Virtual Exchange Framework

The Office of International Affairs is busy working on a general virtual exchange framework for Ohio State University. The purpose of creating a framework is to have consistency in our communication and offerings when sharing tools and resources with faculty (or potentially services, such as forum moderation or intercultural awareness assessments). These tools and resources will be applicable for everything from learning activities, to modules, to full courses.

Our goal is to achieve a coherent pathway for students based on an array of authentic intercultural learning opportunities in multiple courses across the university, both abroad and in-person.  The learning opportunities may range from simple interactions with people overseas to full-on cross-cultural teamwork. The sustained interactions and higher-stakes collaboration involved in collaborative, cross-cultural group work (often referred to as Collaborative Online International Learning, or COIL) is an ideal to shoot for, but may not be feasible for every professor. We welcome any kind of quality learning opportunity where students can learn about themselves and others in terms of diverse cultural perspectives.

Have you taught a COIL course? Do you connect your students to colleagues’ students in other countries? Please let us know! Would you be interested in sharing a learning activity or module with other faculty? We welcome any general feedback you may have, as well.

image of people talking in a group

Team discussion. Source: Pixabay CC0

Self-Study Group: Preparing to Support Virtual Exchange

The aim of the  Self-study group is to support curricular and extra-curricular offering at Ohio State that facilitates the development of students’ global competencies. This is not just in case Spring 2021 Education Abroad cannot be implemented, but about access and equal opportunities for a larger segment of our students to experience international exchange and cultural differences.

We think we can be prepared to support faculty and staff at Ohio State to facilitate teaching and learning and orient students for a new kind of relationship with their global peers and intercultural experiences. We are addressing the need for professional development so that individuals in various roles and fields across the campus can join international collaborative learning and virtual exchange projects with the knowledge and skills needed to make them successful.

There are many roles required for successful online learning and virtual exchanges. In general, the less faculty/teachers work on technical issues or complex learning activities, the more they can focus on the preparation and delivery of expert knowledge. From feedback on such experiences, we see that “…international staff and academic staff need to work closer together than in most regular courses, which makes it interesting and more time-consuming in terms of coordination” (SUNY COIL). We also see that “Faculty—and Students—Need Support” Do Not Underestimate the Complexity of Virtual Exchange

The technical part and coordination of such active learning are too hard to manage on one’s own.

We are forming an ‘in-house’ learning group where individuals will start learning on their own and in a discussion group, supported by the reading lists of literature that we already have, and resources that can assist us, such as: IT instructional designers (e.g. Engineering and EHE); Office of Distant Education & eLearning and their learning technology experts; and Carmen-Canvas on-line course tools, to just name a few. This will facilitate our extended roles.

If you’d like to join please get in contact with us!