Norway Latest Country to Partner with ACE and U.S. Institutions to Maintain Global Learning Through Virtual Exchange
November 23, 2020

ACE has partnered with the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) to provide virtual exchange/Collaborative Online International Learning (VE/COIL) training to a selection of U.S.-Norwegian institutional pairs in an effort to keep U.S.-Norwegian higher education partnerships resilient during COVID-19. This project follows the successful implementation of an ACE Rapid Response VE/COIL Transformation Lab for institutional partnerships between the United States and Japan this summer.

“ACE is excited to expand our VE/COIL Transformation Lab program and grateful to Diku for joining us in this endeavor," said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Participants will value their training in VE/COIL for its accessible, affordable, and highly scalable nature not only during this time of suspended student mobility, but also in the post-COVID world."

Virtual exchange consists of sustained, technology-enabled education programs or activities in which constructive communication and high-level interaction takes place between individuals or groups who are geographically separated and from different cultural backgrounds. COIL is a research-based method of virtual exchange involving faculty in two or more countries collaborating to develop a joint syllabus for students to then work together online to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives.

“Digital collaboration and communication create valuable supplements to physical mobility. It is not our intention to stop meeting each other physically, but out of environmental, financial, social, and time concerns, we need to collaborate more digitally," said Harald Nybolet, director general of Diku. “Diku has worked to enhance collaboration with North America for more than 10 years. We are very pleased that five of the partnerships funded through the partnership program for North America have decided to join us in this learning experience with ACE as our mentor."

The five institutional partnerships selected to participate in this initiative are:

  • The Ohio State University and Lovisenberg Diaconal University College
  • Gallaudet University and Oslo Metropolitan University
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Stony Brook University and Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • The Ohio State University and Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The pairs will work together online over a period of three months to adapt their education or exchange programs in the current global conditions into quality assured, high-impact VE/COIL programming. Professional development training for U.S. and Norwegian faculty and administrators will take place on ImmerseU, the first all-in-one virtual exchange platform, developed by Class2Class in consultation with ACE, the State University of New York COIL Center, UniCollaboration (EU), and the Institute for Innovative Global Education (Japan). Participants will also receive access to ACE Engage®, ACE's peer-to-peer online learning platform.

ACE will provide up to five hours of additional mentoring and produce a series of webinars covering topics such as managing communications breakdowns, helping students dig deeper into their cultural understanding, mentored reflection and other forms of evaluation, talking about COIL with colleagues, and repeating COIL courses in future semesters.