Aim 3 – Develop and implement innovative digital forms of mobility

Sambeet D auf Pixabay 

Besides the shorter and non-traditional forms of physical mobility addressed as part of the second goal, virtual forms of mobility in particular will become more important in the future. 


However, new forms of mobility are not intended in any way to replace traditional physical mobility. Rather, they are designed to be a useful addition and permit the involvement of people at higher education institutions who are unable to be mobile for whatever reason.


As part of Internationalisation@Home efforts, national borders can be dismantled in the virtual space and intercultural and international skills can be generated that, in an ideal scenario, will at least be almost comparable with those produced through physical mobility. Consolidating language skills and tackling new course content also makes Internationalisation@Home a valuable tool. Furthermore, new competences such as digital communication skills, flexibility, teamwork and creativity are given an especially strong boost. 


Currently, a distinction is essentially drawn between two kinds of innovative digi-tal mobility: (purely) virtual mobility and hybrid forms of virtual and physical mobility. The latter are also known as “blended mobility” concepts. Examples of purely virtual mobility include working on inter-university projects, designing and teaching courses jointly, and using information and communication technology to write seminar papers in international teams. Blended mobility concepts focus on complementing physical mobility with virtual mobility in a meaningful way. Examples include working on a joint project in which the people involved meet face to face at the beginning and end but otherwise collaborate via digital communication tools, or linguistic preparation for a term abroad at a Higher Education Institution where a different language is spoken. 


These examples merely provide a snapshot of the current situation, however. The onward march of digitalisation and the expansion of what is technically possible will also lead to the continued development of innovative forms of mobility. Because many such possibilities cannot yet be predicted, we need to track new trends, remain open to innovations and be willing to experiment. Higher education institutions will undoubtedly need to expand their IT infrastructure in order to be equipped for changes in user behaviour.