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Virtual Resources for Faculty Members

The COVID-19 pandemic created a challenging atmosphere for faculty to teach internationally, but a space for innovative virtual opportunities. This page includes a variety of resources for virtual programs for SDSU faculty members.

What are Virtual Global Experiences?

Virtual global experiences cover a wide array of offerings including collaborative projects, cultural activities, guest lectures, and targeted video series that can be easily incorporated into existing course materials and co-curricular activities. By fostering global curiosity, innovation, compassion, and more global literacy in our university, these ideas allow faculty members to bring something new to SDSU students. Synchronous, asynchronous and hybrid content is available and can be customized for curricular or co-curricular needs.

What is Virtual Exchange?

Virtual Exchange can take place at many different levels and is called different things.

According to O’Dowd (2018)
“…virtual exchange involves the engagement of groups of learners in extended periods of online intercultural interaction and collaboration with partners from other cultural contexts or geographical locations as an integrated part of their educational programs and under the guidance of educators and/or expert facilitators.”

Faculty members may see terms such as Online Intercultural Exchange, Telecollaboration, Collaborative Online Learning Environments (COIL), Global Virtual Teams, Virtual Remote Learning, all linked to Virtual Exchange, to name a few.

What can faculty do with Virtual Exchange?

  • Virtual guests to interact with students on a topic (synchronous)
  • A class-to-class interaction among students on a select topic (synchronous)
  • A short course module with activities connecting students to another class through an online discussion regarding a specific topic/issue (asynchronous)
  • Virtual interactions between students (i.e., through specific meeting spaces and where students can receive language support from native speakers if language acquisition is a focus)
  • A completely team-taught course between faculty at two different institutions

Examples of Virtual Exchange Projects

Why Integrate Virtual Exchange into Teaching?

Virtual Exchange can be integrated into any subject area course and can:
  • Provide opportunity for learning through diverse perspectives
  • Offer a cost-effective method to bring in content with leading experts
  • Build digital mastery
  • Develop cultural awareness and the ability to negotiate/collaborate across borders
  • Serve as a steppingstone to physical mobility for education abroad
  • Provoke curiosity and planning for a visit to the people and culture where students are collaborating for internship or education abroad
  • Provide an alternative for those who cannot afford to take part in an abroad program
  • Build networks for faculty members across international institutions

Why Should I Integrate Virtual Global Resources Now?

  • By utilizing a new resourced when adapting in-person coursework into a digital modality, faculty members enhance the content of any course, whether it be a general education or upper-level major coursework
  • By utilizing a new resource, faculty bring experiential learning into the physical or virtual classroom in novel ways that students seem to enjoy.

An assortment of virtual international resources: 

  • Global Learning Library
    • Academic Experiences Abroad is providing virtual content and speakers. SDSU has a current membership, and faculty and staff can log in with their SDSU email to see all content.
  • Global Learning Collective
    • The Global Learning Collective is a consortium of regionally specialized and experienced international partner organizations. Together, the Collective members support a comprehensive catalog of intercultural programs and experiences.
  • Academic Initiatives Abroad - Remote Global Learning
    • Allows faculty members to bring global learning into their classrooms. AIA will bring its expertise and its international experts to your real or remote classroom. We will design real-time, interactive, academic activities and asynchronous support content to fit your specific curriculum. 
  • SDG Academic Library
    • The SDG Academy creates and curates free massive open online courses and educational materials and videos on multiple topics including sustainable development. 
  • Center for International Studies (CIS) Campus Internationalization
    • CIS Abroad will work with faculty members to create plans for internationalization and virtual programming
  • WorldStrides Educational Travel and Experiences
  • School for International Training (SIT) 
    • Provides virtual program models to globally enhance faculty programs
    • Provides a rich model for online international education
  • SUNY COIL Center
    • The SUNY COIL Center has been working to promote and professionalize the practice of Collaborative Online International Learning and Virtual Exchange for more than 15 years.
  • Virtual Exchange Coalition
    • Working to advance the field of meaningful cross-cultural experiences virtually

Why is Virtual Learning Important Now?

The pandemic compelled the education abroad professionals around the world to pivot quickly and see that while education abroad could not happen physically, bringing international faculty, students and content to universities was possible. And because not all university students will find a way or have the time and resources to travel abroad, they could experience global education from home with these models.
  • We believe that Virtual Learning and Global Education will not end when the pandemic ends but will persist because of the following attributes:
  • It is relevant: This is attractive to today’s digitally fluent and mobile students.
  • It is really flexible: We can engage learners from almost anywhere and on their own schedule.
  • It is cost-effective: It can be scaled to maximize impact. 
  • It is accessible: We can effectively bridge cultures and reach under-resourced communities and the non-traditional learners who live there.
  • It is skill-based: Virtual learning can provide critical skills, including virtual teamwork, cross-cultural collaboration, digital project management, a new kind of time management and technological know-how.
  • It is cutting-edge: Virtual programming enables innovative models of learning with:
    • International Guest Lectures
    • Academic Content Videos
    • Collaborative Consulting Projects
    • Collaborative Service-Learning Projects
    • Online Course Modules

What Else Do I Need to Know?

The dynamics of a globalized world and new challenges from COVID-19 have inspired the creation of new ways of teaching and learning. Carrying out collaborative projects with students from different cultures is an activity that we faculty members can use as part of their instruction.

For geographical reasons, these projects are developed in virtual environments using various technological tools such as videoconferences, social networks, or email. Linking the class into a video conference fosters true experience as students can interact in real-time with their international peers. Using practical tips, faculty can create effective pre and post-video conferencing activities, as well as assign new technologies that can help to achieve the collaborative course’s goal.

The following are tools that may be of interest: 
  • Flipgrid
    • This is a video discussion experience where students can post a video and receive, in turn, video responses from their teammates in another city or country. This tool is handy for starting the conversation and avoid having to talk to a stranger on the same day of the online session. Because of schedule differences, it is frequently not so easy to coincide times and schedule a videoconference; therefore, it is through these videos that students can meet ahead of time, share their initial concerns about the project, and discuss what they know or would like to learn.
  • Padlet
    • This is digital tool where faculty members and students can create a digital items for a wall or a notice board. This could be a poster, articles, videos, and images, as well as comments on them that can be made private for a course. 
  • Edji
    • This is an educational tool for students to interact with a text or an image, making comments using video, voice, or text. This tool combines reading and collaborative annotations to create a unique classroom discussion focused on a text, image, or PDF. Faculty members and students can post information or content they created and have their peers react or contribute to making it even better. 

How Do I Get Started?

Virtual exchange, virtual content, virtual learning are just words to characterize an excellent way for faculty members to internationalize their students’ education in meaningful, accessible, and innovative ways.

There is a wide expanse of different types of virtual international exchange models, ranging from classroom-to-classroom exchanges, faculty-led programs, virtual study abroad programs, project-based collaboration, language exchanges, various types of active curriculum internationalization, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, cross-cultural activities, and collaboration with experts and industry leaders across borders and cultures.

Faculty members can use several of the virtual exchange tools to enhance the classes they teach at SDSU now. In addition, they can design entire virtual exchange programs as alternatives to traditional faculty-led study abroad programs. And of course, the Education Abroad office is here to help.

Virtual exchange activities that faculty can incorporate into their classes or programs include but are not limited to global guest lecturers but to city tours, museum visits and other hands-on activities. We want SDSU faculty to embrace the collaborative global learning models, industry visits, problem-solving sessions, project-based collaborations, and we want to help make that happen.