We live in a rapidly changing society in which interconnections and exchanges in our daily lives are echoed in the virtual realm. The University of Exeter Strategy 2030 confirms our commitment to delivering ‘innovative joint programmes and global classrooms to create a community of learners around the world'.
To achieve this strategic commitment, we are developing a suite of initiatives called Global Classrooms that promotes a common virtual space for exchanges and discussions between students, academics and institutions from across the globe. The Global Classrooms programmes seek to enhance global awareness, creating new research and education opportunities and developing a greater understanding of global issues and challenges. Through our in-person and online education portfolio, Global Classrooms will enhance the student experience, and provide our graduates with the skills and competencies to work in a culturally diverse and international environment.
The Global Classrooms initiative aligns with the University of Exeter Transformative Education Framework which upholds embedding inclusive education, racial, social justice, and sustainability in our education. Accordingly, we aim to create Global Classrooms as a space to provide enriching intercultural experiences and as an opportunity to address global challenges with a worldwide community of learners.
Global Classrooms Pillars
Global Classrooms initiatives will be underpinned by five ‘pillars’; collaboration, global citizenship, sustainable virtual mobility, cultural competence and democratic learning. These pillars will serve as a framework to facilitate the commitments outlined in Strategy 2030 and guide best practice for Global Classrooms initiatives.
Togetherness is at the heart of Strategy 2030, enabling us to work collaboratively to overcome the challenges of the twenty-first century and prepare our students for the future. Working together with students and alumni across locally, regionally, nationally and across the world. Our investment in digital technology and digital skills will facilitate collaborations through Global Classrooms, transcending international boundaries to pursue new knowledge, opportunities, and valuable impact beyond our physical borders. Global Classrooms will foster spaces for collaboration, expanding our community of learners across the globe.
Our Strategy 2030 includes the commitment to ‘prepare our students to become active global citizens’. In line with UNESCO’s focus on education for global citizenship (UNESCO, 2023) the Global Citizenship pillar of Global Classrooms promotes means of learning to live together. Developing an ethos and sense of belonging within the global community, acting locally and globally envisioning a better future, and making a positive impact on the world. In Global Classrooms, we seek to challenge and inspire our community of learners to thrive and develop the skills they will need for the future, to lead the change the world needs as part of a global community.
Global Citizenship involves the knowledge and understanding of internationally shared values (UNESCO, 2023) resulting in a sense of shared identity that encourages empathy and respect for diversity. It promotes a sense of belonging to humanity and the sharing of values. Global Citizenship aims to empower learners to assume active roles at local, national, and global levels for a more responsible, tolerant, equitable, and sustainable world.
Digital working is central to achieving the commitments outlined in Strategy 2030. We will invest in digital technologies and digital skills development, to give our students access to virtual spaces to learn and share experiences with others across the world. Through creating digital learning experiences with our partners across the world we will reduce our carbon footprint whilst creating accessible and open spaces for global collaboration. In fostering the sharing of experiences with others across the world, whether synchronous or asynchronous, we enable flexible, accessible engagement, participation and cooperation of a large global academic community.
Understanding that digital experiences do not replace in-person practices, rather they seek to expand our learning environments, to foster flexible, interactive, and accessible spaces. Sustainable Virtual Mobility aspires to strengthen and enable diverse educational experiences with our global partners, while promoting access and participation to students from all backgrounds, through online, hybrid and/or blended experiences.
To develop ‘a community of learners around the world’ Strategy 2030, we must develop the cultural competencies needed in intercultural spaces, focus on meaningful collaborations that are culturally, ethical and decolonial aware.
Global Classrooms encourages intercultural spaces that challenge and open new, global perspectives. Developing a self-awareness of our own cultural patterns and differences among others while we strength and celebrate our commonalities. Developing a wider cultural understanding of the world involves emotional, intellectual, and cultural awareness. Practising cultural competencies through Global Classrooms will foster empathy, equipping our students with the necessary skills for a globalized world.
New technologies and pedagogical approaches are opening our borders to unimaginable possibilities in Higher Education. Developing accessible learning platforms will foster collaboration with underrepresented groups and students from low participation backgrounds, connecting and cooperating with multicultural, intergenerational talents across the globe. Working with international partners, staff and students from across the globe will allow us to transform our pedagogies and create an inclusive and democratic learning environment that promotes respect and openness to people from diverse backgrounds.
Democratic learning aims to develop a critical understanding of the world (O’Dowd, 2020) in which learners can engage in dialogue with different worldviews, challenging their own perspectives to reflect critically on their own perspectives and propose democratic understandings.
Global Classrooms Values
Global Classrooms initiatives will embody the following values:
- Mutual understanding: We acknowledge the diverse environment we are in and pledge to embrace and appreciate the various forms of learning and expression and different academic traditions.
