Scenarios for the Integration of Virtual Exchange in Higher Education


  • Marta Giralt University of Limerick
  • Alicia Betts University of Girona
  • Sara Pittarello UNIcollaboration
  • Cristina Stefanelli UNIMed



virtual exchange, internationalisation, blended mobility, accreditation, recognition, integration


This paper describes the results of the analysis carried out within the Erasmus+ FRAMES project ( which collected and analysed Virtual Exchange (VE) case studies building upon desk research and through an open survey, so as to identify and describe various scenarios of accredited VEs. By using a qualitative methodology based on pattern matching analysis, collected cases were aggregated into four scenarios to be potentially used by a variety of European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs): VE as a preparatory or follow-up activity to physical mobility (blended mobility); VE as an intertwined component of physical mobility (blended mobility); VE as a stand-alone learning activity; VE as a component of a course. The main conclusions and recommendations revolve around the need to expand the number of potential scenarios across all disciplines and contexts and the urge to train academic as well as administrative staff to facilitate the integration of VE in HEIs. 

Author Biographies

Marta Giralt, University of Limerick

MARTA GIRALT, PhD, is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Spanish in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, University of Limerick, Ireland. Her major research interests lie in the area of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning), Intercultural Communication and Internationalisation. Email:

Alicia Betts, University of Girona

ALICIA BETTS, Responsible for Strategic International Projects, Universitat de Girona, Spain. Her professional and research interests lie in internationalization of higher education, inclusive and sustainable internationalization and global learning. Email:

Sara Pittarello, UNIcollaboration

SARA PITTARELLO, Freelance Conference Interpreter and Expert in EU HE projects. She is currently Project Manager and Outreach Officer for UNICollaboration. Sara has recently participated as trainer and speaker on VE in major national and international events. She was Vice Chair of the Academic Exchange and Mobility Working Group for the Coimbra Group from 2015 to 2017 and worked as Project Manager and trainer at the IRO of the University of Padova. She has published in the field of Higher Education, Internationalisation and Virtual Exchange, and in the field of Interpreting and Translation, Email: 

Cristina Stefanelli , UNIMed

CRISTINA STEFANELLI, Senior Project Manager, UNIMED - Mediterranean Universities Union, Italy. She has been involved in many European projects and her research interests lie in the area of digital and open education, Email:


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How to Cite

Giralt, M., Betts, A., Pittarello, S., & Stefanelli , C. . (2022). Scenarios for the Integration of Virtual Exchange in Higher Education. Journal of International Students, 12(S3), 116–134.