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R. Pucher1, A. Kriz1, L. Ricci2

1University of Applied Sciences - Technikum Wien (AUSTRIA)
2Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi (ITALY)
Austrian Higher Education Institutions’ focus for promoting their students’ internationalization has been dominated by physical mobility for the last years. For various reasons, this traditional notion of mobility is a reality only for a minority of students today. Virtual mobility (VM) is a rather new concept that has gained more and more importance in recent years. VM aims to obtain the same benefits as one would have with physical mobility but with reduced need to travel. With the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), the necessity for physical mobility is reduced significantly. ”Virtual Mobility is a form of learning which consists of virtual components through an ICT supported learning environment that includes cross-border collaboration with people from different backgrounds and cultures working and studying together, having, as its main purpose, the enhancement of intercultural understanding and the exchange of knowledge” [1].

Physical mobility for students in computer science becomes increasingly difficult. This noteable fact is an unwanted side effect of today´s lifestyle of ICT students; many of them combine work and study. This blend offers significant advantages for students but limits their flexibility, as most of them have to be present at the company they work with [2].

Virtual mobility was introduced at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien (UASTW) in 2016, by forming a Double Degree Program between UASTW and the Università degli Studi di Guglielmo Marconi (GMU). GMU provides a wide range of courses predominately organized in distance learning. By offering ICT students remote study places, this collaboration depicts the ultimate example of internationalization at home: the students gain insight into different educational systems, learn to acquire new academic as well as technological skills and get the chance to learn a foreign language without having to travel. With the use of modern ICT teaching, international experience is available even if travelling possibilities are limited.

The double degree program in Software Engineering (UASTW) and Computer Science (GMU) is organized in four semesters (120 ECTS). Three semesters have to be completed at UASTW, one semester at GMU. The semester at GMU is organized as distant learning semester with a few face-to-face elements. Full details of the program will give in the proposed paper.

[1] Home & Away. Coaching exchange students from a distance. A best-practice manual on blended mobility. Eds. Op de Beeck, Bijnens, and Van Petegem, 2008.
[2] Pucher, Robert ; Holweg, Gerd ; Mandl, Thomas ; Salzbrunn, Benedikt (2015) Optimizing Higher Education for the Professional Student – The Example of Computer Science Education at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien Conference: X International GUIDE Conference, Vienna, Austria, September 16-18, 2015, At Vienna, Austria, Volume: In proceedings.of the X International GUIDE Conference, Vienna, Austria, September 16-18, 2015 (