoom to record video content e.g., for course assignments, or to facilitate breakout meetings with one or more of their fellow students. Additionally, students, faculty and staff can utilize Zoom to facilitate meetings with colleagues, and other campuses locally, nationally, or internationally.
Note, one of Zoom's Data Centers is located in China, and this allows for quicker more seamless zoom interaction with students in China. Further, both the Canvas Learning Management System and Canvas Studio (embedded video creation and storage platform) operate without issue in China.
5. Is there a list of applications, websites, etc. that may present difficulties for students abroad particularly in China?
Here is a list of *websites blocked in mainland China, and a tool for testing web sites to see if they may be blocked:
- VPN vendor list of Blocked Website by China
- Countries that participate in VPN blocking
*Given that this information is constantly evolving, the challenge with such lists is keeping them up-to-date.