Embedded mobility within a course

The European Virtual Seminar for Sustainable Development

The aim of the EVS is to foster an international, multidisciplinary dialogue on sustainable development among students from all over Europe by using modern ICT and the internet. 

A new method, consisting of the following components: 

  • A learning community of students (and staff) of different nationalities and from different cultural and disciplinary backgrounds

  • A learning process that supports collaboration and a multidisciplinary dialogue on sustainable development between geographically distributed students

  • A learning content that consists of authentic, current scientific or societal problems

  • A learning technology based on modern ICT and the internet that facilitates collaboration, communication and interaction between the students and their teacher, and (even more importantly) between the students themselves

The learning process in the EVS differs greatly from that in mainstream education. There are no lectures in an EVS, the students have to work in international, multidisciplinary groups, the group members cannot organise face-to-face meetings, and all collaboration and social processes depend on communication using modern ICT. Moreover, the learning process is spread over a relatively long period (i.e. 16 weeks) so as to create the best possible conditionsfor virtual collaborative learning and to allow the students to participate in the EVS alongside their regular study programmes.

  • long term virtual/online seminar

  • synchronous and asynchronous

  • multi-campus

  • multidisciplinary groups

  • virtual collaborative learning

  • interactions between students and teachers and between students

  • authentic scientific and societal problems

Think Tanks

The KU Leuven – Stellenbosch University Think Tank is an extra-curricular interuniversity honours programme. Each year, both KU Leuven and Stellenbosch University select a maximum of 15 students out of all applications. The total group of 30 students is working together over the course of 10 months (from February to November) and will develop their own research project on a central theme. The participants are assisted by an interdisciplinary academic team of coaches, led by an academic coordinator. At the end of the project, the results and findings are presented to the public during a joint event. The workload is 3-4 hrs a week. 

The collaboration takes place via the available online platforms and tools. In addition, both groups of students will meet each other twice a year: once during the spring semester for a short focus week and once during the fall semester for an intense workshop week, culminating in a concluding event that will give them the opportunity to present their findings to the public.

Selected students who have successfully completed the full honours programme will be awarded a certificate. In addition, the programme is also included in the ‘Extra-Curricular IPortfolio’ activities. Subjects were: Making the City of the Future! (2015); Brave New World? Merging technologyand society (2016); Art & Science: An Enduring Relationship (2017); The Voice of the People:Izwi labantu – Stem van het volk – Vox Populi – Die stem van die mensen; the Future of Health Care (2019).

  • embedded mobility within a course

  • blended (face to face sessions at the start and at the end of the think tank)

  • long term

  • multi-campus

  • synchronous and asynchronous

  • intermittent

  • honours programme, bachelor level

  • interactions both staff and students

  • certified in portfolio

Studying in a virtual mobility context in the domain of Educational Science

An international online master level course ‘Instructional Design - Creating an educational media product’, was developed and implemented by teams from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, the Open University of the Netherlands and FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany (2018/2019). Students of three different study programmes in Educational Science collaboratively developed a mobile learning scenario based on theories and models of educational design and realized this design in a mobile learning application. In small international groups of maximum five students, an initial idea on an educational media product was conceived and afterwards, the theoretical foundation, design, implementation and evaluation were developed in iterative cycles. The course ended with a final online presentation, evaluating the results. The course combined development of professional skills at university level with international project management and international collaboration competences.

The idea was to offer a rich international learning experience for adult students, who may be less mobile due to their life situation, e.g. who combine studies and work and family duties (Vogel et al., 2018). Thus, a high degree of heterogeneity was given, even though an obvious commonality was the educational background of the study programmes.

The task was to plan, implement and evaluate an authentic educational media project, based on mobile learning design. For this purpose, an open source software application for mobile learning design, called ARLearn, was provided by the Open University of the Netherlands. Students were expected to work collaboratively in mixed groups in an online learning environment (Moodle) that was accessible for all participants, provided by FernUniversität in Hagen. Course learning objectives included both domain specific and generic skills and competences, such as project management and online international

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The Winter School “International and Comparative Studies in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning” (COMPALL)

The Winter School ”International and comparative studies in adult education and lifelong learning“ at the Julius- Maximilian-University Würzburg is part of a blended-learning activity with a preparatory and a subsequent online

The structure is as follows:

  • Joint online sessions to introduce master’s and PhD students to the analytical model (online tutorial)

  • Supplementary tutorials at all partner universities (face-to-face tutorial)

  • Online supervision for understanding comparative methodology and thus preparing individual transnational essays

  • Joint intensive phase at the Würzburg campus (intensive programmes i.e., the winter school (physical mobility)

  • Preparation of a comparative research paper (supervised by editors) on topics in comparative adult and lifelong learning and from the viewpoint of the participants’ home countries (comparative analysis) (online)

  • LinkedIn professional networks to support the long-term international network among participants (master’s and doctoral students, professors, international experts) and enable them to communicate beyond the intensive phase (professional network)

During the first week, there are two separate study pathways: one for MA and one for PhD students. This takes place via an online platform, all participants will study a range of core literature concerning social policy and pedagogical models in order to achieve common background Moreover, they have to prepare a transnational essay, (i.e., a paper tailored to national characteristics) that will be presented during the second phase.

Partners are the University of Würzburg and universities from Germany, Hungary, Denmark, the US, India, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, The Deutscher Volkshochschulverband and the European Association for Adult

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