Virtual Global Exchange

Frequently Asked Questions

What technology is needed?

Virtual global exchanges do not require the use of any particular software platform or learning management system. Professors and students should use whatever technology is available and suitable to the tasks, and more than one technology tool can be used for the online collaboration and exchange. Professors can select whatever software or platform works best for their collaboration – and is approved by their respective universities. Successful projects and discussions have taken place using video conferencing, collaboratively edited documents, learning management systems, social media, and many other kinds of software/technology.

Why should I consider a virtual global exchange in my course?

Helping students develop intercultural competence (skills that facilitate effective and appropriate interactions with people from other cultures) is critically important for higher education. Virtual global exchange represents an effective approach to developing these skills through intentional online academic collaboration with peers around the world.

Can a virtual global experience enhance career readiness?

Cultural awareness and cultural competencies are essential in today’s workplace. Society is becoming increasingly multicultural, where people from different cultural backgrounds live and work together. Technology makes it possible for people in different places in the world to meet and share online. Global Virtual Exchanges introduce students to desirable workforce skills, such as: intercultural communication, adaptability, the ability to appreciate different perspectives, teamwork skills, as well as technology and digital competencies.

Can a virtual global experience couple two very different courses?

Virtual global exchange modules/projects can be successful between classes in the same discipline or in different areas. Interdisciplinary partnerships have the benefit of encouraging students to apply their knowledge to new areas, and requires them to explain their field of study to students who do not share the same knowledge background. This can be very helpful in solidifying concepts and seeing the practical application of their discipline.

How do learning outcomes fit with a global virtual exchange experience?

Learning outcomes for virtual global exchange collaborations can be related to knowledge and/or skills development based on the content of the course, and can also be based on the process of collaborating with peers from another culture online. It is important for professors to agree upon the learning outcomes, and for both classes to share the same learning outcomes for the project or assignment. Agreed upon learning outcomes are the basis for selecting the kinds of activities that will be featured and helps ensure that students will invest time and effort into the shared experience.

Is it important to assign a grade to the global virtual exchange project or assignment?

Grades do not have to be jointly assigned. However, we strongly recommend that professors discuss grading and assessment criteria and to make the collaboration an important part of student grades. Virtual global exchange assignments and projects work best when both sets of students know that their performance represents a significant part of their overall grade. If one professor assigns great value to the experience in terms of the overall course grade and the other does not, there is an imbalance in expectations and students in one class may not put in as much effort as in the other class, which will diminish the experience for everyone.