Virtual Exchange

international virtual exchange

What is Virtual Exchange?

Virtual Exchange (VE) is an educational practice, supported by research, that consists of sustained, technology-enabled interaction between groups who are in different geographic locations and/or from different cultural backgrounds. In a virtual exchange, classrooms in any part of the world connect, communicate, and collaborate through chat, video, file-sharing, or any other form of technology to engage in discussion, complete a project, and/or solve a problem.

Virtual exchange offers meaningful, accessible, and inclusive international experiences to students. It provides students with opportunities to develop communication skills and prepares them for careers where international collaboration and the ability to work effectively online will be necessary.

Virtual Exchange projects can be developed for any subject of study, for any grade level, and for students who speak one or more languages. They can be implemented synchronously or asynchronously. The costs associated with developing a virtual exchange are minimal, but the benefits are immeasurable. 

Why is Virtual Exchange more important than ever?

Virtual Exchange provides meaningful global experiences for all students.

There is a fundamental need for students of all backgrounds and abilities to access global experiences at home, whether they can study abroad or not. All students deserve to practice 21st century digital literacy skills, to build career skills like collaboration and teamwork, to communicate with diverse international groups, to be part of this vastly interconnected world, and to be empowered to participate in the evolution of technology and communication that we are experiencing at this very moment.

Virtual Exchange Initiative at Georgia State University

The Atlanta Global Studies Center partners with Georgia State University's Office of International Initiatives to award and support faculty who utilize Virtual Exchange in the classroom. 

Virtual Exchange Initiative

2024-2025 Awards for Virtual Exchange

Cultivating Global Perspectives and Awareness with Study of Democratic Elections

Ryan Edward Carlin, Department of Political Science  is partnering to curate a VE course pairing two kindred political research labs -- GSU's Pollitik Project Lab (PERS 2003/POLS 4290/8290), under the direction or Dr. Ryan Carlin, and the Laboratorio de Democracia y Gobierno (LabDemGob), housed at Universidad San Sebastián in Santiago, Chile, under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Bunker. Students and faculty across these labs will work together to bring tools from social science and data science to bear on the study of democratic elections. Lab directors will harmonize their syllabi to include three types of activities; (1) introductory sessions to explain VE goals, collaboration procedures, and assignment expectations; (2) academic sessions featuring interactive lectures on topics, data, and research methods; and (3) collaborative sessions in which Pollitik and LabDemGob students will work together to produce public-facing data visualizations, data analyses, electoral forecasts, and podcasts on upcoming elections. Students can expect to cultivate global perspectives and awareness; to enhance their intercultural collaboration and communication skills; to engage in project-based learning; to gain global digital literacy; and to develop professional skills, including teamwork and inclusion.

Perimeter’s Rigorous and Optimal Virtual Exchange with MICO (PROVE–M) 

In spring 2024 semester, Dr. Dihema Longman, the Interim Associate Chair at GSUPC, and Ms. Jodine Shaw, the Department Head at MUC, initiated efforts to implement a virtual exchange mathematics class in fall 2024. This initiative, named Perimeter’s Rigorous and Optimal Virtual Exchange with MICO (PROVE–M) Project, aims to enhance student learning through cross-institutional collaboration. The virtual exchange mathematics class involves scheduling Precalculus (Math 1113) at GSUPC and Trigonometry (MTRG 2101) at MUC, which involves a small class collaboration to complete a project presentation and a team-taught topic. This project and presentation, which will be worth 15% of the overall course grade for both institutions, students will demonstrate how elements of trigonometry and technology apply to their model or equation for use in music composition. Specifically, student will create a model or equation for Sine and Cosine functions based on music from a movie soundtrack. Each group will select a song snippet from the movie album and create visual sine and cosine sound waves to use for their equation model. This project aligns with GSU’s Core IMPACTS Area in Mathematics and Quantitative Skills, as well as, Technology, Mathematics & Sciences (STEM).

