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:


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