Frequently asked questions from institutions that are interested in the Virtual Exchange
What is the Home institution?
This is the higher education institute at which a student is officially enrolled as a degree candidate.
And what is the Host institution?
The Host Institution is the higher education institute that has agreed to receive students from the Home Institute to follow an online course and undertake an assessment as credit-earning, non-degree students.
How can we assess the academic quality of the courses?
All MOOCs or online courses offered trough the Virtual Exchange are subject to the same academic quality procedures as on-campus courses and can hence be understood as being high quality academic courses. The host institution offering the online course should also offer the course to his own students, thus the online course has an official course number, appears in the Host university's studyplan or program, and hence undergoes the aforementioned quality procedures.
How will students be assessed?
All MOOCs or online courses offered through the Virtual Exchange must be assessed under regular academic conditions. This means that they can be on-campus, proctored exams that are hosted by the Home institution. Assessment can also include prject-work, oral examination, or a paper. The Host institution will send the exam, and -after the examination- will grade the exam.
what about complaint and appeal procedures?
The Host institutions rules and procedures for complaint and appeal by students (e.g. on examinations, grading, assessment procedures) are applicable.
How many external students are to be accepted per online course?
The number of available spots differs per course and will be determined by the host university, ranging from 20 to 120 places for all participating universities, or sometimes set at 10% of the students that can be external (other 90% of the places filled by own students).
Do the students have to pay extra fees?
Students are not required to pay any tuition fees to the host university. If a course has additional requirements, such as a textbook, these are detailed in the course outline from the host institution. Students will be responsible for those fees
Can all students enrol?
Eligibility depends on the regulations of the home university.Some universities only open the program for undergraduate students, whereas other provide the opportunity to Master and PhD students.
Student conduct, which rules and regulation apply to students?
Although students are not part of a physical exchange, and they remain in their home universities surrounding, they are also part of the partner’s institution student body and their code of conduct applies to them for the duration of their study with them.
What are the benefits of participating?
We encourage all our students to be global citizens and enhance their international exposure. The Virtual Exchange Programme is one way to bring these opportunities to students who may not otherwise have them, due to the structure of their degree or their individual circumstances. The Virtual Exchange Programme also allows our students to participate in one of the leading education innovations of the last decade, and to be recognized for this towards their degree. Furthermore, the Virtual Exchange program offers each participating institution a larger and broader portfolio of online courses.
Is the list of partners and courses likely to change?
The Virtual Exchange Programme is a ground-breaking pilot developed by a group of world-class partners which commenced as a pilot in 2017. It is expected that more universities and more courses will be offered as the pilot progresses. The pilot is running until 2019, and you could take a Virtual Exchange Program course now and another in the next semester/year if you have space in your study schedule.
How long will the Virtual Exchange Program run for?
The Virtual Exchange Programme will be run as a pilot until 2020 and many partner universities are committed to participating for the full period.
Credits & Grades
what about credits?
University credit systems vary between countries and even between universities within a single country. All course credits in the Virtual Exchange Program are expressed in terms of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and/or workload in study hours. The units the host institution itself uses are usually found in the course description. It is ultimately the department or section or Board of Examiners at the student's home university who decides, for those courses from partner universities that do not use ECTS, how many ECTS are awarded. However, the guideline for the universities outside of Europe is:
- Australian National University: 6 units = 7.5 ECTS
- University of Queensland: 2 credits = 7.5 ECTS
- RICE: 0.5 credit hours: 1 ECTS.
And how about the grades?
The Board of Examiners from the student's home university is responsible for the conversion of grades (pass/ fail result). As students will be formally registered at the host institution they will receive a formal transcript when they complete the course.
When are courses and exams held?
Courses begin whenever the host university decides, so it is important to review the course description in advance for any specifics regarding timing. It is possible that the course may not run in line with the home university’s academic calendar, and some universities schedule exams on Staurdays. The timing of any exams will be set by the host university. Students will be expected to sit the exam at the time scheduled by the host university. Exam times, therefore, may be in the middle of the night Houston time. For example, an exam scheduled at 5:00 p.m. Australian time would be taken at 1:00 a.m. Houston time.You should check whether your home university supports exams that are taking place outside regular office hours.