The Sharing Perspectives Foundation is primarily responsible for the design and implementation of the Virtual Exchange programme “Climate Justice: from Inequality to Inclusion”.
‘Climate Justice: From Inequality to Inclusion’ is an interactive, international, online learning experience about one of humanity’s biggest challenges: Finding just and inclusive ways to respond to the climate crisis. Through Virtual Exchange, students from diverse national and cultural backgrounds learn with – and from – each other, by engaging in dialogue, skill-building activities, and an activating group project.
Over the course of this 10-week programme, students meet online on a weekly basis for a two-hour group session guided by trained facilitators, to exchange ideas on the week’s topic(s) and discuss the content. They also engage in relationship building activities and exercises to enhance their intercultural competencies. Alongside group learning, this course includes a curriculum offering engaging bite-sized audiovisual materials like videos, articles and podcasts. These materials provide information on key concepts, as well as spotlight a range of perspectives and voices on the sociopolitical dimensions of climate change. The curriculum is designed to provoke thoughts and critical thinking, provide starters for discussions, and create awareness.
Who is the course for?
This course is free and accessible for students of partner institutions of the CliVEx project between 18 and 30 years old. A basic comprehension of the English language, including A1 level of speaking and writing, is necessary for students to participate. Students need to have access to a laptop or PC with internet connection and committed to join the online group sessions and fulfil assignments and a group project throughout the 10-week programme.
What do students learn?
Students are presented with audiovisual learning materials that are accessible on a weekly basis. This curriculum focuses on materials about inequality and power in the context of the climate crisis, as well as different approaches to responding to the climate crisis; from inclusive climate action to global politics and policy. The resources also provide insights on the media landscape related to climate change, ways climate stories are communicated, and how this translates into action.
Generally speaking, the learning materials that comprise this audiovisual curriculum are selected to:
- Provide key information in accessible ‘language’.
- Spotlight diverse experiences and voices.
- Present creative and thought-provoking ideas.
- Inspire and activate.
By combining different synchronous and asynchronous learning elements, students will gain valuable transversal skills and competencies, including:
Global Awareness and Systems Thinking: Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of global climate challenges, sociopolitical issues, and the interconnectedness of various systems to understand the complexity and nuances of local issues.
Digital Literacy: Students improve their competency in utilizing tech platforms, building multimedia products, and engaging in digital communication effectively.
Effective Communication: Students will enhance their verbal communication and active listening skills, resulting in higher confidence and effectiveness in communication and collaboration in culturally diverse groups.
Leadership and Collaboration: Students develop leadership qualities and the ability to work collaboratively in diverse and remote teams to achieve common goals.
Intercultural competence and intercultural sensitivity: Students learn to reflect on personal biases and value diverse perspectives, experiences and backgrounds.
Creativity and Innovation: Students are encouraged to think creatively and adopt innovative approaches to addressing challenges.
Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility: Students will foster a sense of civic responsibility and active engagement in addressing societal issues.
Sustainability Competences: Students will gain sustainable values, such as valuing sustainability and supporting fairness, improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and act towards sustainability through collective action and individual initiatives.
How do students learn?
In this Virtual Exchange course students are active and autonomous under the guidance of trained facilitators, the exchanges continue over a number of weeks rather than being one-off encounters, and, fundamentally, they focus on forging meaningful encounters between young people centring their lived experiences. By embracing high levels of diversity, we recognize each participant as a valuable source of knowledge, considering them experts in their own realities. This experiential learning process empowers students to improve transversal skills, such as intercultural competencies and foreign language proficiency, as they directly engage with national and cultural others.
Weekly Online Group Sessions
The live, online, dialogue sessions represent a safe space where students can confront challenging and sensitive issues, address power dynamics, and gain confidence to speak to their peers with honesty, empathy and curiosity. To achieve this, we foster high levels of diversity; seeing each individual as a source of knowledge and an expert in their own lived experience. This experiential learning process stimulates the practice of transversal skills such as cross-cultural competences and foreign language proficiency as participants directly engage with national and cultural others.
Weekly Learning Materials and Assignments
Prior to their online group session, students review the week’s learning materials and are required to submit a short written response. Their submissions should not be a summary, but rather a thoughtful comment that demonstrates that the student has fully engaged with the learning materials. After their participation in the week’s online group sessions, students are required to share their thoughts about the session in their individual, private reflection journal. Their submissions will create a personal record of their experience and development through the 10-week learning process.
Students collaborate in teams on a ‘Climate Action Project’ to bring their online experience to their offline realities in an act of cross-border cooperation. These Climate Action Projects are collaborative projects that are designed collectively and then implemented locally. Empowered by newfound knowledge and intercultural competencies, students work together to collectively design innovative climate actions to be implemented in their local realities. The Climate Action Projects are structured around the principles of inclusivity and climate justice, and aim to leave a lasting impact on their communities and the climate beyond the end of the course.
