The opportunities opened by the digital dimension

The silver lining of the recent COVID-19 pandemic was that many HEIs were forced to move faster towards digitalisation and the use of ICT tools in education, to compensate for the restrictions of movement and in-presence life. The digital dimension of education had an impact also on internationalisation activities, which had a great stop (it was impossible to perform mobilities and organise international symposiums and events, as well as training and project activities). Virtual mobility, virtual exchanges, practices of internationalisation at home were developed further as a response to the limitations caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The integration of the digital dimension has opened new opportunities for universities, widening the educational offer and pushing the national decision-makers, in some cases reluctant to fully recognize online learning, to adapt to the changes.

Innovative learning methods, and the use of ICT tools, have complemented other internationalisation dimensions and have the potential to grant to higher education Institutions additional tools to relate with each other. European HEIs willing to cooperate with HEIs in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria , should not exclude the possibilities of going digital, with professors giving lectures miles away though a screen, promoting remote co-supervision of master and PhD students, integrating virtual mobility and virtual exchanges in their programs.

It is worth mentioning a few cases pointing in that direction: Jordan has been the first South-Mediterranean country in terms of participation in the European Virtual Exchange programme; Lebanon and Syria are opening to the development of COIL model-Collaborative Online International Learning, that can lead professors to design their online courses, after delivering them in different parts of the world.

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