In 2017, the University of Groningen (UG) in The Netherlands and DePaul University in the USA (DePaul) connected undergraduate students in geography courses using an Online International Exchange (OIE) assignment involving videoconferencing. Whereas many international OIE projects are designed on joint alignment principles connecting similar courses and developing similar aims and assignments, this project had a cross-course setup with diverging learning outcomes. In the UG course, OIE was a pretravel activity primarily aimed at developing disciplinary skills. DePaul implemented OIE as an intercultural awareness assignment. Through reflection on the design process and thematic analysis of student reflections, we conclude that the OIE introduced students in the DePaul course to international perceptions and encouraged self-reflection, while the OIE stimulated disciplinary skills and introduced intercultural awareness to the UG course. Moreover, OIE stimulated cross-cultural project management skills, increasing awareness of differing educational and urban contexts and thereby training the students in global citizenship. Therefore, this cross-course OIE shows that adapting OIE design to local curricular needs using pre-existing courses can enhance and deepen disciplinary specific learning outcomes through cross fertilization, and may create unexpected new learning outcomes. This expands the potential application and benefits of OIE for the internationalization of higher education.
- online international exchange
- experiential learning
- human/urban geography,
- pre-mobility preparation