Virtual Exchange in Culture, Behavior, and Public Health: Global and Local Disparities Program Description/Information

The Culture, Behavior, and Public Health: Global and Local Disparities program is a virtual pilot exchange that seeks to provide opportunities for students and faculty of the University of Ghana and the Georgia State University (GSU) in the United States, to participate in collaborative online learning activities related to health equity and disparities. The exchange program will be integrated into the GSU PHPH 4050 Health Equity and Disparities: Global and Urban Challenges course in the fall of 2024. Key virtual exchange activities include increasing knowledge about Ghana and the United States through content review and exchange, perspective shaping and sharing, and a final project that allows for comparisons of health behavior and inequities that create disparities based on geographic and cultural differences. The program will be led by Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, Clinical Associate Professor at Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences, GSU in collaboration with Dr. Kodjo Senah and Dr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo of the University of Ghana.

Calculus Connections: Exploring Mathematical Horizons through Virtual Exchange

Professors Behnaz Rouhani and Marjorie Lewkowicz in Mathematics, GSU are partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Professor Heidy Cecilia Chavira from Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ) in Mexico. Through structured activities such as thinking tasks, project-based learning initiatives, discussions, collaborative learning, and facilitated webinars, students participating in this initiative will engage in meaningful dialogues with their international peers, gaining valuable insights and solidifying their understanding. Collaboration is facilitated through virtual platforms, allowing for seamless interaction and exchange of ideas across borders.

Caring for Families and Communities

Dr. Marcella Davies, Clinical Assistant Professor, GSU is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project for Fall 2024. Students enrolled in the course, Caring for Families and Communities within the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions at Georgia State University (GSU) will have the opportunity to engage in a converging learning environment with students enrolled in the course, Community Public Health Nursing at Valley View University (VVU) in Ghana. Through guided online discussions, nursing students in both countries will have the opportunity to identify, compare, and contrast factors considered as social determinants of health that impact the health outcomes of their local communities. The project is designed to last for four weeks. The discussion topics will be designed by the program facilitators from both universities, with specific instructions and rules of engagement provided. Through discussions and exchange of ideas, students will be introduced to an interconnected world to foster appreciation and understanding of different cultures, while sharing culture-specific initiatives to address global health issues. Furthermore, this virtual exchange opportunity will promote engagement in a multi-cultural international learning environment, engagement in a collective-learning experience, and awareness of global health concerns to increase students’ global competency. 

A Day in the Life of a College Student

Dr. Andrea DiBenardo, Associate Professor, Humanities (World Languages/Spanish) at GSU is partnering with Virtual Exchange in this project where GSU Perimeter College students in elementary Spanish will apply language skills from the lessons to engage in real world communications with native speakers and share cultural experiences of a “day in the life” of a college student.

The project will span over several weeks and is composed of various tasks from written ice-breakers to video interviews. The culminating project is an audio and visual presentation (Goggle Slides/Power Point) created together by PC students and their VE partners that demonstrates linguistic and cultural competencies. The goal of this exchange is to motivate students in their language acquisition as they practice language skills in the real world, explore and compare cultures, and discover concepts of identity and place-making.

Comparing Health Systems from the Perspectives of Nutrition and Medical Professionals

Dr. Kellie Mayfield, Assistant Professor in the department of Nutrition, is partnering with Dr. Francis Poitier from the University of Leeds School of Medicine and Dr. Ricardo Anderson from the Department of Computing at the University of West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. This virtual exchange project brings together upper-class pre-professional nutrition students from the department of nutrition in Atlanta, Georgia and premed students from the University of Leeds in the UK. Broadly, students will compare and contrast health systems from the perspectives of nutrition and medical professionals. Dr. Anderson from the University of West Indies will conduct a comparative content analysis of student interactions to examine student engagement. Interaction between students will take place by leveraging a diverse set of digital tools including Webex and Trello.

2023-24 Awards for Virtual Exchange

Misinformation and Disinformation in the Media – Philippines

Assistant Professor Dr. Jay Dunn and Emily Blalock in Physical Science/Life and Earth Sciences are partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Professor Aleli Saavedra at San Pedro College in Philippines. Students will engage in the analysis of examples of misinformation and/or disinformation that they have encountered on social media in their own culture. They will then share this information with their international partners. Students will compare these social media posts. Interaction will occur via discussion posts and videos.

