VIRTUAL EXCHANGE AS AN INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN APPROACH TO PROMOTING CRITICAL SKILLS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: A CASE STUDY OF PROJECT-BASED COLLABORATION ON "SOCIAL ROBOTS IN EDUCATION"
1 Berliner Hochschule für Technik (GERMANY)
2 Educational College of Tel Aviv Yaffo (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:Virtual exchanges have become a popular way of internationalising higher education in face of an increasing global mobility. The diverse approaches to designing virtual exchanges have resulted from different application contexts, pedagogical objectives, areas of education and organisational structures. Virtual exchanges allow to bring together faculty and students from different countries without the need for travelling. When properly designed and executed, virtual exchanges bear a high potential for the development of a range of valuable competencies including digital, language, collaborative and intercultural skills.
This paper describes the design of an international virtual exchange during the summer term 2022 with university teachers and students from three universities in Germany, Israel and the USA. The paper describes the design of the virtual exchange, how it is integrated into the curricula and which 21st century skills were fostered. The aim of the virtual exchange is to bring students together to collaborate in international teams, learn from each other and give each other peer-feedback. The virtual exchange follows a project-based approach in which teams of students work on projects related to designing learning scenarios for the use of social robots in education. The courses involved in the virtual exchange were the “Learning Design” course in the B. Sc. "Digital Business" in Germany with approx. 80 students, the “Human Computer Interaction” course in the B. Sc. program "Information Systems" in Israel with approx. 180 students, and the master course “Instructional Design” in the USA with 4 students. The virtual exchange includes two synchronous meetings for all students and teachers: one at the beginning and one at the end. The synchronous exchanges are organised in the web conferencing platform Zoom and combined online presentations, discussion sessions and peer-feedbacks in international student groups in breakout rooms in Zoom. The asynchronous exchanges take place in Slack.
This paper discusses the contribution of the virtual exchange to promoting 21st century skills and reports on the first results from the virtual exchange with focus on the perception of students related to the skills they develop during the virtual exchange. The exploratory case study is conducted during the first part of the virtual exchange and is based on both the analysis of the quantitative data from an online survey designed to capture student perceptions and qualitative observations of course facilitators. The paper ends with suggestions for integrating virtual exchanges into university courses together with possible areas for future research.
Keywords: Virtual exchange, international collaboration, social robots, instructional design.