Columbus Hub Academy: How far can we go without leaving the classroom? Results of an international cooperation experience with students in Mexico and Portugal

01 August 2017

Belem Barbosa, Universidad de Aveiro, and Claudia Prado-Meza, Universidad de Colima, presented at Edulearn 2017, the 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, held in Barcelona (Spain) in July, the results of their experience developing international cooperation projects in their classes by using the Columbus Hub Academy, the first multilateral platform for the development of COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning), for the benefit of the large majority of students who cannot pursue an international mobility experience.

 

Mrs. Barbosa and Mrs. Prado-Meza shared their vision on how “… Internationalization at home offers additional and more versatile opportunities for developing intercultural skills and competences, with the ability to include all students enrolled in a course. Despite its relevance among the most innovative teaching strategies, it is still disregarded by teachers and unknown by students. Thus, the debate and sharing of experiences is essential to both fostering its adoption and finding ways to more effectively design future initiatives.”* The Columbus Hub Academy promotes the development of collaborative online international projects between academic staff of Columbus and the European University Association member universities in a broad spectrum of disciplines. This active learning approach allows students to develop a set of skills that teachers cannot easily convey in a traditional classroom.  

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Belem Barbosa and Claudia Prado-Meza developed a “4-week initiative held through the Columbus Hub Academy platform, comprising 33 students from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, and the University of Colima, Mexico. The project was assessed with a combination of an online survey and focus groups, complemented by the views and evaluation of the two professors that implemented this initiative.”*

As stated in the conference: “The results include students’ unanimous recognition of the relevance of the initiative, and its positive impact on the learning process. The aspects most valued by students include working in international teams and learning about other cultures. Among the developed competences students emphasized were integration, self-control, time management, team work, autonomy, and language skills. Students agreed that this collaboration made the class assignment more challenging and motivating. Overall, this project was marked by the enthusiasm of the participants, and by the fully achieved learning objectives.”*

You can access the complete paper presented in the Conference here

* Extracted from the abstract of the paper presented in the conference. 

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