Travel digitally and study without borders

Thursday 17 September 2020
Selected by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and awarded a year of funding worth 91,000 Euros from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS) is launching the Codeshare Teaching and Learning project together with partner universities in Africa, Finland and the US. Part of the International Business degree programme in the Department of Management Sciences, the project focuses on developing new shared digital learning formats, such as hybrid courses that combine online and in-person teaching. Students who complete the programme receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.

Prof. Ralf Meyer, who is leading the project at H-BRS, explains: "The intention is for students at the participating universities to acquire digital and intercultural skills through courses that are run jointly. We also want to digitalise processes in the areas of study, teaching and blended mobility across university boundaries." As well as simply learning about business matters, therefore, International Business students will also experience business and the wider economy up close thanks to this new form of learning. They will see for themselves how changes, such as those caused by political decision-making, can impact on individual industries or the entire economic system. This is what is meant by "blended mobility" – a kind of digital travel. The project’s partners include the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana and Hawaiʻi Pacific University in the US.

Summer School planned

Next year, Prof. Meyer is keen to host a three-week summer school for up to 60 students from the partner universities, which would see all the participants coming together in person, very much in the "analogue" style. There are also plans for a year-long guest professorship for an academic from UCC from the 2021 summer semester onwards.

About the DAAD programme

The DAAD launched the "International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC)" project to embed the great leap forward in digitalisation that was sparked by the coronavirus pandemic as an integral part of international cooperation between universities. As DAAD President Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee points out: "During a global pandemic, virtual dialogue and digital collaboration are key bridges to the rest of the world. With IVAC, the DAAD is helping both individual teachers and universities in general to make their international academic partnerships and global mobility virtual and develop them further. The keen interest we’ve seen in the competition shows that we’re really onto something here."

The BMBF shares this opinion, believing that international dialogue is also important during the pandemic and needs further support for that reason. It is hoped that the opportunities presented by digitalisation will enrich international academic collaboration. The BMBF will be making 5.5 million Euros in funding available between now and the end of 2021 to support 48 projects selected by the DAAD from a whole host of entries.