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TO ENHANCE INTERCULTURAL SENSITIVITY SKILLS BY INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL MOBILITY LEARNING. THE TOTEMM PROJECT: AN INCLUSIVE VIRTUAL ERASMUS EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENT MIDWIVES

A.M. Smit1, M. Van Oost1, S. Borelli2, L. Walker2, S. Konstantinidis2, K. Coolin2, A. Nespoli3, S. Fumagali3, S. Mets-Olja4, A. Karema4, H. Spiby2

1University of applied Sciences Inholland AVAG (NETHERLANDS)
2University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
3University of Milano Bicocca (ITALY)
4Tallinn Health College (ESTONIA)
Background:
Contemporary and future healthcare needs midwives who listen and act appropriately to the needs of the woman and her family's individual needs. Insight in and understanding of global health and act intercultural sensitive are essential competences for student midwives. International student mobility programmes stimulate students to obtain these competences. The current mobility model excludes large numbers of students from engaging in mobility programmes. Finding and evaluating new inclusive ways to widen opportunities in transnational learning and the development of intercultural sensitivity is an urgent priority.

Aim:
To promote equity, social inclusion and participation in transnational learning of student midwives studying in England, Italy, Estonia and The Netherlands by creating and implementing a new inclusive mobility model comprising virtual and physical mobility activities. A secondary aim is to investigate the impact of the combination of virtual and physical mobility activities on the development of intercultural sensitivity.

Duration:
September 2019 to August 2022.

Project activities:
One introductory e-learning package on European midwifery and four virtual e-learning packages focussing on public health topics are being co-created by academics, learning technologists and student midwives from the four partner organisations. Intensive study programmes will provide staff and students with the required knowledge about public health and innovative e-learning technologies. The ASPIRE framework, which stands for Aims, Storyboarding, Populate and Produce, Integration, Release and Evaluate, will be used to develop the healthcare open education resources. The virtual packages will consist of podcasts, lectures, literature and assignments where international collaboration is required. Twenty midwifery students from each country will participate in virtual exchange activities (n=80). In the pilot phase of the TOTEMM project a physical mobility week between partner countries will provide data (e.g focusgroups) to evaluate the project.

Evaluation:
Mixed-methods data collection and analysis methods will be used to evaluate students’ outcomes and experiences (surveys and focus groups). Intercultural sensitivity will be measured prior to and following completion of the virtual and physical mobility activities. An advisory group of experts, students and health care users will be convened to provide expert advice throughout the project.

Preliminary results:
The base line survey outcomes: The sample included 205 student midwives who reported to be highly interested in short mobility opportunities (71,8%). Identified barriers were eg. financial constraints (33,3%), fitting it in the midwifery programme (24,5%), language barriers (23,6%), caring responsibilities (22,3%). Video, quizzes, discussion forum were regarded positively as online learning resources.

Discussion:
If the TOTEMM project will contribute to the further development of intercultural awareness and sensitivity among students the TOTEMM mobility model could be beneficial for other students in the (post) COVID-19 pandemic where physical mobility programmes between countries may be less a matter of course.

Funding:
Erasmus+ (KA203 Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education).