Telecollaboration, or ‘Virtual Exchange’ (VE) refers to the application of online communication tools to bring together classes of learners in geographically distant locations and communities with the aim of developing their foreign language skills, digital competence and intercultural competence through online collaborative tasks and project work (O’Dowd, 2017). In recent years, approaches to Virtual Exchange have evolved in different contexts and different areas of university education and these approaches have had very diverse organisational structures and pedagogical objectives. For the past six years, I have successfully embedded the use of VE in my own teaching practice and more broadly, in the teaching and learning of my department (Hispanic Studies). In so doing, we have been able to internationalise our classroom and curriculum, especially for those students who have not been able to go on their year abroad. Students’ reflections and feedback confirm that their VE helped them with their confidence, their linguistic, pragmatic and cultural awareness, and contributed to boost their mental health and wellbeing, especially during the pandemic. I am part of the WIHEA Internationalisation Learning Circle and there are colleagues across different subjects and disciplines who have expressed an interest in this educational practice. Therefore, my current goal, which is the base of this proposal, is to collaborate with two students in order to review the use of VE as part of the curriculum and assessment in Hispanic Studies so far and to create a detailed guide and list of resources for staff and students at Warwick who are willing to incorporate this model of 'internationalisation at home' in their current teaching practice. In so doing, this project will offer staff and students a model of collaboration with Warwick's current international partners and alliances (EUTOPIA, Monash, etc) and will contribute to one of Warwick's main educational strategies, 'Internationalisation'.
I joined Warwick University in 2014 and I am currently an Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Language Coordinator and SSLC Academic Convenor in Hispanic Studies, and a WIHEA Fellow. My research and teaching interests lie in Spanish culture, history and literature of the long eighteenth century, Anglo-Spanish cultural transfers and innovative language teaching, with a focus on embedding an intercultural and international perspective in the curriculum.