Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 highlights APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program
January 15, 2022

On December 7, APRU co-hosted the Sub-Forum 4: “Virtual Mobility and Cocurricular Programming” of the Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 hosted by Tsinghua University in collaboration with UNESCO IITE. The event featured keynote speeches and case studies from six APRU member universities who all made international education accessible under the APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program, which allows students to take academic courses and participate in co-curricular programs without physically leaving home.

The audience was comprised of instructors, researchers, experts, policy makers, and practitioners in the field of Massive Open Online Courses and online education from around the world.

The Global MOOC Alliance is a diverse group of 17 world-leading universities and 3 online education platforms from across 14 countries in all 6 continents led by Tsinghua University.

“The APRU VSE Program was launched with the unique preposition to create co-curriculum activities, and its strong focus on cultural leadership, careers and social aspects of study abroad experience in virtual delivery is precisely the focus we will need in the post-pandemic era,” said APRU Secretary General Christopher Tremewan, who chaired the session.

Alan Chan, Provost, J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), in his keynote speech recalled how the pandemic has compelled CUHK to renew its commitment to internationalization.

“When all of a sudden the campus became so quiet, then all of a sudden we realized that things we had taken for granted in the past are so central to what we do as a knowledge enterprise,” Chan said.

“We realized that global learning and international student exchanges are not peripheral to what we do here at CUHK but are part of our DNA,” he added.

Other keynote speeches were delivered by Dr. Xuemin Xu, Vice President (Education and International Affairs), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Professor Eduardo Vera Sobrino, Director of International Affairs, University of Chile.

Xu explained that the new technologies that were developed for teaching and learning as a response to the pandemic will in a post-pandemic era allow students to become global citizens and contribute to UN Sustainable Development goals. Vera Sobrino described how IT-based research sped up in-house internationalization and broadened the global perspective of local problems.

“In the APRU exchange program, most exchange students in our classes spoke English as second language, which helped our own students to feel much more confident in using English as the medium of instruction,” Vera Sobrino said.

“Clearly, the advantages of diversity in the classroom really surpassed the barrier of using language other than the native language,” he added.

Shally Fan, Director of Academic Links, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated how the APRU VSE Program gave the students a holistic exchange experience just like they would have had when traveling abroad. Fan cited the results of a survey CUHK conducted among the exchange students.

“Students said that it inspired them and explained that their minds were able to access the partner universities abroad without physically being there,” Fan said.

Seung Hyun Yang, Manager, International Mobility & Cooperation Team, Office of International Affairs, Korea University (KU), reported on the virtual KU experience that enabled exchange students to take a deep dive into K Pop from the historical development to recent issues, as well as into KU’s “Tiger Pride” cheerleading culture.

Wang Xiaoxiao, Director of Online Education Center, Tsinghua University, reported on Tsinghua University’s global open course, which has attracted 2.3 million learners since its launch in October.

Voraprapa Nakavachara, Assistant to the President for Global Engagement, Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that the pandemic experience proved that cross registration and credit transfer is possible, opening the doors to “a bigger thing” in the future.

“The virtual student exchange program proved that you can be a global citizen and attend universities anywhere,” Nakavachara said.

“We as faculty must be able to adopt to change and be open minded to new technology,” she added.

Revisit the Sub-Forum 4 here

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