Recording of our Webinar about Virtual Mobility, May 29, 2017


Virtual mobility: a growing trend

As is the case with physical mobility, virtual mobility can support credit mobilityAs is the case with physical mobility, virtual mobility can support credit mobility as well as degree mobility. In both forms, also blended or hybrid mobility can be applied.

Credit versus degree mobility

In the case of credit mobility, students follow single courses or course units in a university abroad. This can also be a seminar, a project, thesis work, an internship, a lab, a set of exercises, etc. If you want to do so, e.g. in another distance university programme, you have to talk with your teaching staff or your dean to agree on this. Please, notice thatan initiative for mobility can both come from the programme or from a student. So, you can come up with a concrete proposal which will enrich and personalise your programme.


Dana Vioreanu



Concepts of adult education

This course is offered by Vytautas Magnus University.


Management of Education Innovations

This course is offered by Vytautas Magnus University.



Teaching and learning methods:

Teaching methods:

  • explanation,
  • demonstration,
  • illustration,
  • questions,
  • moderation of discussion,
  • consultation,
  • oral and written critical discussion,
  • oral and written reflection.





Virtual Mobility

“Student mobility is on the rise. A previous Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education  set a target of at least 20% of those graduating in the European higher education area having participated in a study or training period abroad by 2020. While this aim is very desirable, it does beg the question: What about the remaining 80% of students who may not engage in some kind of physical mobility during their studies?”

EAIE (European Associaation for International Education) has pointed the issue with existing and so called physical mobility. How could this be handled? Many argue that virtual mobility is a way to go. Although, the experience of someone spending a semester abroad can never be the same as someone taking courses online, yet it is still a good opportunity in order to gain some kind of intercultural competence while staying in owns own country.

According to the elearningeuropa portal, Virtual Mobility means: “The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to obtain the same benefits as one would have with physical mobility but without the need to travel.”

In order to reach the goal of virtually mobilizing a larger proportion of the 80% of students who do not take part in some kind of physical mobility, this initiative normally has to face some challenges. Obviously, technological, organisational as well as time constrains play a role. In my opinion, when talking about virtual mobility of students ECTS play again a major role. It is very hard to believe that a student will take part in a course or even more of them if he does not get the credits for it. Thus, a mechanism is to be developed in order to enable students to take part in courses of other universities virtually, where the ECTS are ensured. A best practice scenario in my opinion, would be courses which are offered from more universities at the same time with the same content. Taking the course Communication in “Massive Open Online Courses” which is this semester offered by University of Salzburg as an example, it can actually simultaneously be offered by other universities, and we could actually have had the opportunity to discuss the topics relevant to MOOCs with students from other universities, different cultures and backgrounds. Moreover, besides being part of the course, the students who then know each other could register for MOOCs together. This could in my opinion increase someone’s motivation to engage in the discussion of the content learnt in MOOCs, hence you actually know someone who is taking the same online course as you.

The following site sums up the most important facts about virtual mobility, its types and models as well as challenges of virtual mobility.





Virtual Mobility (Virtual Erasmus)

Virtual Moblity in the higher education system

EPICS: New Oppertunities for International Student Mobility. ( )

Virtual Erasmus is a concept of virtual mobility which supports universities zu enhance the quality of their curricula. At the same time it supports the presentation of their international profile. Students can access in this network to individualise their courses by a broader variety of courses:

„The overall concept of Virtual Erasmus is similar to that of physical Erasmus: a student enrolled in a university degree programme leaves the home university for one or two terms to study a portion of the degree at a foreign university. This university must be part of the same Erasmus network.“

The universities can select courses of other institutes which may apply the most to their needs and curricula, so they can guarante, that the ECTS points will be recognized towards the degree at the home university.

EPICS represents the centralised Virtual Erasmus web portal
It contains a database wich shows all distance and e-learning courses available.

