Virtual Exchange Project


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This initiative focuses on 'virtual student exchange' utilizing a web-based system to enable students to network internationally, explore the health care systems of other countries, and debate global health care issues. To date, the project has involved small groups of self-selecting students from the Universities of Queensland and Birmingham. It is proposed to include nursing students from the University of Auckland and the National University of Singapore.

Following the success of the VEP project, the nursing group is now willing to build on this work to engage students and tutors from across all the professional groups of U21 Health Sciences to create a United Nations Millennium Development Goals Virtual Discussion Forum. Funding has been obtained from the U21 HSG in February 2011 to carry out the following activities:

- Review of the literature for recent studies using international virtual discussion environments in health to inform the choice of technical platform and the underpinning pedagogy and practicalities.
- Promotion of the project to potential partners and recruitment of up to four partners.
- Investigation and consultation work around the technical environment.
- Designing the online learning activity around a case study housed within the virtual learning environment.
- Formative evaluation of materials and testing of environment with tutors and students across the partner institutions.

An article regarding the VEP was published in 2012 in the Journal Nurse Education in Practice: see article.