Published August 22, 2022 | Version v1
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Models and guidelines for digital collaboration and mobility in European higher education

  • 1. EADTU


The basic premise for these guidelines is “teaching as a design science” (Laurillard, 2012): as all education, mobility formats should be the subject of educational design, in which teachers and programme boards take the lead, supported by teaching and learning and ICT support services. Institutional leadership should support and strengthen the internationalisation in higher education through digitization and create the conditions for designing, developing and implementing digital collaboration and mobility.

The core aim of any mobility is to provide students with an international academic experience related to a formal course or curriculum in their home university. The mobility is based on an agreement between institutions and a learning agreement, which guarantees the student's rights. Such agreements can also be concluded by mobility consortia. 

With the proliferation of digital approaches to teaching and learning, digital mobility formats have been developed, involving large or small groups of students and creating virtual campuses in university networks or European Universities Initiative alliances.

Making international collaboration and mobility flexible is likely to be a groundbreaking solution to create mobility for all, especially for university alliances that aim for 50% and more mobility of their students in combination with their green campus policy.

A diversity of mobility approaches is needed to meet the challenge of inclusive mobility, in line with the European Parliament resolution of 23 June 2022.

Transnational programmes with mobility programmes can be organized in any cycle of higher education, i.e. bachelor, master or doctorate. Mobility in transnational programmes can be organized as embedded mobility within a course, “classical” student exchange mobility, mobility windows in networked curricula and embedded mobility in joint programmes.

In European educational collaboration and mobility, a truly European dimension is integrated from the student, institution and EU perspective, enriching and strengthening higher education.

The concept of comprehensive internationalization emphasizes the need to develop an institution-wide approach to internationalization. International strategies must be embraced by all institutional leadership and shared with all faculties, teaching staff, support services and students to give an international dimension to the entire university.

Internationalization starts bottom-up by teaching and research staff. By integrating these informal networks into internationalization policy at faculty level, collaboration and mobility will be streamlined and organised. This ultimately results in structural cooperation and mobility.

At the institutional level, university leadership is increasingly taking top-down collaborative and mobility initiatives within the framework of institutional networks and alliances of the European Universities Initiative (EUI).

Both approaches require continuous alignment where bottom-up and top-down processes meet. To make mobility successful, institutions have to fulfil a range of institutional conditions.

To facilitate processes, the university should also roll out European initiatives such as the European Student Card and Erasmus Without Paper.


Henderikx_Ubachs_2022_Models and guidelines for digital collaboration and mobility in European higher education.pdf