About Virtual Exchange

virtual meeting room with image of colorful river

Within the realm of international education, international exchanges have been a transformational tool that provide students and faculty the opportunity to explore global issues with depth and to create connections with others from backgrounds that may be different from their own.

Traditionally, these exchange opportunities were facilitated by travel or study abroad; however, in the age of Zoom and WebEx, the opportunities for intercultural exchanges have expanded to the virtual sphere. Virtual Exchange is a dynamic approach by which students and faculty can engage with partners from other cultural contexts or countries using a virtual platform as a meeting space.

There are various forms of virtual exchanges, whether they be student-to-student or faculty-to-faculty dialogues or larger scale exchanges that involve students, faculty, and community members working together to address global (and local) problems. The lengths of time for a virtual exchange are variable and can range from a single virtual meeting to an entire semester-long series of exchanges. They can be completed in a synchronous (online live) or asynchronous format.

Virtual exchange helps to provide transformational learning experiences to students, but without the barriers (cost, time, & stereotypes) associated with traditional study abroad. By providing virtual exchange opportunities to students, we ensure that those who are unable to participate in study abroad programs are still able to engage in the benefits that intercultural exchanges provide.

At Harper College, the Office of International Education (OIE) supports, facilitiates, and organizes many virtual exchange programs for faculty. Contact them for more information about any of the programs or information found in this book: https://www.harpercollege.edu/academics/international/index.php

This guide was prepared with the support of OIE and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as part of the Social Justice Leadership Program at Harper College: https://www.harpercollege.edu/equity/certificate.php


A Guide to Virtual Exchange Copyright © by Kathleen Reynolds. All Rights Reserved.

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