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Since the firstMOOC meeting in ausanne in 2013, several universities expressed their interest for articulating MOOCs to ECTS. Few years later, we accumulated enough experience in producing and using MOOCs to turn this idea into action. The key idea is to share MOOCs for credits, where students from one university can follow a MOOC and take an exam of another university and receive the ECTS for that. The feasibility of the MOOCs-for-credits exchange will be evaluated in a three year pilot project that is called Virtual Exchange and that is based on the following principles: Mutual trust, modest effort, and same exam.


The objective of this agreement is to enable students to do online courses from the participating institutions, thus enriching their educational program without needing to travel to the partner institution. These privileges extend to selected students from the participating universities. The Virtual Exchange being a new concept, building on the rise in online learning material, the present agreement is for a three-year pilot for a limited number of students to explore these possibilities.

This agreement will become effective when all the parties have signed it. The date of this agreement (“Effective Date”) is the latest date below a party's signature. This agreement terminates three (3) years after the Effective Date.


  • Home institution – refers to the higher education institution at which a student is officially enrolled as a degree candidate.
  • Host institution – refers to the higher education institution that has agreed to receive students from the Home institution to follow an online course and undertake an assessment as credit-earning, non-degree students.
  • institution – is one of the parties to this agreement, also being called Party or Partner institution.
  • Exchange Student – is a Student who follows an online course offered by a Host institution and undertakes an assessment as credit-earning, non-degree student.
  • Student – is a student officially enrolled as a degree candidate at the Home institution.
  • Online courses – are courses that the institutions offer online via an open online learning platform or their own closed learning platform.
  • Credits – a credit is a unit worth between 25-30 study hours, as meant in theCredit Transfer ystem, that gives weight to the value, level or time requirements of an academic course.
  • Academic Credit Transfer – the procedure through which the Home institution certifies that of the Home institution.


Selection of online courses

  • In order to be part of the Virtual Exchange the online courses must be assessed under regular academic conditions (i.e. proctored, simultaneously in distributed locations).
  • The institution’s online course offered under this agreement must also be offered to the institution’s own students for credits.
  • Information on the exam period (weeks, possible timings) is provided before the start of a course. The exact date and time of exams are communicated as soon as information becomes available.
  • Each course should provide information on when a course can still be dropped without this resulting in a failure grade on the student’s transcript.
  • Each institution under this agreement can select and decline courses offered by partner institutions.


Number of places

  • A maximum capacity will be set by the Host institution for each online course. The available places will be distributed over the institutions.
  • It is the parties’ desire that there will be a balance in the number of students exchanged over the institutions by the end of the Agreement.

Registration deadline

  • Students proposing to follow an online course will apply at their Home institution. The Home institution will notify the Host institution of students wishing to undertake an online course prior to the registration deadline of such course/ MOOC.

Admission and enrolment

  • This Virtual Exchange is open to students from every participating institution.
  • Students will be selected by their Home institution on the basis of their previous academic merit, scholarly interests, communication skills and competency in the Host institutions language and required prior knowledge.
  • The Home institution will supply the Host institution with the list of students willing to follow an online course as part of their educational programme.
  • The Host institution will select and admit the exchange students: Each institution under this agreement can accept and decline exchange students for the courses
  • Exchange students will be enrolled as non-degree, credit-earning students at the Host institution.


  • The Host institution is responsible for the assessment and grading of exams. Assessment method and assessment regulations (e.g. number of exam opportunities) are up to the Host institution.
  • In case of a written exam, the Host institution will send the exam to the partner universities. In case of an oral exam this will be organized via an online communication tool. The Home institution will organize the exam (location, proctor) for their students.
  • The Host institution will provide academic achievement reports for all Exchange students, normally in the form of a transcript, to the Home institutions. The Home institution will receive that transcript as soon as practical after the completion of the course. The transfer of academic credit will be determined by the Home institution.
  • The Home institution may grant credit for courses and assessment completed at the Host institution in accordance with the Home institution’s policies and procedures.
  • The Host institution’s rules and procedures for complaint and appeal by students (e.g. on examinations, grading, assessment procedures) are applicable.


  • Students will register at their Home institution and pay tuition and fees of their Home institution to their Home institution; they will be exempt from paying tuition to the Host institution for being enrolled as Exchange student.
  • Learning materials (books and readers) are for the account of the Exchange student.

Verified certificates :

  • if the Host institution requires an Exchange student to obtain a verified certificate from a course platform (e.g., EdX or Coursera), the Host institution will absorb the cost of the certificate; and
  • if an Exchange student wants a verified certificate from a course platform for his/her own purposes, the student will need to pay for the certificate.

Official Transcript and other administrative costs:

  • Any costs of administrative processes at Host or Home institution that are related to the exchange project, e.g. for organizing on-campus exams, providing official transcripts, telephone interviews, the institution where the costs are incurred will absorb these costs.
  • Any costs that are the direct consequence of special requests of individual Exchange students, e.g. taking the exam at a certified exam test centre, will be borne by the Exchange student.
  • The Host institution shall have the option of terminating the student’s exchange, should the Exchange student breach any academic requirement, code, policies, rules and regulations of the Host institution. The Host institution will inform the Home institution before taking final action that substantially affects a student´s continuation in the exchange.


  • If all Partner institutions agree, new institutions can be admitted to the agreement.


