Virtual Exchange: Next steps in university education – Virtual event 1

Implementing Virtual Exchange in European Higher Education: Different Approaches and Initiatives

EVOLVE Virtual Event 1, 26 June 2020



Over the next few months, the EVOLVE project will be coming together with two other major European initiatives about Virtual Exchange to organise three virtual events on the current state and future directions of Virtual Exchange in Higher Education and its relevance in the light of the COVID19 pandemic.

EVOLVE (Evidence-Validated Online Learning through Virtual Exchange) is an Erasmus+ KA3 Forward-Looking Cooperation Project which aims to contribute to the mainstreaming of Virtual Exchange as an innovative form of collaborative international learning across disciplines in Higher Education institutions in Europe. Virtual Exchange is a form of digital education whereby students from geographically remote classes work together online on collaborative learning activities which are guided by their teachers or educational facilitators. In a global educational context which is increasingly characterised by an interest in internationalisation at home and considering the impact of the current COVID19 pandemic on international student mobility, Virtual Exchange offers universities a powerful complement to physical mobility programmes.

These events will offer members of the Higher Education community an opportunity not only to learn about the basic principles of Virtual Exchange, but also to become informed about different Virtual Exchange initiatives which are currently underway to promote this approach to learning in Europe and to provide evidence of its effectiveness in university contexts. The different sessions will therefore be of interest to university management, educational policy makers as well as university faculty members across disciplines.

Apart from a presentation of the results of the EVOLVE project, the events will also include contributions by a wide range of Virtual Exchange practitioners, university decision makers, faculty and students. Important Virtual Exchange initiatives such as Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange and the NICE (Network for Intercultural Competence to facilitate Entrepreneurship) project led by the University of Edinburgh will present their work and findings. This will provide participants with a comprehensive overview of this fascinating activity. The virtual events will also include opportunities for questions and answers as well as group discussions on the themes which emerge during the event.

Key questions which will be discussed during the three virtual events include the following:

  • What is the current level of impact and up-take of Virtual Exchange in European higher education?
  • In what ways is Virtual Exchange being implemented by European universities?
  • What can research tell us about the contribution of Virtual Exchange to student learning?
  • What barriers exist to the implementation of Virtual Exchange?
  • What are students’ and teachers’ experiences of Virtual Exchange?
  • How do university decision makers view Virtual Exchange? What role do they see it having in the future?

The first virtual event on Friday 26 June, 12:00 PM (noon) CEST will provide an overview of the three Virtual Exchange initiatives and their research outcomes. The full programme is available below. The following events will focus on learning outcomes and students’ experiences of Virtual Exchange and on policy making for Virtual Exchange.

Registration for this event is free. Please use this registration form to register for the event.

For more information, please contact the EVOLVE project team:


Implementing Virtual Exchange in European Higher Education: Different Approaches and Initiatives
EVOLVE Virtual Event, in collaboration with NICE and Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange

Date: Friday 26 June 2020
Time: 12:00 PM (noon) – duration 1 hour
URL/Location: To be sent to registered participants
Host: Robert O’Dowd, University of León

Brief introduction to Virtual Exchange (10 min)
Robert O’Dowd, University of León
Presentations from the three organising partners (30 min)

Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange: An ecology of ‘recognised’ virtual exchange with training for educators and ‘ready made’ VEs
Sarah Guth, Consortium member Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange

EVOLVE: A bottom-up perspective on the implementation of VE in European HEIs
Sake Jager, Project coordinator, University of Groningen
Gerdientje Oggel & Juan Alba Duran, University of Groningen, researchers, University of Groningen

NICE: Developing a facilitated virtual exchange programme – lessons learned
Anna Creery, Projects Manager, Study and Work Away, University of Edinburgh
Isabell Majewsky Anderson, Head of Service, Study and Work Away, University of Edinburgh

Audience Q&A session (20 min)

Questions from the chat and answered by the presenters Followed by “live” questions from the audience and answered by the participating partners Moderator: Mirjam Hauck (Open University UK)

Next events

Virtual Event 2: Virtual Exchange: Learning outcomes and students’ experiences
25 September 2020, 12:00 PM (noon) CEST

Virtual Event 3: How can universities move Virtual Exchange forward? Policies and strategies 30 October 2020, 12:00 PM (noon)

Separate registration will be available for these events.

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