Globalizing the Classroom with Virtual Exchange

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstractpeer-review


The proliferation of virtual communication in tertiary institutions around the world has made it possible to connect learners across the globe through technology and offer cross-cultural perspective to populations with limited physical mobility. To improve students’ cross-cultural effectiveness in the classroom setting, the project “Enhance cultural understanding through virtual exchange” was launched in June 2020. The project is designed to facilitate person-to-person online communication between learners from different cultural, linguistic, and geographic areas for an extended period. In the first phase, 30 American students and 19 Hong Kong students were brought together through asynchronous video messaging for 10 weeks. In the second phase, 120 American students, 76 Hong Kong students, and 29 English majors from India participated. These learners from three geographic regions and multiple linguistic and cultural backgrounds were brought together for a period of six weeks. The participants interacted with each other synchronously through Zoom and asynchronously through Flipgrid. They also shared learning resources with each other on Padlet. Participants from Hong Kong took the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) survey both before and after their virtual exchange to measure their improvements. They were also invited to join focus group interviews to share their experiences. The initial findings indicate that virtual exchange successfully improves participants’ overall intercultural effectiveness. The experience helps learners to be more open to different cultures and be more confident in their language skills. Though virtual exchange is not effective in developing interpersonal relationships, it can offer advantages other overseas exchange programs do not offer. Virtual exchange provides wider and more in-depth cultural exposure by connecting participants from multiple cultural backgrounds and providing a context for them to engage in research and discuss a range of social, cultural, and environmental issues.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021
Event16th E-learning Forum Asia, eLFA 2021 - Soegijapranata Catholic University, Soegijapranata, Indonesia
Duration: 30 Nov 20211 Dec 2021 (Link to conference programme)


Forum16th E-learning Forum Asia, eLFA 2021
Internet address

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Virtual Exchange
  • e-learning
  • Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)
  • internationalization at home (IaH)


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