Proposal for Teacher Exchange in Graduate Level Mathematics Teaching Courses – Spain

Dr. Karie Brown, an Assistant Professor in Math Education, implements a Virtual Exchange Project in her graduate course “Supporting Mathematical Reasoning: Algebra, Geometry, and Measurement.” This project is in collaboration with Dr. Soraya García Esteban from the Universidad de Alcalá in Guadalajara, Spain. It brings together graduate student teachers from the GSU Urban Accelerated Certification and Master’s Program in Atlanta with teacher researchers in Guadalajara, aiming to deepen their insights into teaching multilingual elementary students. Through activities encompassing lesson planning, video sharing, and cross-cultural discussions, participants will expand their pedagogical horizons. Each member will contribute by creating and sharing a lesson video, observing others from both locations, and actively engaging in weekly discussions that center on best teaching practices, student development, and comprehensive understanding. The seamless collaboration is facilitated through the upload and sharing of lessons via

Virtual Exchange of Culture – India

Lecturer Hosanna Fletcher in sociology implements Virtual Exchange Project across multiple undergraduate sociology courses. This initiative is collaborative efforts with Assistant Professor Maria Aishwarya at Stella Maris College in India. This project serves as an insightful introduction to the sociological concept of culture and cross-cultural competencies, encouraging students to explore differences in stratification and education by drawing upon personal cultural examples. The project leverages a diverse set of digital tools, including WebEx for class and group meetings, Padlet for the engaging cultural collage assignment, and for conducting comparative research on stratification. Furthermore, students have the flexibility to utilize graphic design sharing software of their choice, fostering a collaborative and interactive learning experience that transcends geographical boundaries.

How do Japanese speakers (learners) choose their first-person pronouns? Compare and contrast pronoun choices and how to express identities between two countries – Japan

Taeko Namura, lecturer in World Languages & Cultures, is collaborating with Dr. Sajjad Pouromid, a Professor at Kansai University in Japan, on a Virtual Exchange Project in the undergraduate Japanese language course. This project delves into the intricate realm of Japanese first-person pronouns, exploring how their selection is intricately tied to various factors such as politeness, gender, affinity for community and even resistance against societal stereotypes. Through virtual platforms, students participating in this initiative will engage in meaningful dialogues with their international peers, probing into their choices of first-person pronouns and gaining insights into the cultural perspectives that underpin them. Following these interactions, students will analyze their counterparts’ responses and subsequently share their reflections on the myriad influences that shape individuals’ pronoun choices. Beyond its linguistic focus, this project promises to foster students’ intercultural competence, heighten their awareness of language nuances, and enhance their digital communication skills by facilitating a comparative exploration of two cultures through the lens of language usage analysis.

2022-23 Awards for Virtual Exchange

Synthetic Biology/iGEM Related Project – China

Senior Lecturer of Biology Dr. Jonathan Sylvester, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Dr. Xinhe Huang, Professor at Southwest Jiaotong Univeristy (SWJTU). Students utilize Zoom and VoiceThread to work on a course related project to facilitate intercultural collaboration and communication in the field of Biology.

Enhancing Global Learning in Large Introductory Biology Classes

Senior Lecturer of Biology, Dr. Hongmei Zhang, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Dr. Jian Wu, Professor at Southwest Jiaotong University. Students utilize Zoom and VoiceThread to construct concept maps based upon course content to facilitate intercultural collaboration and communication in the field of Biology. 

Exploring International Virtual Exchange to Facilitate Personal Development and Learning of Undergraduate Health Students 

Clinical Instructor of Exercise Science, Courtney Strosnider, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with the North-West University (NWU). Students from GSU and NWU discuss the importance of healthy living, what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, barriers to living a healthy lifestyle, and how culture influences health and barriers to health. Groups of GSU and NWU students work on a case study project together. Each group has a patient who is living with chronic disease and needs to make behavior changes to improve health-related quality of life. The students discuss what behavior changes their patient needs to make, address barriers their patient has to overcome in order to life a healthier lifestyle and develop ways to motivate their patient to make the necessary behavior changes. Throughout the discussions, the students acknowledge and describe how cultural differences may impact their patient’s ability to make behavior changes.