- Flexibility: Alongside mutual understanding, we develop a flexible approach to designing and delivering our initiatives with our global partners, colleagues and students.
- Openness: In working with global partners, colleagues and students we have the opportunity to diversify and globalise the curriculum content and pedagogical frameworks alongside what is assessed and rewarded (Ryan, 2020). Opening our horizons to new possibilities and engaging with other world views can lead us to innovative ways to tackle global challenges.
- Respect: We are moved by the dignity of other cultures, languages and cosmologies, and we are committed with human rights to build a culture of tolerance, peace, respect and care for the greater community of life and its diversity (Pigozzi, 2006).
- O’Dowd, R. (2020). A transnational model of virtual exchange for global citizenship education. Language Teaching, 53(4), 477–490. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444819000077
- Pigozzi, M. J. (2006). A UNESCO view of global citizenship education. Educational Review, 58(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131910500352473
- The ABCs of global citizenship education. (2017). UNESCO. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000248232?posInSet=9&queryId=6864ee6f-1807-413b-8834-cb98c1bf031c
- Democracy and global citizenship. (2023) UNESCO. https://www.unesco.org/en/democracy-and-global-citizenship
Modalities and Portfolio
Education Exchange is an educational practice that allows educators and students from all over the world to collaborate. These exchanges could be new or part of an existing programme, Education Exchange could be award and/or non-awarded academic programmes.
The learning outcomes from the Education Exchanges are related with the knowledge and skills intended with the specific program or module, however they are strongly focused in providing intercultural and collaborative experiences with peers around the globe.
This type of exchange can be subdivided into Programmes, Modules, Sessions and Extra-curricular activities.
Programmes are born from strong collaboration between partners which strengthens their cooperation by formalizing an academic program. While Modules are embedded into an existing programme, whereas it might be compulsory or not, it follows the main learning purpose of a programme. Sessions are the units that compose a module. Finally, Extra-curricular activities are optional exchanges that students might have alongside their current program, these programmes are designed to provide brief educational experiences.
- Future 17
The Future17 Challenge Program is a new global initiative between the University of Exeter, QS and leading international universities designed to support students to develop the skills needed to collaboratively tackle 21st Century global challenges through working with professionals to create pathways for innovative solutions to real-world issues associated with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Future17 enables students to collaborate with learners from a consortium of global partner universities in international, interdisciplinary and multicultural teams through projects defined by SDG Challenge Partners (businesses, charities, NGOs etc.).
- Joint sessions with Purdue University (Module SML2246 Intercultural Communication)
As part of the program Modern Languages, the Module SML2246 Intercultural Communication has developed series of virtual exchanges, sharing learning resources, activities and ideas with Purdue University as part of their learning programme.
- Joint Module Post-Colonial South Asia (HIH2236)
2021 - 2022
It was a module developed between 2021 – 2022 in partnership with Lahore University of Management Sciences where the students from the University of Exeter had an immersive experience with Hindi classes, film screenings, seminars and collaborative activities with students and professors based in LUMS.
- Joint PGT Module Classics in Ancient Epigraphy (CLAM259)
It is a Postgraduate Taught module from the Faculty of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences. Part of this course is taught in conjunction with Leiden University in the Netherlands. This module explores how to use inscriptions in historical research, particularly from the Roman period.
Summer Schools / Extra-curricular activities
- Special study unit with the University of South Florida and Universidad del Norte
As part of an elective ‘special study unit’ at the College of Medicine and Health, Medical and Nursing students can undertake to personalise their learning experience by exploring the Colombian healthcare system in action.
The trip is normally run in conjunction with partners from the University of South Florida (USF) and Colombia’s Universidad del Norte, so that students from all three institutions can meet up and learn collaboratively. Due to the COVID 19 emergency, this exchange was held online over an intensive four-day period in March, during which the students attended presentations from medical experts in all three countries; contributed to group work meetings culminating in presentations. All sessions incorporated time to cover the material in both English and Spanish (accompanying slide sets also included both languages), which gave students an opportunity to broaden their vocabulary regardless of their mother tongue.
- International History Graduate Student Workshop Summer 2021, Summer workshop with the University of South Florida.
This Virtual exchange was an intensive one-week research workshop in partnership with the University of South Florida and the University of Exeter held between the 24th – 28th of May. It was designed to assist graduate students at USF and Exeter in overcoming pandemic-related obstacles to archival research.
Acknowledging that Universities host diverse cultures, ideologies, beliefs, languages and ethnicities. The Cultural Exchange makes special emphasis on those interactions, in which we encourage learning spaces where we aim to improve our cultural and communicative skills; learn about other world views, traditions, heritage and language.
