Planning a Virtual Exchange

Selecting suitable partners for joint teaching is the most important initial step, because the relationship built on mutual trust between the instructors plays a major role in virtual exchange. The commitment of all academics involved is crucial for the success of the teaching format. A joint classroom or virtual exchange usually takes place together with a partner university; depending on the content and goals of the course, you might also consider involving two international partners.

With which colleagues do you already have intensive exchange in the context of your research, which you would like to deepen in teaching? Which existing exchange partnership in your faculty would you like to intensify through a collaboration in your teaching? In addition to the professional expertise of the potential project partners, (previous) experience with digitally supported or online teaching and transnational collaboration also play a role.
If you do not have a co-teacher yet, the regional desks at Göttingen International will be happy to support you. In our existing international networks, for example in ENLIGHT, we can also help you reach out to potential virtual exchange partners. The ENLIGHT team will be happy to assist you.
During initial meetings with the potential partners and for the further planning and implementation of the joint classroom, it is advisable to agree on the following aspects as early as possible. In many cases, an intensive, joint preparatory meeting on site in Göttingen or at the participating partner university can be very helpful in order to finalise the concept of the virtual exchange together.

  • Topic and content: What would you like to teach together? What perspectives do all participating teachers bring to the table? What do you want students to work on in small groups? Where in the respective curricula does the virtual exchange find a place so that as many participating students as possible can receive ECTS for their participation?
  • Target group:Who is the virtual exchange aimed at? What prior knowledge should students bring with them and what will you work on together? What foreign language requirements will there be? How many students from all participating locations do you want to admit?
  • Duration and general conditions: When can the virtual exchange take place (semester schedules, time difference)? How long will you work together? How often do you want to meet online as a group?
  • Resources: What resources (time, personnel, equipment) do you and your partners have? What is missing and could be requested in e.g. a third party funding application?
  • Learning outcomes: What should students know and be able to learn after participating in the virtual exchange? What role do intercultural competences play in this? By the way, you do not have to agree on a fixed set of identical learning outcomes for the participating student groups - especially in interdisciplinary virtual exchanges, it is helpful to adapt different learning outcomes according to the respective curricula.
  • Technical requirements: What existing technical equipment will all partners be able to draw on? What technical equipment will the students have access to? Are there (infra-)structural difficulties that make it necessary to adapt the teaching concept? What support possibilities are there?
  • Appropriate teaching and learning formats: For which units do you come together synchronously, all at the same time, in the course? What should take place independent of time and place (asynchronously)? What do you want to teach in (short) lectures, what do students need to work on? When do the student teams get to know each other? Which tasks do these teams have to work on? How much time is there for a reflection phase?
  • Examination formats and grading: How would you like to design the examination? Who will be the examiner (for example, do all participating instructors examine equally)? Do all participating students require a grade?
  • Quality assurance: How is the virtual exchange evaluated by you and your partners? How could you involve the students involved in an evaluation and, if necessary, further development of the virtual exchange?

Sometimes an agreement may be necessary or desired by the partner university even for the initial implementation of the virtual exchange. Here you will find further information and the relevant contact persons.

  • I will be happy to advise you on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of your virtual exchange, as well as on the application for third-party funding, together with our colleagues at the regional desks at Göttingen International.
  • Our Digital Learning and Teaching unit offers an overview of tools, such as whiteboard, Etherpad, video- and webconference platforms, courseware, and the VideoBox, as well as information on the learning management systems Stud.IP and ILIAS. Here you can also find an overview of training courses.
  • In the workshop programme of our Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Section you will find workshops and short formats on related topics and issues.
  • In our Community of Practice we regularly exchange experiences on the working level. Here you get in touch with colleagues who have already carried out a virtual exchange.
  • Feel free to check out the ongoing and completed curriculum development projects!
  • In the context of our ENLIGHT network the Teaching and Learning Conference is hosted annually and provides a room for an exchange of good practices.