International networks step up to the mark in challenging times

Many international university networks have wasted no time in facing up to our current challenging times to coordinate activities towards supporting higher education institutions and students as they adapt their working arrangements to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some examples of what’s happening right now.

The EUA (European University Association) is providing online training and guidance through the EUA Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange Team by disseminating resources and setting up  webinars, masterclasses and virtual exchange activities. The EUA has also created the hashtag #UniversitiesAtHome to share good practices among teachers and learners through social media.

The University of Aveiro has a partnership with the University of Coventry (UK) to implement virtual mobility experiences for students (collaborative online international learning COIL). The promotors of this initiative are currently developing new online student exchange experiences through several departments at UA, supported by weekly information and training sessions.

The Columbus Hub Academy, an initiative of the Associación Columbus network, has been engaged in promoting collaborative online learning between students since 2016, an initiative in which ISCA has been involved by delivering online modules in collaboration with the Universidad de Colima (Mexico). Thanks to this, Associación Columbus has a large amount of available resources and the experience of professors from the Columbus network who will share their experience in a series of webinars to begin already in April.

Meanwhile the ECIU supports a wide variety of physical and virtual spaces where teachers can innovate and deliver classes, meet peers and share best practices, fostering creativity with learners, industry and public organizations. The ECIU’s InGenious initiative, minor programmes, summer schools, researcher mobility scheme, leadership development programme, industry and innovation events and joint research initiatives are carried out in virtual and physical environments and represent some of the best that higher education in Europe has to offer.

In addition, the European Commission has published a selection of online resources and tools for learners, teachers and educators during the outbreak of COVID-19 and notes that “an upcoming review of the Digital Education Action Plan in mid-2020 will further support the development of online learning at different levels of education across Europe”. The Commission also has also been running an Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative since 2018 in the field of intercultural learning.

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