Application deadline coming up!
This autumn, our flagship interactive online course will revolve around key debates on climate change. You get to discuss the social, political and environmental impact of climate change with youth from around the world. Learn from each other’s perspectives and develop important communication skills, critical thinking and other 21st-century skills.
Review the COURSE MANUAL HERE for more details about the weekly programme, assignments and requirements.
This course is open and free of charge to anyone between 18- 30 years old and is a resident in or with the nationality of, one of the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange Project countries. Applications will close on September 28, 2020.
Apply now via this webform-> https://exchangeportal.net/tp-student/register/ce-2020-fall
From MOOC to iOOC
What we call Interactive Open Online Courses can reach a great number of learners and create a wide variety of learning environments. A range of interactive courses offered through the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange project combines the deep impact of intercultural exchange, with the broad reach of massive open online learning. This allows young people to have meaningful intercultural learning experiences as a part of their formal or non-formal education. Interactive Open Online Courses benefit from the diversity in the backgrounds and nationalities of its participants and use it as primary source for learning; creating dynamic and interactive educational experiences.
Today’s students, employees, and citizens need to be able to strive in diverse contexts, regardless of their disciplines. Participants in virtual exchange develop the transversal skills required for economic and civil participation in the 21st century, namely cross-cultural competencies, digital literacies, and curiosity about experiences and understandings distinct from their own.
Bilal on gaining confidence and spreading awareness
Do you feel the Virtual Exchange course you participated in helped to raise awareness about refugees experiences?
“The course made me realise how important it is for us, as Syrians and newcomers in Europe, to express ourselves. We need to tell our story and make others hear it from us and not from the media. It is also essential to open communication channels with our new communities. This helps with our integration and understanding. However, in this course we also found common grounds to all of us: residents and refugees/newcomers. We agreed that nowadays, it is difficult to talk about different identities, as current migration waves are pushing us to build a common identity for all of us.”
Can you remember a specific moment that had an impact on you (or the group) during your participation?
“I still remember when one of the participants said: “It’s the first time I am talking to a refugee, now I know they are like me. Media gave me a negative impression about them and this was affecting my relationship with them”. In that moment I understood the impact of this project. It improves our critical thinking and provides skills to help us achieve (almost) the truth.”
Did you come in contact with participants that usually have limited access to education or intercultural experiences?
“Many participants come from conflict areas, a lot of them were not able to leave their country so could not continue with their education. Also, some of them had never met people from other countries or cultures. Remember, conflicts like the one in Syria started nine years ago.
These participants were so excited to meet people from different backgrounds and to share their stories with them. I feel proud to be contributing to giving them access to a platform where they can express themselves and learn from others. However, there are still many vulnerable people living in refugee camps and conflict areas that will never have a chance to participate in projects like Erasmus+Virtual Exchange. We should work hard to provide them with internet access.”
How did your participation in ‘Refuge/es in Europe’ impact you?
“I gained knowledge, new relationships, friends, a new way of thinking. Refugees need platforms to understand what’s happening in the rest of the world and safe spaces to express themselves. Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange provides a window to intercultural exchanges, something that is not always accessible to refugees; it’s a unique opportunity, and they deserve it.
I gained self-confidence. Now, I believe we can all contribute to promoting a global change. Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange made me realise that the impact we can make in society is not related to where we come from or what kind of official paper/citizenship situation we have, but to the efforts we are willing to make in learning and sharing experiences. “
Thank you, Bilal Hazzouri for sharing your story.
Codifying Values and Enabling Scale
Our code of conduct lays out what we believe the path to success is, how to know if we’ve arrived, and the rules of the road along the way. It is an essential map that has had both process value, i.e. benefits that come from the act of developing it, and output value, where the code itself can be used in training, quality control, harmonization, and community building.
In short, we want to share it because we believe that a collaboratively developed facilitators code of conduct has value both as an internal guideline, for us and as a template for others, and an external statement of professional values and commitments as Virtual Exchange practitioners.
We invite you to view our code of conduct here >
This code of conduct represents our commitment to the professional standards and ethics that guide our involvement in the implementation of virtual exchanges. In recognition of the importance of our commitment to constructive exchange, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members and the communities we serve, we use it to commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct.
Finally, as Virtual Exchange networks continue to increase in number and scale, we think this is relevant for everyone doing Virtual Exchange programming. Whether you are designing an exchange for 20 participants or 2000, codifying and institutionalizing standards will enable integrity, alignment, and trust.
How could you use one in your organization? What would you include in your code of conduct?
‘How can we find opportunities in conflict?’
“I took special interest in human rights, gender and conflict and therefore volunteered as a pro bono legal officer with the National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria. Being born in a conflict era in the 1990’s and having experienced the impact of violent conflict, I developed an interest in understanding conflict and how such situations can be transformed to build sustainable peace. “
Her personal and professional background motivated her to participate in the virtual exchange ‘Youth Peace and Security’ (2020) offered through the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative. Meeting weekly online in highly diverse groups guided by trained facilitators, Evelyn and her fellow group members explored core concepts of conflict and peace in a way that privileged participants’ lived experiences as expertise.
“This experience broadened my thinking on peace building and conflict transformation processes. I learnt a lot sharing ideas with peers and having the opportunity to interact with people across the world.
It gave me the platform to create new connections and relationships. To have young minds across the globe see the need to do something about the conflict situations around us. Indeed there is hope knowing that together we can take steps to make our world better and shine the light for others. I learnt a lot from my group mates, our diversity and the way things are handled in our different countries.”
Evelyn explains how she looked forward to the weekly meetings to connect and discuss. Especially the conversations about youth activation and opportunities for conflict transformation made an impact:
“I had many best moments but the one that stood out most was the discussion on the role of youth in peace building. It was interesting to note that this is our future, it’s about us, which makes it vital for us to take active steps. And I received new insight from the discussion on the ‘how can we find opportunities in Conflict?’ from my group mates. Where I had always seen the negative outcome of conflict, I came to realize that conflict offers us the opportunity to choose the kind of outcome with the way we decide to address it.
(…) We must not forget our humanity and if we see each other in this light, then we learn to treat each other better and find common grounds to resolve issues amicably. We must start with ourselves to take responsibility and be accountable with our actions towards each other.”
Thank you, Evelyn Anietie James, for sharing your story.