Information about the IVEProject
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) for the International Virtual Exchange project
- What is the International Virtual Exchange project?
- Does it cost anything?
- Who runs it?
- What platform does it use? Is it email or what?
- Who will my students interact with?
- How many countries/regions are involved?
- Can I carry out research on my students?
- How much work is involved for students?
- How much work is involved for teachers?
- My students aren't good at English. Will they be OK?
- Do the students use Skype or some other tool? Is it synchronous or asynchronous?
- How does my group of students get paired with other students?
- Which universities / schools have been participating?
- OK, I want to join. What do I do?
1. What is the International Virtual Exchange project?
The exchange has students interacting asynchronously in English as a lingua franca. The server on which it is based is maintained with financial assistance from a Japanese government Kaken grant and also with the assistance of Muroran Institute of Technology. Exchanges are carried out over 8 week periods using Moodle. Students from three, four or more different countries are combined. Teachers from each of the participating classes send the exchange administrator a CSV file with their students’ information and this is uploaded into the system. Online groups are formed by the administrator containing approximately 1~5 students from each of the countries. Hence, each group would have between 10-15 students in it. Online communication then takes place using the Moodle forums. As groups are set to ‘separate’, multiple groups are in the exchange, but because they are ‘separate’, students only see the students they are partnered with. Participation in the forums involves posting and replying using student-created text, audio, and video posts. Students can also add links and other multimedia to their posts. Almost all the students in this course are non-English majors at the low-intermediate level.
Teachers are encouraged to monitor the forums and give feedback to students. Teachers are also offered resources to help their students reflect on their participation. There is no obligation to assign grades to students for their participation, but teachers are encouraged to do so. All teachers are included in a separate teachers’ group where they can exchange ideas and information.
2. Does it cost anything?
The exchange is presently run with funding from a Japanese government Kaken grant and with assistance from Muroran Institute of Technology. It is therefore free-of-charge for any educational institution's students to join. Private companies/students are not allowed to join.
3. Who runs it?
Eric Hagley of Muroran Institute of Technology is the lead in this project. He is assisted greatly by Adam Jenkins of Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology and Thom Rawson of Nagasaki International University as well as the research group of Andrew Johnson (Future University Hakodate), David Campbell (Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine), Yuka Akiyama (Tokyo University), and Matt Cotter (Hokusei Gakuen University Junior College).
On the Colombian side, Ruben Pulgarin Cruz was the initial force behind expanding the exchange in Colombia and now Jorge Eliecer Giraldo from SENA is the main contact.
Individual teachers are in charge of their own classes.
4. What platform does it use? Is it email or what?
The exchange is done on Moodle - one of the most popular learning management systems in the world. It is an open-source platform. We try to encourage students to do synchronous activities but they are not a prerequisite.
The basic exchange is asynchronous. As there are many different time zones, this is understandable. The Moodle app can be used and is encouraged.
When students post to a forum or reply to a post, an email of that content is automatically sent to the students involved with that post.
5. Who will my students interact with?
At present, the main participants are from some 35 institutions throughout Japan and the SENA in Colombia. Thus, your students will be interacting with a minimum of one or both of these countries' students. Some groups will also have students from the other participating countries/regions outlined below.
6. How many countries/regions are involved?
To date, 17 countries/regions have participated in the exchange but more are coming on board every year. At present, the main participants are from some 35 institutions throughout Japan and the SENA in Colombia. Thus, your students will be interacting with a minimum of one or both of these countries' students. Some groups will also have students from the other participating countries/regions: Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the region of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam (all outlined in more detail below) and in the coming exchanges teachers from other countries have also expressed interest in joining.
7. Can I carry out research on my students?
You are welcome to carry out research on your own students (after attaining their consent) but if you are wanting to include the students in other countries, of course, you should attain their permission via their teacher, and also that of the co-ordinator, Eric Hagley.
8. How much work is involved for students?
For the exchange to work, students need to reply to other students' posts. We ask that students reply at least twice a week so that students receive timely interaction.
Students should be aiming to use over 50 words per post/reply. Students can also add self-made videos, multi-media and other information to their posts/replies.
9. How much work is involved for teachers?
The teacher's role in this exchange is crucial. It is one of the reasons why individual students are not allowed to participate.
The first job of the teacher is to send the csv file with their students' information to the coordinator, Eric Hagley.
There are online workshops for teachers prior to the exchange beginning.
After the exchange begins, teachers should offer their students support and show them how to post/reply/add multi-media. They should also check that their students are posting/replying to the students in other countries. The forum report function assists teachers with this.
Teachers should also assign a grade for their students' participation in the exchange. A rubric could be used (one is available if required) or an assessment method that the teacher designs.
10. My students aren't good at English. Will they be OK?
The majority of students participating in the exchange are lower-level students. The starters' course is for beginner level students. The topics are simple and aimed at developing basic language proficiency and better intercultural understanding. In a nutshell, yes, even if your students aren't particularly good at English, they will be fine.
11. Do the students use Skype or some other tool? Is it synchronous or asynchronous?
Students are not required to use Skype or other synchronous communication tools, though if you and your partner teacher agree, you can ask your students to do so. The main component of the exchange is done using this site and is asynchronous.
12. How does my group of students get paired with other students?
The coordinator puts your students into groups that include students from other countries. Your students are also in "your" group so that you can see all of their work in one easy to view page. Initially, you have to send the details of your students to the coordinator for him to do that. After you have contacted the coordinator (details below) he will show you what to do.
13. Which universities/schools have participated?
- Muroran Institute of Technology (Host)
- Akita University
- Aoyama Gakuin University
- Chiba University of Commerce
- Doshisha Women's College
- Future University Hakodate
- Hokkaido University of Science
- Hokusei Gakuen University and its Junior College
- Juntendo University
- Kumamoto Gakuen University
- Hokkaido Musashi Women's Junior College
- Kanagawa University
- Kindai University
- Kyoto Sangyo University
- Takasaki City University of Economics
- Miyazaki International College
- Miyazaki Municipal University
- Nagano Prefectural College
- Nagasaki International University
- Nagasaki Junior College
- Niigata Seiryo University
- Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinarian Medicine
- Saga University
- Sapporo Gakuin University
- Sapporo University
- Seiryo University
- Seisen Jogakuin College
- Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology
- Sojo University
- Takachiho University
- University of Electro-Communications
- University of Nagasaki
- University of Tsukuba
- Yamagata University
In Colombia, the SENA.
1. Universidade Federal Fluminense
1. Universidad de Concepción
1. Hangzhou Dianzi University
2. Beijing Sports University
1. Universidad de Guayaquil
1. Universitas Advent Indonesia
1. Korea Polytechnic University
In Saudi Arabia
1. Prince Sultan University
1. University of Córdoba
In the region of Taiwan
1. Sun Yat-sen University
2. Shu-Zen Junior College of Medicine and Management
1. King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
2. Khon Kaen University
3. The Open University of Thailand
In The Philippines
1. The Open University of the Philippines
In the UAE
1. Al Ghurair University
1. The Open University of Vietnam
14. OK, I want to join. What do I do?
If you would like your students to join in this exchange, please send an email to iveprojectorg(at mark here)gmail.com
Generally, exchanges begin in April or October and run for 8 weeks but we are looking at increasing the number and frequency of these.
Only teachers from accredited schools/universities and the students they teach can join this exchange. (Individuals cannot join this exchange. If an individual sends me an email asking to join, sorry, I won't reply.)
Include in the email:
- Your school's / University's name
- Its address and phone number
- Number of students you have
- Any other information you would like to include.