International Case Comparison of Brain Injury Rehabilitation (ICC-BIR) –  Belgium 

Assistant Professor Dr. Veronica Rowe, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Siska Vandemaele , Professor at Howest University. Students from GSU and Howest work together on an occupational therapy case from a broad, international perspective. Students define questions for their case comparison. They investigate and compare the quality of OT services for clients with brain injuries from two perspectives: The professional perspective (methods and techniques, attitudes and organizational structures), and the sociocultural perspective (health care system aspects such as insurance issues, service institutions, organizational structures, policies, cultural attitudes). Based upon their research (sources, interviews) and discussions, they write a joint “Case comparison” report comparing the case from perspectives of both countries.

2021-22 Awards for Virtual Exchange

An Exploration of GAAP vs. IFRS

Assistant Professor of Accounting, Dr. Floran Syler-Woods, CPA, is leading a Virtual Exchange Project with accounting students and faculty from GSU Perimeter and University of Cape Town South Africa. Students participate in virtual lectures where they learn about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) vs. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Students then have to obtain the financial statements of U.S. and international companies to compare and contrast the two sets of accounting standards, even forming competitive teams comprised of students from both universities.

Cultivating Global Competency for Counselors-in-Training

Assistant Professor of Counseling and Psychological Services, Dr. Han Na Suh, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Dr. Yang Eunjoo, Professor in the Counseling Psychology program at Korea University. Students utilize Flip Grid to engage in in-depth discussions and have the opportunity to learn and discuss various multicultural issues from a cross-cultural perspective. Additionally, students are offered a safe space for self-reflection to increase awareness regarding the issues that arise when providing counseling to clients with diverse backgrounds.

Multiethnic American Identity

Associate Professor of English, Dr. Michelle Kassorla, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Head of the English Department of Al-Qasemi College of Education in Baqa al-Gharbiyye in the Haifa District in Israel, Dr. Wisam Chaleila. Students utilize Canvas in addition to Google Drive, YouTube, and Zotero to explore American identity through contemporary Multiethnic American Literature. As a final project, teams of students from Israel and America are working on a definition of what an American is: Who is an American? What does an American look like? What is the culture of America? What are American Ideals? Those definitions are based upon our class readings and discussions. Through exploring these questions, students are provided a variety of perspectives on American Identity.

Women and Progress: A Comparative Study of the United States and India

Professor of History and Associate Chair, Business and Cultural & Behavioral Science, Newton Campus, Dr. Salli Vargis, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange with Dr. Dolly Thomas, Chair, Department of History, Stella Maris College (SMC), Chennai, India. Students from SMC join Perimeter College students through WebEx to examine topics related to women in the United States and India. They are provided rubrics for writing a history project report in a variety of different formats such as a newspaper editorial, a skit, or a regular research paper comparing women in the U. S. and India.

2020-21 Awards for Virtual Exchange

Cultural Perspectives on Climate Change

Senior Lecturer of Geosciences, Dr. Ricardo Nogueira, is partnering with Dr. Sam Lau, Principal Lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong, and Dr. Min Hu, Professor at Northwest University in Xi’an, China. Students utilize TopHat and TopHat Slate technology to discuss environmental pollution and explore the impact of climate change from their respective cultures. The causes and consequences of climate change along with the effects of climate change on daily living and lifestyles are addressed.

World Foods: Connecting Students in India and in the U.S.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, and member of the Global Research on Non-Communicable Disease (GRAND) Initiative, Dr. Nida Shaikh, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Dr. Jagmeet Madan, Principle and Professor of Sir Vithaldas Thackersey (SVT) College of Home Science, SNDT Women’s University in India. The project provides students with a window into the world of food and culture. Students engage in asynchronous group activities in iCollege to compare and reflect on their favorite foods and their origins, the food in their refrigerators, and collaborate on a group presentation about a festive cultural meal of their choice (e.g. a Polish Christmas Eve dinner).

