Between October 2020 and September 2021, dedicated teachers at SRH Berlin, together with colleagues from international partner universities, have developed and tested new digital collaborative course formats to provide students with international and intercultural experiences, despite travel restrictions and regardless of family, financial or physical conditions.
Flexibility and creativity served as the basis for the development of the digital collaboration formats: the lecturers at SRH Berlin were free to structure the course structure and the conditions of collaboration under the condition that the courses were to be offered digitally with international partner universities. Through this form of collaboration, both students and lecturers were to acquire digital and intercultural competences that would enable them to find their way in an increasingly globally networked world. By participating in the international virtual cooperation formats, students and teachers of different nationalities should network equally and form a community of practice.
An accompanying evaluation of the IVAC courses showed that students appreciated the opportunity to further their education in an international context, independent of physical mobility. By participating in the IVAC courses, students were able to develop their intercultural and digital competences.
During the project, interim results from the evaluation were used to expand and improve the IVAC formats. Student feedback and feedback from teachers were used for both academic and administrative redesigns, improving the teaching and learning experience.
The evaluation can be found in detail on the IVAC project page (Global Classroom with Tec de Monterrey, Music Production with Coventry University, International Workshop on Sustainability Brand Management with University of Portsmouth).
In summary, we can say with great conviction: IVAC formats that enable international and virtual collaboration make sense from an academic perspective to promote digital and international competences among students and teachers. Such formats are also necessary to advance and establish an innovative and equal-opportunity higher education landscape in the long term.
The Leap From Theory to Practice
As part of the project, we hosted a virtual conference in Gathr.town with teachers and colleagues from SRH Berlin and from our partner institutions to share our experience in Virtual Exchange. The target group were teachers and administrative staff from Germany and around the. You can watch a short summary of the conference in the video on the left.