Are online international higher education programmes here to stay?

Yes, because they are more accessible, affordable and environmentally friendly than traditional schemes.
90% (9 votes)
Perhaps only very expensive executive programmes run by elite higher education institutions.
0% (0 votes)
Perhaps only cheap programmes designed for poor students that can't afford a proper international experience.
10% (1 vote)
Perhaps only for extra-curricular activities such as foreign language learning.
0% (0 votes)
Perhaps only as a substitute for traditional schemes in the case of emergencies and natural disasters.
0% (0 votes)
No, because no online scheme can substitute for the experience of travelling and living abroad.
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 10

Comments

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, online higher education was treated only as an alternative to educational institutions so they could offer something beyond the tradicional classroom teaching. However, since March 2020, several sectors have had to rethink their performance, and higher education was no different. With the discoveries of different ways of using the communication technologies at our disposal, higher education starts to cross borders that, until then, were not fully explored. Online international higher education takes now on a new meaning, not only as a means of survival for educational institutions, but also to play a relevant social role, covering different cultures, beliefs and perspectives of different students around the world. I believe it is essential that higher education institutions can recognize and understand the diversity of international students in relation to their needs and expectations, as a way of aligning future strategies with the diversity of international students. Also, we can see new opportunities for online international higher education. I would like to describe just a few of them: 1. Artificial intelligence: to help students understand and apply the concepts learned more effectively. With AI, it is possible to offer an educational system that meets the individual needs of each student. Through the experiences of students in the past, it is possible to facilitate learning in the present. 2. Gamification: as already mention by our teacher, Diego, and explored by our colleagues in the course, the idea is to use game techniques in different situations to increase student interest and the absorption of the content transmitted. Especially with the arrival of the generation of digital natives to universities, new technologies help to bring more dynamism to the teaching-learning process and motivate students to learn. 3. Teacher as a learning mediator: I believe we must teach collaboratively and build joint learning with students. This is a profound change, once this practice can provide the skills and competencies necessary for students to perform their professional role and the construction of their critical thinking. And we must not forget that this can also increase the use of active methodologies with our students as they are now in the position of self-directed learners
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 9
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1
Expert vote

I agree with Thel that many Universities that had traditional courses in classroom, they had the opportunity to offer online course in the last four months (mar to jun/2020). The Covid-19 pandemic changed the work routines. Students and lecturers discovered that online classes can works very well. Currently, some subjects of course will be offer online and it will be the new normal for Universities on the next semester and after the pandemic. I think this is great for all of us (students and lecturers) because everybody will learn in different way with new technologies and active methodologies. There will be a great potential for collaborate with colleagues abroad and increase the specific and general knowledge (e.g. learning about a specific subject as supply chain management and improve knowledge on different cultures).
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 9
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1
Expert vote

The online international higher education programmes are here to stay. I think that this is not a premise or perspective for the future, that is already the future and the reality. The Coronavirus Pandemic confirms the positive aspects of online activities, if we had no way to communicate through these means at the present time, our life would be much worse in every way. In this comment, I would like to highlight three points related to online international higher education programmes that I consider important: 1) Use of the technology: the teacher/professor must have better knowledge about this form of education, as we have seen in Diego's lectures about the hardware needs and also in the English teacher´s video when she looks for better alternatives for everything to work well online, 2) International exchanges are something for life. The experience of contact with another country is indisputable, exchanges with another culture and other people change our lives, as reported by Eramus videos, 3) In the online medium, there is the limit imposed by the computer screen. The person has a virtual perception of the city and the people, but without having high financial costs, without generating more waste for the environment and in an affordable way. Thus, to someone that doesn´t have financial conditions to study abroad now maybe it is possible to do it online. These are the three important points that I tried to highlight of online internationalization.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 8
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1
Expert vote

I agree with my colleagues that there is no way back. Online teaching is here to stay. If, on one hand, the required infrastructure and teacher training may represent an implementation barrier for higher institutions, on the other hand, it breaks one of the biggest entrance barriers for students in international courses: geographic distance. With no need to be at one specific place, students may adjust their own timetable to the course workload in an easier way, sidestepping, at a first glance, the need to change from their living countries/cities. The main drawback from this type of course is the lack of real social interaction among the different students. This is an issue that can`t be eliminated, but it can be circumvented, at some extent, by virtual interaction during lectures and after-class work. In fact, by breaking the costly geographic barrier, the implementation of international online courses may promote a virtuous cycle. As they enable the access of a greater number of high-quality and international students, these courses, if well designed, allow the formation of highly prepared and diverse student bodies, which increases the quality of the teaching experience and, consequently, the quality of the courses themselves.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 9
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1
Expert vote

I agree with Remo, on line international teaching depends infrastructure and lecturer training. So, I think that some subjects that are going very well and with successful on traditional courses have a opportunity to expand to a higher number of students that may be in the different places. Then, I believe that there will be a mix of online classes and traditional classroom.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 4
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0
Expert vote