Participating organisations

  • EADTU (NL)
  • Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (ES)
  • EuroPACE (BE)
  • Linköping University (SE)
  • Open Universiteit Nederland (NL)
  • Open University (UK)
  • Estonian Information Technology Foundation (EE)
  • International Telematic University UNINETTUNO (IT)
  • Universidade Aberta (PT)
  • Anadolu University (TK)
  • Fernstudien Schweiz (CH)


Virtual Mobility Definition

„It includes collaborative learning in online student

communities, virtual seminars, virtual projects, joint thesis work, constructive group learning around wiki-like activities with different stakeholders involved, etc. An international experience by virtual mobility therefore is not restricted to one university or country and group of fellow students. Further the skills gained in virtual mobility reflect the skills needed in today’s labour market, such as intercultural skills, the ability to communicate and cooperate in an online environment and proficiency in modern ICT and web 2.0 technologies.“ ( Manual Epic EADTU 2017: 4 )

Virtual Moblity might be a best practice model for internationalising the curricula of universities in the concept of blended learning, because social interaction and collaboration is also on a virtual campus a key factor. (Parra 2017)


Virtual Mobility as preparation to a new work paradigm

The concept and usage of virtual mobility is also seen as a possibility to improve and gain intercultural skills and a new form of media literacy, which will be more significant in the future (Stansfield / Collonoy 2009: 198)

Stansfield / Collony (2009): Institutional Transformation through Best Practices in Virtual Campus Development: Advancing E-Learning Policies. S.198-214


Virtual mobility

„Virtual mobility, defined as “a set of ICT supported activities that realize or facilitate international, collaborative experiences in a context of teaching and/or learning”, has great potential to contribute to the internationalization of higher education.“ (p. 1)

„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.“ (p. 5)

Different types of virtual mobility can be carved out:  

The first one is related to international student or staff exchanges. One idea is to use virtual mobility for facilating a physical international exchange, the second opportunity is to realise an international exchange with the help of virtual mobility. With the second opportunity, virtual mobility just has a supporting role.

The second type is related to an international internship. Virtual mobility can can also facilitate a physical international internship, then one part would be virtaul an another one would be physical. The otherpossibility is to realise the international internship exclusively virtual.

The third type is related to an internationalised curriculum. Virtual mobility can be used as a scenario to internationalise a (part of a) course (chapter, exercise, task, project), programme, workshop, seminar. This also can be fully virtual or mixed with physical parts. (p. 3)

Project of virtual mobility:

„European cooperation in education through.Virtual Mobility. A best-practice manual.“

For the project 16 examples of Virtual Mobility activities and 19 Virtual Mobility projects were analysed  in order to find out the advantages and challenges of Virtual Mobility and come to conclusions and recommendations.

Findings and recommendations:

  • the most disadvantages of virtual mobility have to do with organisational aspects
  • the arrangements for Virtual Mobility should be as close as possible to those for physical ERASMUS
  • a coherent e-learning pedagogy on how to organise Virtual Mobility initiatives does not yet exist
  • assessement procedures aren’t easy to design and should be built on the study process
  • the virtual components in mobility activities should be well thought through since they have a huge impact on the pedagogy, the support, the assessment procedures and the practical organisation of collaborative activities
  • the technological infrastructure needs to be optimal and the envisaged activities should be adapted to the level of IT skills of learners and teachers
  • there is need for training and support (p. 5-6)




Helena Bijnens, Machteld Boussemaere, Kamakshi Rajagopal, Ilse Op de Beeck & Wim Van Petegem (2006): European cooperation in education through.Virtual Mobility. A best-practice manual, Beligium:  EUROPACE IVZW, Online:

Ilse Op de Beeck, Wim Van Petegem: VIRTUAL MOBILITY: AN ALTERNATIVE OR COMPLEMENT TO PHYSICAL MOBILITY? in: Media and Learning Unit KU Leuven, Online:


Virtual mobility

Virtual mobility is a possibility for persons of higher education, teachers and students, to use institutions outside their country to study and teach for a limited time without physically leaving their home, for example Erasmus-programs. This concept works with using new information and communication technologies. (Wikipedia)

An example for virtual mobility in Europe isEDUContact – European Distance Education Contact Centre:
It is „[…] a project for global promotion and partnership for European distance higher education.“
It organises access to different courses by European universities through a European contact centre.
„EduContact aims to show the diversity of contexts, cultures and languages of distance higher education in Europe within one contact centre acting for all the present and future partners of the project.“

It does not use virtual mobility only, it also focuses on the direct human interaction provided through the use of the  contact centre of the French national centre for distance education (CNED).

„EduContact’s second key issue is the continuous survey of the motivation for European distance higher education through a multilingual on line questionnaire. The needs and interest expressed by the students all over the world will be collected and taken into account for the further development of courses on offer, and for more general European strategies regarding distance higher education.“

„EduContact is an opportunity for large and small distance learning universities to benefit from the European dimension and visibility of the project, and to be able to promote their courses. EduContact is open to new higher education partners,
for whom a particular agreement will be drawn up.#