This unique group project is designed to foster intercultural collaboration, and entails hands-on and peer-supported improvement of transversal skills. These include intercultural competences, communication, sustainability competences, conflict resolution, entrepreneurship, digital competences, teamwork, self-empowerment, and project management and delivery.
Students will start with their Climate Action Projects in Week 3 by forming teams and choosing a topic. They will then develop and submit a project plan in Week 5 and will start with implementing their ideas thereafter, providing an update on their experiences and progress by Week 7. Toward the end of the course, teams will present their Climate Action Projects to fellow students during the online group sessions. The final milestone is for students to submit a project-related blog post reflecting on their experience and learning, as well as the impact of their Climate Action Project. The Climate Action Projects are expected to take 40 hours of individual and group work outside students’ online group sessions.
For more information, please visit the project’s website: https://clivex.eu/
The Digital Us wil sociale media transformeren tot een meer inclusieve en toegankelijke omgeving waar jongeren die in Nederland online racisme ervaren zich veiliger te kunnen uiten. De huidige online omgeving is in toenemende mate vijandig. Tegelijkertijd ligt de verantwoordelijkheid om racisme tegen te gaan nog te veel bij mensen die hier slachtoffer van zijn. Dit project wil dat veranderen door mensen die racisme online meemaken samen te brengen met degenen die dat niet ervaren, maar wel willen leren effectieve bondgenoten te zijn om online interacties inclusiever en veiliger te maken.
The Digital Us bestaat uit drie activiteiten: een virtuele uitwisseling, trainingssessies en een ‘praktijk periode. Dialoog, peer-learning en actie zijn hierbij de kernwoorden.
The Digital Us is een project waar de kennis en ervaringen van jongeren centraal staan. Om ervoor te zorgen dat de inhoud van de uitwisseling, de training en de ‘praktijkperiode’ goed aansluit bij de ervaringen en leefwereld van jongeren, worden er 10 deelnemers betrokken bij de start van dit project als kerngroep voor ideeën en advies. Daarnaast wordt er een innovatieve sociale media-analyse uitgevoerd die, in combinatie met de bevindingen uit de kerngroep, ervoor zorgt dat de verdere activiteiten doelgericht en betekenisvol zijn.
Tijdens de virtuele uitwisselingen gaan 75 jongeren onder begeleiding van facilitators met elkaar het gesprek aan over uitdagende onderwerpen die vaak onbesproken blijven, zoals culturele afkomst, etniciteit, privilege en (on)veiligheid online. Deze gesprekken vinden plaats op basis van nieuwsgierigheid, gelijkwaardigheid en empathie en stimuleren de ontwikkeling van vaardigheden zoals constructief communiceren, actief luisteren en zelfreflectie.
Na de uitwisseling worden de jongeren samen getraind in effectieve manieren om social media veiliger en inclusiever te maken, en zullen ze als bondgenoten deze nieuwe vaardigheden toepassen door in te grijpen online. Gedurende dit proces worden deelnemers begeleid door ervaren coaches.
The Digital Us is een project van Stichting Sharing Perspectives en Build-Up start op 1 september 2023. Vanaf november wordt de kerngroep betrokken en vanaf februari 2024 zullen de virtuele uitwisselingen tussen jongeren starten. De evaluatie van het project wordt in augustus 2024 verwacht.
The subsidy granted to institutions is intended as a contribution to freeing up the necessary hours for a lecturer and/or educationalist to design or revise and implement a virtual collaborative project. Any institution that has been granted this specific subsidy is also offered a range of activities to build capacity for designing effective and successful virtual projects; from facilitated intervision meetings, to various training courses, online information sessions, an in-person conference, an online helpdesk and a community platform.
To be honest, we’re not only sharing this information here to show our enthusiasm for such an initiative – as it strengthens the mainstreaming of quality virtual intercultural collaboration and learning in higher education sector. But we can also announce that the Sharing Perspectives Foundation has joined forces with experts from CINOP, University of Groningen, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and UNICollaboration as the implementing consortium of this pioneering initiative from the Dutch ministry!
Since the conception of this programme, we’ve been dedicating quite some time towards initiating activities, developing the VIS website, building relationships within the consortium and implementing the first rounds of training for educators. Our involvement in this programme is already proving to be a great learning experience on the current needs and challenges of educators and other HEI professionals in developing and facilitating international oriented virtual learning experiences. Working closely with VIS practitioners in our virtual trainings and following our quality assurance methods has already led to great improvements of our training materials and instructional approach.
So even if the activities under this support programme are only offered strictly to Higher Educational Institutions in the Netherlands, we certainly take everything we learn from this initiative on board to refine our methods in our other projects. Whether that is in our consulting activities, Virtual Exchange programme development for third parties, training organizations in virtual teaching or collaboration, or how to support partner organizations in our flagship VE programme.
And off course, we hope to activate all higher education professionals in the Netherlands to learn more and apply for the specific subsidy, to make this government funded programme a successful example for other countries to follow.
Learn more about Virtual International Collaboration projects on the website www.visinhetho.nl