International Students

Information for Spring 2020

Many faculty are appropriately concerned about access to remote learning for our international students who have returned home to complete the semester. Please find answers to common questions and helpful resources below.

Accessibility from International Locations

Many international students successfully complete Emory College Online courses every summer, so we expect minimal difficulties for students in most locations.

While accessibility from China (or any other country) is largely outside of our control, Canvas ( has generally been accessible from China. Page load errors and timeouts could occur. It is recommended that students use VPN (see below), but this will not resolve all issues.

Additional information about Canvas restrictions from the Canvas community site.

Course materials that you may post in Canvas (Google, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) are likely to be unavailable from certain locations, and third-party integrations (VoiceThread, Examity, etc.) may also be problematic. If you have international students who may have trouble accessing materials, please be prepared to offer alternative assignments (via email if necessary).

Test IP address accessibility from China

Zoom has generally been accessible from China, but it has occasionally been blocked. It appears to be accessible currently. There are several countries from which Zoom is not accessible for regulatory reasons. See the full list of sanctioned countries here.

VPN Services

It is recommended that students learning from any restricted-internet location purchase and use a personal VPN, which generally cost about $10/month. Most students are already familiar with this process. 

List of 2020 VPN Services

Time Zone Difficulties

All faculty who plan to hold synchronous course sessions should hold their courses during their assigned course time in order to avoid conflicts. This may be inconvenient for students who are accessing the course from different time zones, especially those students in international locations.

For this reason, faculty are encouraged to remain flexible and understanding of the particular circumstances of their students in these unprecedented circumstances. Students should not be penalized for an inability to attend live synchronous sessions. These sessions should always be recorded and shared via the Canvas course site in order to increase the access of all students.

Faculty may also want to consider holding their virtual office hours at times that would be convenient for their international students. Additional discussion sections, outside of the primary course meeting, could also be held at alternative times.

Help for Students with Restricted Access

Faculty should be aware that some international students are currently subject to mandatory quarantines in hotels upon return to their home countries. Students in these situations could have unreliable internet access, an inability to use VPNs, and/or limited access to laptops, phones, or other hardware.

If you have an international student who is impacted by restricted internet access or other difficulties, please contact Frank Gaertner, Associate Director of Academic Advising at If possible, please continue to remain in contact with the student via email as we work towards a solution. If you have any student with whom you are unable to make contact by Wednesday, March 25th, or who falls out of contact (for 3+ days) at any point during the remainder of the term, please complete the OUE Student of Concern Referral form.

In cases where course completion is not possible, faculty should communicate with OUE via