It is the application of online communication tools to bring together classes of learners in geographically distant locations with the aim of developing their foreign language skills, digital competence, and intercultural competence through online collaborative tasks and project work.
Virtual exchange - the purposeful integration of international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and informal curriculum for all students within domestic learning environments with a rich and multifaceted activity which refers to online intercultural interaction and collaborative projects with partner classes from other cultural contexts under the guidance of educators or expert facilitators.
MODEL OF VIRTUAL EXCHANGE
Their model of Virtual Exchange works in the following way
- Providing academic content: Participating universities construct a shared curriculum that is presented through interactive audio & video tools by the participating educators.
- Online discussion: Students come together in subgroups of one or more multiple students per participating university in a web-based videoconference room. Here, they discuss the activities performed in that week. These discussions are hosted by professionally trained facilitators from the EduTourism team.
- Engaging in collaborative research: Students are then required to collaboratively design, conduct and share survey research about the topic in their own communities to learn about the broader societal impact of the topic. A recent example of Sharing Perspectives.
ROLE OF EDUTOURISM
EduTourism provides a valuable service to universities & educational institutions, providing
their students with well-designed frameworks of trained facilitators, partnerships, and tasks
that they can access without needing staff from the institutions themselves to be
knowledgeable in this area.
In this sense, we provide an excellent educational resource that can complement students’ regular studies without actually needing to be integrated into course syllabi. However, these initiatives are likely to have serious issues of sustainability as they continue to grow in popularity. Inevitably, Virtual Exchange will continue to grow in different directions, depending on practitioner-driven, institutionally led, and outsourced initiatives.