From 6 to 8 December 2021, the VALEU-X – VIRTUAL ALBANIAN EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES EXCHANGE had their Staff Observation visit and Job Shadowing Coordination Meeting which took place online. Eric Schoop, Mattis Altmann, Lisa-Marie Langesee, Sebastian Schmidt, Florian Lenk, Nelli Ukhova, Maximilian Hubmann from the VALEU-X consortium facilitated the meeting, provided logistical support, and gathered the relevant authorities, actors, and beneficiaries of the program.
The meeting was conducted to reiterate the strategic priorities of the VALEU-X Programme and to discuss possible measures to maximize the benefits of the program. All project partners were present: University Turgut Ozal Education (EPOKA), Luigj Gurakuqi University of Shkodra (UNISHK), University of Elbasan, Aleksander Xhuvani (UNIEL), Fan S. Noli University Korca (UNIKO), University Aleksander Moisu Durres (UAMD), European University of Tirana (program country lead) (UET), International school für social and business studies (ISSBS), Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), Technische Universität Dresden (Project Leader) (TUD), along with students taking part in the project.
In general, the three-day meeting discussed problems of Albanian universities regarding accreditation and Erasmus+, among others.
Prof. Dr. Eric Schoop and Mattis Altmann consider the problem of “Albanian universities offering so far only marginal exchange experiences in the EU area (physical & virtual), and the integration of virtual teaching/learning practice into the concepts of Albanian universities has been insufficient and should be improved”.
As a solution, it was suggested that “Virtual Mobility based on technology-supported blended collaborative learning activities as a flexible effective element for Internationalisation at Home and improving the visibility, implementation, and volume of virtual exchange experiences.” The discussion elaborated on measures that should be taken such as Qualification of academic staff at Albanian HEIs on modern pedagogical and didactical methodologies for innovative virtual teaching and learning settings, support Albanian HEIs in adopting and implementing effective ICT-based internationalisation at-home activities, and integrating Albanian HEIs in a global network for “Virtual Mobility“, qualification of administrative staff at Albanian HEIs on adopting and recognising Virtual/Blended Mobility as part of their institutional internationalisation strategy.
In special the consortium discussed the case design of their commonly planned, international pilot module. In doing so, the partners intend to launch a joint, international Virtual Exchange pilot module in the coming summer semester, following the current pilot VCL modules running locally. In a 3-step design process on a virtual and collaborative whiteboard, Albanian academic staff members from all partner institutions jointly identified the requirements for the joint module. Thus, after the first workshop round: formation of a common ontology with the help of the minimal specifications method, the absolutely necessary course elements were determined. Finally, in a virtual World Café, the dimensions “Cover Story”; “Tasks”; Group Division & Roles; “ECTS & Assessment” were discussed by the 36 participants and specified for the intended case. You can get a small impression of the results in the following figure.
Furthermore, while good practices and lessons learned were elaborated all along the 3 day meeting, further steps were taken to improve coordination between partners.
The first day of the meeting focused on the Status of the VALEU-X Project and policy priorities, included an introduction to didactical design patterns and strategy framework, and reports on courses where VCL will be recognized. The second day focused on Virtual Collaborative Learning – case study design contribution, learning analytics in virtual collaborative Learning and virtual collaborative learning module finalization. The last day was dedicated to partners sharing prespectives and discussions, the actual status of local VCL pilot courses, individual consultations and peer review of local pilot VCLs.
The meeting concluded with a fruitful discussion and decisions concerning the next meeting.