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Welcome to ENVOIE!

Date:29 September 2017
Author:Sake Jager
Students at work
Students at work

ENVOIE (pronounced 'envoy') is an eLearning project funded by the University of Groningen which aims to promote Online International Exchange (also known as ‘Online Intercultural Exchange’, ‘Virtual Exchange’ or ‘Telecollaboration’) as university-wide practice.

Online International Exchange (OIE) is a form of eLearning which connects students from two or more universities in online collaboration tasks, facilitated by communication tools such as Skype, Hangouts, or Blackboard Collaborate and usually involves other digital information and creation tools as well. For a number of weeks, the students work together on information gathering, research and problem solving tasks; compile oral, written or multimedia reports; and reflect on what it means to be doing this kind of work with peers from different geographical, cultural or disciplinary backgrounds.

This form of online learning is well suited for developing intercultural and digital competences, but it is not yet widely applied as institutional practice because teachers interested in it often do not have the time to set it up and pedagogical and technical support are frequently lacking.

In ENVOIE we seek to address these problems by offering teachers time release for developing innovative learning tasks for their students. These tasks are developed in close co-operation with foreign colleagues and supported by a multidisciplinary team consisting of eLearning supporters, staff development experts, intercultural communication trainers and internationalisation officers.

Previous experiences with OIE in the Faculty of Arts and elsewhere have generally been positive, both with teachers and students. However, for these exchanges to become valuable learning experiences, it is essential that they are linked to relevant learning outcomes and embedded in course assessment and reflection. This will be one of the main challenges for the project.  

ENVOIE currently supports exchange projects from ten disciplines in six faculties in the University of Groningen. For an overview of these projects, see the Project descriptions on this website.

This project blog will be used for regular reports from the exchanges, interviews and testimonies from participating professors and students, and tips and tricks for anyone interested in setting up similar exchanges. We hope that you will find these contributions interesting and useful.

Please contact us at ictol if you want to know more about the project. University of Groningen educators who seek advice and assistance in setting up a similar project can use the same email address to contact us.

Sake Jager
Project manager ENVOIE



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