This type of exchange can be, but not restricted to: Field Trips, Intercultural Exchanges, and Artistic Productions.
Field Trips are virtual excursions that take place in the digital realm such as meeting platforms, webpages, digital maps, livestream videos and photographs. With these technological tools, we can visit a venue without travelling. Virtual Field Trips do not replace in person experience, rather it is a virtual approach where we can share information, photos, traditions around a specific place.
Intercultural Exchanges are virtual exchanges that are entirely focused on sharing immaterial traditions, cultures, and languages.
Finally, the Artistic Production exchange refers to artistical products such as theatre plays, concerts, art exhibitions, cinema, and virtual shows, created in collaboration with peers and partner institutions in a global scope. These Artistic productions have place in the virtual realm, taking virtual meeting platforms, the metaverse or the digital space as a performing platform.
- George Dandin or The Thwarted Husband – An international performance collaboration
This collaborative Zoom theatre production between Paris Nanterrre University, University of Exeter and Berkeley, University of California come together to perform one of Molière's most famous plays on a free zoom streaming the 26th March.
- Consortium Venice International University
Venice International University (VIU) is a consortium of 20 universities from all over the world with an autonomous campus on the island of San Servolo, Venice, Italy. The University of Exeter is part of this consortium, focused in the developing of joint academic, research and capacity-building programs, across disciplines, continents, languages and cultures. It is a place where students, researchers and professors come together to exchange knowledge and ideas while exploring interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives in their studies and research.
Currently, students from the University of Exeter can be eligible to apply to the Global Virtual Exchange over a course of four weeks where they can strengthen intercultural communication through discussion on topical themes relevant to our lives in the present day.
Following our Strategy 2030 commitments, this modality gives our students agency to engage with our international partners to nurture their research qualities in cross-cultural environments, developing critical thinking, cultural competence, that inspires creativity and co-creation with peers from other institutions. Within the frame ‘students-as-researchers' we promote a learning environment which encourage discussion and creative solutions for the actual global challenges.
- Venezuelan Voices in the World
The ‘Hearing New Voices of Venezuelan Migrant Women’ project were run by Dr Katie Brown and Dr Miguel Vásquez and funded by a European Network Fund grant from the University of Exeter. It was a ‘students-as-researchers’ project: six students from the University of Exeter and six students from Universidad Complutense de Madrid worked together to carry out, transcribe and translate interviews with young Venezuelan women who have migrated and either write or publish poetry. The interviewees were chosen to cover migration to different parts of the world: Europe, the USA and Latin America
- HEYTA and Tsinghua University
This annual conference is developed from students that make part of HEYTA (China-UK Higher Education Young Talent Alliance), a program created by the UKCHA the UK and China Alliance.
This program has been developed virtually since 2020, it is arranged and led by students from the College of Humanities and Tsinghua University.
UK-China Higher Education Young Talent Alliance annual conference, hosted by the University of Exeter, took place virtually September 9-10, 2022. The two-day event attracted over 450 students and academics from China and the UK. There were also attendees from Singapore, Thailand and Australia.
Aligned with our Strategy 2030, in partnering with organisations to co-create new ways to increase productivity and grow meaningful jobs. These exchanges potentiate the acquisition of highly demanded competencies in the labour market today. Business exchanges seek to empower students to address global issues, facilitating action-based learning for a global citizenship development (Zak, 2021), and exposing students to a global workforce through internships, volunteering programs with international companies or/and institutions.
- Global Leaders
It is a one-week experience with a partnered NGO, charity, or social enterprise in which students engage in action-based learning to collaborate on meaningful solutions to real-life challenges. This business exchange provides an opportunity to strengthen global and intercultural competencies, which are in high demand in today's labour market.
Some of the previous experiences that this program has held are:
- Urban Natural Heritage in partnership with Immersive Trails
25th July – 29th July 2022
Immersive Trails is a social enterprise in Kolkata, India, that is dedicated to creating greater awareness of the city's heritage for locals and visitors alike by curating immersive experiences based on in-depth academic research. Immersive Trails team of experts offers experiences as varied as walking tours, family history trails, and community-focused capacity building workshops.
Through this virtual Global Project, undergraduate students in Liberal Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences from the University of Exeter and across South Asia had the opportunity to convert their theoretical learning into practical applications using digital means to create participatory immersive experiences.
- EAIE European Association for International Education
10th – 17th of September 2022
Each year, the EAIE visits an exciting city in Europe and organises a large Annual Conference for 5000+ professionals interested in international higher education.
Undergraduate students from the University of Exeter participated as Conference assistants, performing very important tasks ranging from answering participant questions, assisting at registration pods, managing queues and information desks, to assisting speakers, checking badges and gathering data for future conference improvements.
To learn more about the Global Leader Experience and future opportunities see: