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As an educator, Dr Tatum Syarifah Adiningrum believes in the importance of exposing her students to the world to equip them with skills for the future. When COVID-19 challenged student mobility worldwide, her experience with Virtual Exchange and Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) capacity building workshops organised by the SHARE Programme opened new opportunities.

Between 16 September and 6 October 2021, the EU Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (EU SHARE) Programme organised a series of capacity building workshops on developing Virtual Exchange (VE) / COIL Programmes to leverage online learning methodologies and blended learning modalities in the face of the pandemic.

‘Just because the pandemic stopped us from travelling, it should not mean we need to compromise our students’ experiences’, Adiningrum said. ‘SHARE’s workshops provided me with the knowledge, tools, and network I needed to start our own COIL programme’.

She pitched the idea to the Binus International University, Jakarta, Indonesia where she works as a development coordinator and received positive responses. ‘The university was very excited and supportive,’ she said.

Adiningrum reached out to partner universities in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam to collaborate on VE / COIL programme development initiatives.

‘The world has recognised the potential of ASEAN and I think it’s important for our students to recognise it and have this network too’.

Virtual Exchange and Collaborative Online International Learning focuses on bringing together students from different countries to work on common projects and encourage students to be more participative. ‘We currently have 150 students from the region participating in our first COIL programme’, Adiningrum said. ‘It was challenging to organise but I am happy to see our students don’t have to miss out on an essential part of their higher education’.

The EU SHARE Programme is a partnership initiative between the European Union and ASEAN. It strengthens regional cooperation and enhances the quali ty, regional competitiveness, and internationalisation of ASEAN higher education institutions and students.

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