When we talk about distance learning, it is very important to clearly understand what kind of learning we are talking about. On the one hand, we are talking about traditional academic training, and on the other hand, about international courses that bring together representatives from different countries. Covid-19 pandemic turned into distance learning and academic training. And it was a great opportunity to continue the educational process for those higher education institutions that were ready for such a transition (unfortunately, it should be noted that not all higher education institutions were equally ready for such a transition). However, it is worth noting that traditional offline classes are still indispensable in a regular learning project. After all, offline meetings that allow you to "share" live energy and more effectively attract even those students who are not always self-motivated. It is another matter when we talk about international programs and international courses. Their main difference from academic training is that they usually bring together the most motivated and interested representatives from different countries. Accordingly, discussions and debates move to a new level, which is much higher. This is also due to the fact that most often such programs provide competitive selection of participants. Distance learning in international projects has a number of other advantages: first of all, it allows you to overcome geographical obstacles. Thus, such courses bring together representatives of different countries, continents, different time zones, views on life and, what is very important, countries with different economic and social development. At the same time, international projects implemented through remote sensing are much cheaper and therefore more accessible to both organizers and participants. The cheapness of online projects compared to offline allows you to focus not on side tools, venues, etc., but clearly on the content of the course or project. That is why I believe that international courses must definitely stay and develop.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 8
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1
Expert vote

I would like to make one more comment and also replay to Iryna's comment. Iryna said at the end of her comment that offline courses are cheaper than online courses. I don't know if that was a mistake or if she really means that. Here in Brazil, an online undergraduate course is about 50% cheaper than a presencial course. So online international higher education must be cheaper than a presencial international higher education course. I would also like to say that for some areas, the presencial or semi-presencial course is essential, such as Medicine, Physiotherapy, Physical Education etc. However, I see the initiative to make international exchanges as essential for professional training. Exchanges with other students from abroad bring to life a unique experience, due to cultural differences, solutions and problems that can be shared. Above all, I see that establishing contact with someone from another country in the learning process is a way of getting to know yourself better, based on the differences perceived in the other person. Thus, I again affirm that online international higher education programmes is here to stay.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 5
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0
Expert vote

Cinthia, of course, it was a mistake. Thank you. I've just edited it.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 2
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0
Expert vote

Reading my colleagues' comments, I would like to put a point for reflection: the flexibility of learning anytime, anywhere, is the ideal that we pursue. I believe we all agree with that. The technical infrastructure to allow teachers and students to work in any location of their choice is only part of making the dream come true. I think, moreover, as important as infrastructure is pedagogy, approaches to facilitate learning that can improve the opportunities presented by technology. I believe that this is a time for online international higher education to challenge the current view. Perhaps an "education 4.0" is a time to introduce more creative flexibility into online international higher education.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 6
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0
Expert vote

I have watched the videos and read my classmates' comments, which have started a fascinating debate. They have noticed many advantages (showed in videos 3rd and 4th related to Erasmus programs). As Cinthia mentioned, some of them as "the exchange with another culture and other people" are an opportunity, overcome financial challenges. Or as Thel suggested, "to cross borders" and to make teaching more flexible ("education 4.0") where the teacher is a facilitator, and the students take a more protagonist role, with more flexible timetables (Remo dixit). But my classmates also noted a bunch of disadvantages that must be overcome. As Remo discusses, the lack of real social interaction needs to be substituted in a someway in online teaching. As Iryna mentioned, this can be solved with the international students' inner motivation, very committed to the course. I fully agree with a comment made by Iryna too, when says that "not all higher education institutions were equally ready for such a transition." For me, this is critical and is much related to video one, where there is a significant number of resources at the service of online teaching. I wish I could have all the resources seen in that video. It would be great to have the expert support of a technical team behind the online classes. As Eliciane mentioned in her comment, "everybody will learn in different ways with new technologies and active methodologies, " and it is good to know how to use all this technology. Still, in the end, to have the right level of expertise in your topic, you need to read a lot, research a lot, keep up to date. One cannot be excellent in all the sectors. Even acknowledging the advantages of online teaching, to upgrade the offer, several profiles should be behind the classes: The technical, the lecturer, the supervisor of polls, among others. Putting all together in one person is too much to obtain high levels of quality. The way I see it is like research teams. To achieve excellence, you need several interdisciplinary profiles in the group. To work correctly, you need someone collecting the data, others analyzing it, others working in the conceptualization, and others in search of funding, among others. Generally, when only a person must do it alone, it never gets the top level, which is saved for the high-impact teams with those resources. For this reason, the Eurosci platform is critical for me in this regard. It brings us many opportunities to grow as online teachers in a field, where, at least in my institution, we are far behind top universities. As Sofia (the online English teacher) shows in the last video presented, teaching online classes may seem easy, but it is very challenging and exhausting. We can make our best and still don't get the results expected. It is a combination of factors, and for having excellent teaching, we need not only our best intention but also the logistics. This course is the first step, but we need to persuade our institutions to put the means on our behalf to explore all the possibilities that, as my classmates mentioned, the COVID situation has exposed. Much remain to be done, and we are here to demand it.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 7
Peer vote
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1
Expert vote