THE VIRTUAL EXCHANGE PROJECT, VEP
1 The University of Lundt (SWEDEN)
2 The University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper is the outline for a poster submission. The Virtual Exchange Project,VEP represents an innovative approach for web based learning and teaching in nurse education.
The impact of globalization on the infrastructure of healthcare now requires professional groups to have relevant cultural knowledge and skills in order to be able to deliver effective and efficient programmes of care. Whilst direct experiential healthcare learning in a different country is invaluable, technology is now well placed to blend globalization, cultural awareness and collaboration in learning and teaching. Under the umbrella organization of Universitas 21 Health Sciences , the VEP is a new educational project whose aim is to foster the professional development of student nurses through an innovative e-technology. This project will facilitate fresh opportunities for the internationalization of nurse education and the stimulus of critical dialogue and inquiry into health and health care. With an increasing population mobility, displacement and repatriation, recognition of and sensitivity to cultural diversity is pedagogically and clinically significant. The VEP offers opportunities for cross liaison between groups of like-minded academic institutions. In addressing parity and equity the scope of the VEP will widen participation for individual students who otherwise would be unable to engage in international collaboration. Importantly it will also endeavour to promote goodwill and friendship between learners as future professional nurses.
Pedagogical and Research Considerations
The pedagogical framework for the VEP is based on a spiral approach and a strong collaborative component. Whilst maintaining a balance between collaboration, activity and content, the outset will be a light touch and the promotion of an informal liaison to establish initial contact, with incremental increase in academic depth of inquiry and curiosity-driven exploration. Whilst learner guidance is imperative for the success of the project, the VEP will be student led. A key benefit through this approach is the avoidance of information transfer and associated low motivation and engagement. In addition, the academic team from the participating Institutions have acknowledged the importance of the need for technology to support collaboration in a social environment. Criteria for the selection of appropriate software include the presence of interaction, multiple dialogues, simple instructional design and reusable learning content. It is envisaged that a number of paradigms and related research approaches will be utilized to measure the success of the VEP. The research variables will include: an assessment of the pedagogical moves to support the students, their encounters with and attitudes towards technology, the cultural context and the related exploratory language and the learning styles used in an online environment. Finally, the anticipatory success of a web based framework for intercultural collaboration will support the decision for further activity. Specifically the VEP has the potential to develop partnerships with Institutions whose infrastructure has been challenged, or those seeking to strengthen their sustainability.
Reference:  Universitas 21. The Network For International Education. Available at: http://www.u21.org/index.html
Keywords: innovation, technology, collaboration, culture, learning.