  • This agreement shall commence on the effective date, first set forth above and expire three years thereafter unless earlier terminated or renewed under this section. The parties will evaluate the activities conducted under this agreement after three years and can extend for an additional two years.
  • Evaluations: The parties will evaluate the activities conducted under this Agreement in the third year for the purpose of deciding what, if any, modifications to make to this Agreement and determining whether to extend the agreement. Part of the evaluation is also to assess the parties success in achieving a balanced exchange. The parties' representatives will prepare a joint report to be provided all institutions.
  • Every Party may terminate this Agreement at any time without penalty by giving the other institutions at least ninety (90) days advance written notice of its intention to terminate.
  • If one of the Parties hereto fails to fulfil its obligations in accordance with this Agreement to such extent that such failure is irreparable or, if it is reparable, this failure is not repaired within sixty (60) days following the notification of the other Parties in which repair is requested, the other Parties shall have the right to terminate this Agreement without prejudice to the other rights of such other parties.
  • In the event of withdrawal or termination of this Agreement Exchange students who have commenced a course must be given the opportunity to complete the online courses they enrolled in in, under the same conditions as described in the agreement (including resit possibilities).


  • The parties will have at least two general meetings per year to discuss course offerings and administrative procedures.
  • Each institution will designate one representative as liaison officer to facilitate student exchanges



  • Each institution shall be responsible for expenses incurred by its employees under this Agreement.

Promotion and Marketing

  • All promotional and marketing materials, name, logo and trademark of the partner institutions in this Agreement can be used only to promote the Virtual Exchange pilot project during the duration of the pilot project.
  • Any other promotional activities or public statements (including statements to the media or articles relating to their joint activities) that use the promotional and marketing materials, name, logo and trademark of the partner institutions require written consent of the institutions involved.

Ownership of intellectual property

  • Intellectual property rights and issues derived from the students work as part of the course with the Host institution will be governed by the Host institution’s policy on intellectual property. Other Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will be agreed case by case and be stated in writing in advance, in compliance with the rules of specific funding instruments and the requirements of key stakeholders, considering that background IPR remains the property of the contributing party and taking as a starting point that all foreground IPR shall be owned by the generating party.

Protection of Personal Information

  • For each individual partner institution, the respective national legislation applies with regards to the Exchange Student´s personal information obtained through the performance of the Agreement.
  • Each institution agrees that any personal information collected by that institution about students will be:
    1. collected, managed, held, disclosed and transferred in accordance with the relevant privacy laws and policy applicable to that institution and
    2. the alliance institutions agree to share information with each other with respect to an Exchange Student´s participation in the Program if permitted by law for administrative purposes in the pursuit of offering education and
      1. in any situation where the disclosing institution believes the sharing of such information would be helpful for the efficient management of the Program
      2. or for the health, including mental health and wellbeing of an Exchange student
      3. or to address any concerns regarding the behavior of an Exchange student.
  • Each institution is responsible for obtaining the Exchange Students consents necessary to be able asked for consent to share data for this purpose.
  • The alliance institutions agree to not divulge or expose an Exchange Student´s personal information obtained through the performance of the Agreement to any third-party except where
    1. the prior written consent of the Exchange Student is obtained,
    2. applicable laws allow or compel disclosure of the relevant information, or
    3. it is necessary for the protection of the well being, safety or property of any person.
  • This provision shall survive after the termination of this Agreement.

Confidentiality information

  • With respect to all information disclosed to a party on a confidential basis by the other party in the alliance, each party undertakes that it will treat this information as confidential and will not disclose this information to any third party without the prior written consent of the other party
  • This duty to confidentiality shall not apply to any information which a party can show:
    • was at the time of receipt published or otherwise generally available to the public,
    • has after receipt by the receiving party been published or become generally available to the public otherwise than through any act or omission on the part of the receiving party,
    • was already in the possession of the receiving party at the time of receipt without any restrictions on disclosure,
    • was rightfully acquired from others without any undertaking of confidentiality imposed by the disclosing party,
    • was developed independently by the receiving party.

Publication results

  • Parties are entitled to publish the results generated in the collaboration. In the event that the publication is drawn from or contains personal information, the publishing party shall ensure that the publication de-identifies or otherwise anonymises such information so as to ensure that the relevant individuals cannot be identified from the material contained within the publication.
  • Before such publication takes place, such party will submit the intended publication to the other party or parties. Within one month after submission of the publication, the other party informs the party wishing to publish whether the intended publication conflicts with a major interest, which shall be stated in a detailed manner by the concerned party. Parties shall not obstruct any publication without very important reasons. If within one month no reaction from another party is received by the party wishing to publish, this party is entitled to publish.


  • No liability shall occur in respect of any damages and /or injury as a result of the execution of this agreement, caused by one of the parties hereto and /or persons in the employment of one of the parties hereto, students or any other persons working on the project or caused by the equipment used and inflicted on the other party and/or persons in the employment of one of the parties hereto or students or to equipment, except where caused by wilful acts or negligence.


  • Any amendment to this Agreement shall be made with acknowledgement in writing from all partaking institutions.


  • If any dispute arises between the institutions they will in good faith attempt to negotiate a settlement. All disputes arising out of or in connection with this Agreement, which cannot be solved amicably, a Committee will be set up consisting of one representative of each of the parties to the agreement, appointed by the Rector or President of each of the participating universities.
  • This Committee’s duties are as follows:
    • To clarify and resolve any questions which may arise in the interpretation and execution of the present Agreement or which may arise from the execution thereof.
    • To solve any dispute arisen among institutions.