Virtual Exchange for All: Building on U.S.- Japan Relations to Further Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in International Higher Education
This paper illustrates the importance of emerging modalities of Virtual Exchange/ Collaborative Online International Learning (VE/COIL) in international higher education. It references VE/COIL programs conducted between the United States and Japan by Kansai University’s Institute for Innovative Global Education in 2020 and 2021, building on a qualitative study of student interviews and psychometric evaluation tools. Assessing the impact of these programs on student learning outcomes, particularly under the COVID-19 pandemic during which traditional in-person student mobility was halted all over the world, is crucial to the future of international education, especially with the return to traditional mobility programs. Findings suggest that upon completion of such programs, students demonstrated heightened skills in self-awareness, intercultural communication, and global resonance. While remote modalities of learning were necessitated across all academic levels at the start of the pandemic, this paper argues that they should be maintained in the post-pandemic world to purposefully target specific pedagogical aims in international curricula rather than as a temporary rapid response to halted mobility programs. Essential elements to ensuring the success of VE/COIL programs are assessing students’ transformative growth, building an international community for VE/COIL exchange through grassroots efforts, and positioning VE/COIL as a viable means to address issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in international higher education, for which JET alumni are uniquely positioned to orchestrate.
About the Author
Michele holds a master’s degree in Japanese Language and Culture from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research areas of interest are transculturation and the internationalization of universities and vocational schools in Japan. She has worked as a freelance translator, a Japanese-language textbook editor in Boston, and an English teacher in Shiga Prefecture with the JET Program from 2010 to 2013. Currently, she promotes the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Initiative at Kansai University’s Institute for Innovative Global Education, facilitating U.S.-Japan relations between higher education institutions.
About the JETs on Japan Forum
The JETs on Japan Forum is a partnership between USJETAA and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (Sasakawa USA) that features selected articles of JET alumni perspectives on U.S.-Japan relations. The series aims to elevate the awareness and visibility of JET alumni working across diverse sectors and provides a platform for JET alumni to contribute to deeper understanding of U.S.-Japan relations from their fields. The articles will be posted on USJETAA’s website to serve as resource to the wider JET alumni and U.S.-Japan communities on how alumni of this exchange program are continuing to serve as informal ambassadors in U.S.-Japan relations.
Submissions are encouraged from mid-to-senior level professionals who are established in the current fields OR current/recent graduate degree students in both masters and doctoral programs. Click here for more information on how to submit a proposal for consideration.