Proposal: how do international students suffer from online courses?

online courses
A student is having online class. Photograph by Muxue Xiao

Story Topic, Angle and Genre

Australia’s spiked COVID-19 cases forced universities to move courses online. The outbreak happened too rapidly, posing great challenges for universities and students, both of whom have to adapt to the new norm swiftly. International students bear the brunt of this new learning mode—not only do they need to worry about the teaching quality of online courses, but they also need to grapple with the financial burden as well as the ensuing mental stress.

online courses
A student is having online class. Photograph by Muxue Xiao

I am going to write a feature story drawing on in-depth interviews to investigate how students feel about the quality of online learning, their financial pressure, and mental stress. Meanwhile, I am going to interview educational experts about students’ performance and results of online courses. This will offer me some professional insights into this learning mode. Moreover, I will speak to the mental health counsellor of universities to get a bigger picture of international students’ mental wellbeing.


  • timeliness
  • currency

Australia’s education sector is facing an economic crisis. Universities, though facing economic losses, found it hard to cross the threshold of the Jobkeeper program, the government’s scheme to support the business through the COVID-19 crisis. The predicament of universities has been discussed widely recently. That makes my story have the news value of “currency”.

  • human interest
  • conflict

Publication and User Group

The target publication is the Guardian, a publication that has liberal value. It also puts emphasis on education, with plenty of news coverage of and commentaries on education issues.

This feature story aims to reveal the hardship that universities’ closure has inflicted on international students. This is the concern of progressive users, who account for 66% of the Guardian‘s user demographic.

Sources of information

  • I am going to conduct in-depth interviews with:

-international students (to ask what they feel about online courses and what challenges they are facing)

-university lectures (to explore the challenges they face to reschedule the classes and adapt to online teaching and to find out whether students are achieving academic results as they do in offline courses)

-psychologists providing university mental health support (to see the mental health of international students)

-educational experts (to gain some professional insights into the quality of online courses compared to offline courses)

  • I will also combine the notice from universities and the authority

-Australian government’s StudyAssist

-Australian government’s support and welfare for international students

-Universities’ support for international students

for example, University of Sydney’s support for international students impacted by the travel ban

University of New South Wales financial support package for students


Multimedia, Hypertext, and Interactivity

This feature story will adopt multimedia, hypertext, and interactive elements to engage readers.

  • text, screenshots of the governments and universities’ support policies
  • photos and video clips that show international students’ life with online courses and national lockdown
  • screenshots of universities’ tweets about this issue
  • tags indicating the topic
  • hyperlinks to previously published news that offers the background of my feature story
  • hyperlinks to the official websites of government departments and universities
  • my(the author’s) byline and profile, with links to my twitter
  • the function to share this article
About Muxue Xiao 5 Articles
A student majoring in Master of Media Practice. I am interested in education and climate change issues.

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