The Global Forum

Senior Lecturer of International Business, Dr. Evaristo Fernando Doria, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Conestoga College School of Business in Canada and Munich Business School in Germany. Undergraduate students in the field of international business engage in a cross border large scale online discussion forum to address topics that focus on the cultural differences and similarities in a business context. This virtual exchange initiative uses an AI powered online discussion platform to foster cross-border students’ engagement.

Real Innovation Challenges

Clinical Professor of International Business, Dr. Mourad Dakhli, is partnering on a Virtual Exchange Project with Dr. Johan Vogel, Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Virtual teams of students from both institutions solve real life problems that require extensive intra-team collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Students collaborate on an international business consulting project for a German industrial firm actively seeking to establish presence in Africa and the Middle East. The digital platform, Telanto, is used to facilitate and assess the university-industry collaboration.

Virtual Exchange Project Templates at Perimeter College

Assistant Professor of English, Jessie Hayden, developed 15 customizable virtual exchange project templates for faculty, available on iCollege, the university's learning management system. These innovative projects can be used by faculty from a variety of disciplines who are ready to give virtual exchange a try. Topics and activities in Communication, English Composition, Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM can be easily adopted or modified to engage students in cross-cultural dialogue and meaningful discussions about global topics.

Faculty Teaching and Learning Community on Virtual Exchange

Associate Professor of Social Studies and Multicultural Education, Dr. Yali Zhao, was selected to facilitate GSU's Faculty Teaching and Learning Community on Virtual Exchange. Dr. Zhao is a veteran virtual exchange educator and advocate. She has provided individual mentorship to many colleagues in the past, and now leads a community of 10-20 faculty members each semester in discussions, resource-sharing, and problem-solving.  Dr. Zhao also conducts a Virtual Exchange Project with Dr. Xiang Liu, Associate Professor in the College of Education Science at the Sichuan Normal University in China. Students in the course develop cross-cultural understanding of different cultures and education systems. Students have reciprocal learning opportunities to share views pertaining to various educational issues at the time of global Pandemic with international education students. Computer-mediated technology and web-based technologies, including iCollege and Flipgrid are used for sharing video presentations and discussions.

2019-20 Awards for Virtual Exchange

AGSC and OII awarded 12 Virtual Exchange project grants in 2020.

Faculty grant winners pictured from top left to bottom right: Dr. Patrick Freer, Dr. Jennifer McCoy, Dr. Yali Zhao, Telmeko Ransom, Dr. Jung Ha Kim, Dr. Erin Vinoski Thomas, Taylor Chlapowski, Dr. Tuba Angay Crowder, Dr. Christine Stauber, Dr. Roberta Attanasio, Courtney Strosnider, Dr. Mourad Dakhli.

Read more about Virtual Exchange

For more information, contact Stuart Minson, Assistant Director, Atlanta Global Studies Center at

Past Event: "Growing International Virtual Exchange" Webinar: October 9, 2020

The University System of Georgia, Atlanta Global Studies Center, and Clemson's Office of Global Engagement invite you to a workshop about Growing International Virtual Exchange. Join us to learn how to sustain global education in an accessible and inclusive way, both now and in the future. Discover how academia can invest in virtual experiences for the 21st century.

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Jon Rubin, an internationally-recognized expert in Collaborative Online International Learning will make “The Case for Virtual Exchange,” followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Sharon Nagy (Associate Provost for Global Engagement, Clemson), Dr. Wolfgang Schlör (Associate Provost for International Initiatives, Georgia State University) and Dr. Stephen Harmon (Associate Dean of Research, Georgia Tech Professional Education).

12:00-2:00 p.m.

University delegates, curriculum designers, coordinators of experiential programs, faculty, and instructional technology developers are invited to the afternoon session for "A Comparative Look at IVE Models in the Region" by Dr. Nannette Commander (Virtual Exchange Coordinator, Georgia State University), and Dr. Kyle David Anderson (Senior Director of Global Engagement, Clemson University).