Transatlantic Virtual Academic Cooperation (TVAC)

The project "Transatlantic Virtual Academic Cooperation" (TVAC) was developed and first conducted as part of the initiative “Change of Perspective” of the University of Goettingen which was funded within the framework of the DAAD special call for proposals IVAC (International Virtual Academic Collaboration) in the period of September 2020 to September 2021.
In the TVAC project, lecturers from the Intercultural Learning Lab worked together with lecturers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, to develop new digital collaboration formats and didactic concepts that promote the development of transversal competencies (critical and innovative thinking, intercultural understanding, digital skills, teamwork, communication skills). This has enabled intercultural encounters and the development of competencies in collaborative, virtual, intercultural teaching and learning formats.


Transatlantic virtual exchange projects

Over the course of the project, two virtual exchanges projects were co-developed and co-conducted with Dr. Lydia Kapiriri from the Deparment of Health, Aging and Society, McMaster University, uniquely featuring aspects of (digital) cross-cultural communication and teamwork around topics of culture, health and sustainable developement goals (SDGs).

This virtual exchange project provides students with an authentic context to practice their cross-cultural communication skills and foster their cultural awareness regarding health topics. After learning and sharing about culture, students work in mixed groups to develop a poster that raises cultural awareness on chosen health topics, such as mental health or institutions of health.

This virtual project provides students with the opportunity to learn about and experience working in an intercultural team on a global health issue, including interdisciplinary planning and cross-cultural communication. After an introduction to the topics, students from both universities are matched in international and interdisciplinary teams to work collaboratively to develop innovative solutions to health-related sustainable development goals.

Both projects consist of synchronous video sessions and asynchronous individual and team tasks, run for four weeks and are embedded into running courses at both universities. In Goettingen, these are the courses "Introduction to Intercultural Competence, focus health (Transatlantic Virtual Exchange, English language)" (4 ECTS), and "Intercultural Teams for Global Health SDGs (Transatlantic Virtual Exchange, English language)" (6 ECTS).


Student testimonials

IVAC Festival

The international IVAC Festival was hosted by the “Change of Perspective” initiative from the 23rd of August to the 3rd of September 2021, aiming to provide a knowledge transfer in order to support the sustainable integration of virtual collaboration formats into curricula. For this, students and teaching staff from Göttingen and international partner universities were invited to participate in numerous disciplinary and transdisciplinary events and take part in social activities.
During the festival, the Intercultural Learning Lab represented the TVAC project in several events, and was able to offer several workshops that aimed at connecting people around the topics of intercultural learning, virtual exchange and digital collaboration:

- Change of Perspective in the Transatlantic Virtual Academic Cooperation Project: Participants of the two MAC-GOE virtual exchanges were invited to look back at their experience, reflect on their learnings and discuss means of how to make such a project sustainable.
- Joint Morning Mobilization: Offered multiple times during the festival, this activating workshop helped participants to mobilise their body with 3-4 simple guided exercises to find a focus, get centered, free their mind and increase their physical well-being to start the IVAC Festival day with a fresh spirit.
- Supporting Intercultural Learning in Virtual Exchange Settings: In this interactive workshop aimed at teaching and administrative staff, participants learned about the prerequisites for intercultural learning and discussed measures how to support it. Participants left with a range of pedagogical activities that they can implement to support intercultural learning in their own projects.
- Explore your Cultural Glasses - Intercultural Training: In this interactive workshop, participants were able to explore the mechanisms of culture and perception and foster their cultural self-awareness by examining their ‘cultural glasses’. Participants left with two tools to broaden their view and thus, make intercultural encounters more constructive.
- Future Skills Factory - Change of Perspective: We all have an innate ability for independent creative thinking and innovative approaches, but do we know how to uncover and use its potential? This interactive workshop encompassed different areas of development for future skills and learning for academics and non-academics alike. This workshops was jointly conducted with Barbara Diehl, Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovationen (SPRIND), and Beatriz Beyer, University of Göttingen / VISTA project.
- Diversity Space Meeting - Interactive Game for Culturally Diverse Teams: In this workshop, participants played the interactive online game Diversity Space Meeting and learned how to raise intercultural awareness, improve communication and create connection within an intercultural group.