Con objeto de diseñar nuevas oportunidades para los estudiantes UNITA, el pasado 12 es septiembre en Barcelona miembros de los diferentes grupos de trabajo de UNITA se reunieron con sus socios fuera de la Unión Europea (GEMINAE). El objetivo principal es ampliar la internacionalización de los estudiantes, profesores, personal de administración y servicios e investigadores de UNITA.
En esta reunión se llevaron a cabo workshops temáticos para buscar las iniciativas más adecuadas para poner en marcha con cada uno de los socios GEMINAE de UNITA. Dichos workshops versaron sobre: intercomprensión, movilidad combinada a través de los Blended Intensive programs (BIP), nuevas formas de movilidad (virtual y rural), micro credenciales y COIL. Los principales resultados (en inglés) de dichos workshops se recogen a continuación.
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Intercomprehension (IC) is way of communication, a didactic approach based on a compilation of communicative, cognitive and informative strategies that uses proximity and similarities among several languages that belong to the same linguistic family (Romance, in our case). At UNITA, apart from investigation on this topic (PhD students, new Referentiel des langues in IC and methodology dissemination), we are promoting IC courses for students, for teachers and for staff. Besides, we also promote IC as a specific methodology to work with in our second language acquisition classes (e.g. SSL with IC methods, FLE with IC methods, etc.).
This training is especially advisable for teachers who have international students in their classes, for IN and OUT Erasmus students and for staff in international offices. Nevertheless, we have come to the conclusion that from up to now we could implement our courses in some other ways. For instance, some IC courses could also focus on buddies (students) who will receive foreign students; courses should promote inclusion and mutual knowledge inside society; and small “pills” on IC could be included in other non-related courses, such as BIPs. We should think about the importance that IC courses could have on CVs and that turning them into micro-credentials would mean an added value for students.
For Geminae Universities, it was proposed training “IC ambassadors” who could become IC trainers themselves or who could at least introduce IC at their own Universities. Before that, the objective is to create a booklet for our Geminae partners where they can find a short description of the courses, dates and enrollment possibilities. As an inspiration for the future, UNITA and IC could learn about Switzerland, where people practice intercomprehension everyday as there are four official languages in this country. IC methodologies does not mean “magic”, but it really promotes living together and a sense of belonging to the same Romance community.
New forms of mobility, in this workshop, the coordinators Elodie Hureau form USMB and Maria Villarroya from Unizar presented the Unita Rural Mobility (URM) Models and the Virtual Mobility (VM) offer at UNITA. Both forms of mobility had good reception by the Geminae Partners. While URM is something absolutely new for all Geminae partners, virtual mobility was not new but also gathered attention from our partners. Some specific ideas grow up during the meeting.
- Some Geminae partners offer (with specific funds) short term mobilities and URM could fit on this offer. Thus, possibilities of opening the offer of rural mobilities to Geminae partners are being explored.
- URM can be integrated in some cases (USMB example in Engineering) in the offer of the internship integrated in the curricula for some degrees
- VM was quite interesting for most of the partners, as a result, similarly to URM possibilities of opening the offer of VM to Geminae partners are being explored. In fact:
- Some of the partners that have already experience VM, such as the University of Vicosa (Brazil), want to open it in the next call for Unita Students. They have successful experience with students from Africa
- Similarly, Universities in Canada are quite interesting with virtual mobility, because it can be a good alternative for their students who cannot do long or short mobility, because they have student job.
Blended Intensive programs allow students to do a program with an online experience but alo a short mobility. The EU has promoted them within the Erasmus funding, but at UNITA it has been consider a key area of cooperation with our partners outside the EU. The workshop covering the topic of BIPs allowed to present the opportunities and specificities of this new initiative implemented in the framework of the Erasmus+ umbrella, from the definition of the program, the status-quo of implementing it in UNITA, the opportunities of involvement for Geminae partners and so on.
Starting from the experience gained by the UNITA partners, it was possible to also address the numerous questions of the Geminae guests, focused in particular on:
- Options available for funding student and staff (academic and/or administrative) mobilities;
- The recognition of credits obtained by students;
- The effort required from teachers;
- How to motivate teachers to get involved in this initiative;
- The pedagogical and technological transformation involved.
Overall, the Geminae participants positively recognized the advantages of BIPs and showed their interest to participate in the next BIPs offered by UNITA, in particular to participate in the construction of new BIPs in the framework of the Bip4Bips initiative of the Connect-UNITA project.
Micro credentials are at the core of the advances that UNITA is doing to design a more flexible career for its students as well as to fulfil the needs of the society for long live learning. To give to the Geminae partners a complete vision of our technical subject, micro-credentials, the workshop was aimed at answering two questions: What is your definition of micro-credentials? and What is your experience with micro-credentials ?
During the presentation, the European Commission’s definition was presented and also the State of the art from the Unita micro-credential’s development in the alliance.
In addition, the workshop created a dynamic exchange of perspectives to be able to analyze together the opportunities to be develop micro-credentials in the Geminae partnership.
To summarize future areas of work, the micro-credentials integration in the pedagogical plan of each university and the creation of an Unita’s portfolio of innovative Unita’s certification. In fact, that could be a great opportunity to combine in a single portfolio the micro-credentials, the Blending Intensive Programs and the new forms of mobilities (rural mobilities, online mobilities, UCIL...). This will offer students real mobility paths.
For example, by offering them the opportunity to follow a micro-accreditation in intercomprehension to prepare their mobility, or an online course in their mobility language, a badge to value the skills acquired during the mobility and a rural mobility to complete their experience in the country.
With the participation of our Geminae partners, the UNITA portfolio could be even more complete and international, beyond the European borders.
Collaborative International Learning at UNITA (UCIL) is a hot topic for UNITA to help the internationalisation at home of the students, lecturers and professors. UNITA is working with a flexible model of integration (a full course is shared or only part of it), the participant interactions, the teaching mode (mainly online but also face-to-face learning can be considered, like in a Bip), the synchronicity of the activities, etc. The pilot of UCIL involves 7 projects under development.
Nearly all the attendees have already tried a "strict" or a "smooth" version of the COIL. The University of Monterrey already developed 80 courses using COIL, since several years. The University Catolica de Columbia has experimented around 10 courses since 2017. Other partners launched some experiments.
During the workshop, it was agreed that UCIL contribute to the internationalisation at home and help to reach the standard in term of internationalisation of curricula, but also some challenges were raised: incentives for the teachers (awards, money, trips, other ,..), digital platforms to be used, or the ideal number of professors to be involved.
platform (not imposed in UNITA experimentation, but all UNITA partners are using
It was proposed that GEMINAE partners could join the next call, in 2023. Those interested will need to involve a dedicated person who will be included in the working group. Additionally, the participants express their interest for the organization of a virtual conference on the past and current experimentations of UCIL/COIL, with UNITA full and associated partners. The objective of this conference will be to share methodology, guidelines, etc.