Virtual Exchange at IUPUI

Virtual Exchange @ IUPUI

About virtual exchange

Virtual exchange involves transcending borders through technology to facilitate intercultural learning, comparative disciplinary learning, interdisciplinary learning, and global problem solving as goals. Collaboratively designed and implemented virtual exchanges provide a rich educational environment for students, faculty, and staff. Students can connect with counterparts synchronously or asynchronously. It can be developed as a module in a course or used as the pedagogical approach for an entire course.

Virtual exchange as a strategy for curriculum internationalization

Virtual exchange can facilitate comparative and interdisciplinary learning across cultural contexts, intercultural learning, and global problem solving. Faculty can develop a virtual exchange to serve as the primary way to incorporate a global perspective into a course or it can be used to complement another internationalization strategy such as study abroad or service learning.

Virtual exchange in the co-curriculum

Student Affairs professionals can also employ virtual exchange to facilitate learning between students and groups around the world. For example, similar student groups, whether it be student government organizations, cultural groups, or leadership programs, can engage in a collaborative virtual exchange in order to address shared interests.  

Student benefits

Through virtual exchange students can gain knowledge and skills in a variety of areas important to their personal, academic, and professional development, including intercultural communication, critical thinking, foreign language, cross-cultural teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Virtual exchange can also motivate student participation in study abroad or other types of internationalized learning experiences.  

Faculty benefits

Faculty benefits include enhancing their scope of disciplinary knowledge, widening their professional network, cultivating research collaborators, and enhancing their own personal development through intercultural and international interaction.

Technology to facilitate virtual exchange

Faculty and students can use a variety of free online tools to develop and implement a Virtual Exchange. Social media platforms are also useful, student-friendly tools to facilitate asynchronous collaboration that happens outside of class time and for individual analysis and reflection. Faculty can choose to be an active participant in a group platform, using it to develop community between partner classes and to prompt, monitor and evaluate student engagement, or they can request that students engage one-on-one with counterparts on their own schedules. Whatever the approach, it’s important to use tools that are equally accessible for the classes. Here are some commonly used tools:

IUPUI Virtual Engage Community of Practice (VECoP)

The Office of International Affairs and the Institute of Engaged Learning are establishing a community of practice to support faculty in learning about, implementing, and enhancing virtual exchange. For more information, contact Co-Chairs, Lin Zheng, Clinical Associate Professor, Kelley School of Business and Rob Elliott, Senior Lecturer, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology.

NextGen Coders Network 

IUPUI is also participating in the NextGen Coders Network (NGCN), a free, non-credit virtual exchange offered by the Stevens Initiative and implemented by World Learning that brings together university students and young professionals to create solutions to their countries' greatest challenges using code. No experience with coding is necessary. For more information, see Corinne Renguette, Associate Professor, School of Engineering & Technology.

For more information

You may contact Leslie Bozeman, Director of Curriculum Internationalization, to discuss implementing a virtual exchange and inquire about professional development opportunities. Both Leslie Bozeman and Ian McIntosh, Director of International Partnerships, can assist with identifying an international partner. Marielle Petranoff, Logistics and Technology Coordinator, can assist with the use of OIA’s Global Crossroads Classroom, which is fully equipped with video-conferencing technology needed for synchronous virtual exchange.

Three students participating in a virtual coding session