In early 2017, the Australian National University (ANU) partnered with leading universities around the world to launch a new virtual exchange experience. The Virtual Exchange Alliance is a collaboration between eight leading universities to open up the curriculum to students from partner universities. The initial pilot involved online courses, including a selection of massively open online courses (MOOCs), and gave students the opportunity to study online with other committed students from across the globe and engage with the most cutting-edge tertiary education delivery models. It was pitched as an opportunity for students to “learn from leading academic staff and forge cross-boundary and cross-cultural awareness, knowledge, and friendships – all without leaving Canberra”. However, the administration of the program has come with unforeseen challenges. This presentation will highlight those challenges for others looking to or offering similar programs and present the lessons learnt over the past two years.
Participants will become familiar with the Global Virtual Exchange Alliance and the original intentions of the program. A brief summary of the program and how it is administered will be provided as well as a synopsis of the key benefits envisioned, particularly highlighting the key accessibility, inclusivity and opportunity-enabling factors. The session will provide participants with insight into the lessons learnt through the facilitation of the program and give a run-down of considerations for improvement following the pilot program. The primary learning objective will be to impart knowledge and learnings from the facilitation of the program to other institutions that may be considering the administration of similar programs or joining the alliance.