The International Conference “Virtual Balkans. Virtual Collaborative Learning in Higher Education” was held on November 30, 2022, at EPOKA University, Albania, as the final activity of the VALEU-X Project. It wa organised on-site, with both hybrid and fully online sessions. The conference was co-organised by EPOKA University and UNIMED, Mediterranean Universities Union, with the contribution of all the project consortium partners.

While organising the Conference, Partners invited researchers and practitioners to submit research abstracts to join the event. Many contributions addressing different aspects related to virtual collaborative learning, internationalisation and home, virtual mobility and more have been received. Many authors sent their original contributions of empirical, conceptual, or experimental research work in the broad area of virtual collaborative learning.

The abstracts are collected in the Conference proceeding, namely the Book of Abstracts of the VALEU-X International Conference, published in 2022 by ToKnowPress, edited by Esmir Demaj, Cristina Stefanelli and Marija Vasilevska. The list of abstracts is presented below, with reference to the Conference sessions they relate to.

Session 1: Innovative virtual teaching and learning settings for academic staff at Albanian HEIs 

  • Online Collaborative Learning in Higher Education in Albania – Some Necessary Innovations
  • Assessing Virtual Collaborative Learning (VCL) as an Innovative Teaching and Learning Approach. A Case Application in Albania
  • Challenges of University – Industry cooperation in Albania
  • The implementation of the pilot local virtual collaborative learning in the module of botany in the framework of the VALEU-X project

Session 2: ICT-based internalisation at home and the global network for “Virtual Mobility” for the HEIs

  • Project “Entral” a new synergy towards the digital age
  • Alternative Flipped Learning Approach scaffolding student engagement and collaboration. A case study with ELT Master students in “Corpora in Applied Linguistics” Subject
  • The opportunities for applying the Virtual Collaborative Learning in Higher Education in North Macedonia
  • Designing and Facilitating Cross-Border Virtual Collaborative Learning Experiences: A Western Balkans Case Study

Session 3: Adopting and recognising Virtual/Blended Mobility as part of the HEIs` internalisation strategy for the administrative staff- hybrid 

  • Student-Centred Learning Practices: A Transition from Tradition to Innovation
  • The challenge of “Virtual Teaching” for sustainable learning even for students with special needs (case study for blind students)
  • Students’ English Language Development through the International VCL module of the VALEU-X project
  • Implementation of Virtual Mobility and Internationalization at Home in Albania’s Higher Education: A Catalogue of Recommendations for Action
  • Lessons Learned from an International and Interdisciplinary Virtual Collaborative Learning Module with 8 Institutions from the facilitator’s perspective

Session 4: Online presentations & discussion on Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) 

  • Collaboration between teachers in a Metaverse education
  • Internationalisation at Home through Virtual Collaborative Learning
  • Virtual learning, a new approach for the Albanian universities. A case of linguistics learning
  • Investigating reflection sheets to improve Virtual Collaborative Learning in higher education
  • Competence equipment of modern virtual community members
  • Collaborative learning and teaching in Miro – design of digital education using a collaboration platform
  • Can machine learning support eTutors in an online formal collaborative learning setting?
  • Impact of COVID-19 on College Students’ Psychological Condition
  • Socialization and distance learning challenges
  • How to foster 21st century skills in European Higher Education: Open Educational Resources for Collaborative Online & Distance Education and eXchange (OER-CODEX)