Mrs Mbali Moiketsi

Mbali Moiketsi, Officer: Website and Scholarship support

Moving to virtual spaces and collaboration for internationalisation

A paradigm shift is currently taking place within the practice of international collaborations. Virtual collaboration has become a mainstream activity in higher education internationalisation. It has encouraged individual higher-education institutions to balance the response to national higher education needs and the response to collaboration demands. International collaboration is an essential driver of research and requires an urgent response; thus, the virtual space is no longer seen as a support tool, but rather as a strategic tool and asset to advance collaboration. Higher-education institutions must adapt to new technologies and harness effective methods of communication, as well as evolving dynamics of the virtual world to diversify collaborations and maintain trust.

Although there are challenges, virtual engagements have led to the advancement of internationalisation by supporting new collaborative platforms for research, teaching, and learning. This includes virtual exchanges, virtual mobilities, virtual study abroad fairs, online consultations, social media, and other visual platforms to strengthen relationships with partners. Virtual spaces now provide equitable, inclusive, and mutually beneficial opportunities for all involved; furthermore, it enhances the diverse study-abroad opportunity activities for staff and students. Students who do not have the means to participate in the face-to-face activity can receive the same quality international learning opportunities as the rest of the students by participating in virtual internationalisation activities.

Nevertheless, building trust and collaboration among partners requires proper planning, dedication, and thoughtful preparation, which, when successful, can contribute to enhanced partnerships, collaboration, and intercultural knowledge for staff and students.

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