International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC)

collaborative leraning

The current crisis has forced universities and research organisations to dynamically expand their capabilities in the fields of digital learning and working. Virtual exchange represents an interactive and cooperation-based bridge to the world and serves to systematically intensify international higher education efforts and shape them around new models of (blended) mobility.


Digital transformation in the research and higher education system has impacted all areas of teaching – especially when it comes to developing e-learning scenarios and the use of digital media. Digital components are being applied to in-person teaching formats on a case-by-case basis but are not yet systematically or extensively integrated into university curricula. A similar situation can be found in approaches to internationalisation. Internationalisation at home  and the internationalisation of curricula serve as models for developing an international dimension in teaching-learning programmes and thus enable (all) students – irrespective of their prospects of foreign mobility abroad  – to gain valuable intercultural experience.

The abrupt transition from offline to online teaching in response to the COVID-19 crisis has made digital teaching and learning an essential prerequisite for acquiring knowledge and competence. At the same time, internationalisation efforts – at least those impacting mobility figures – have all but come to a standstill. Nonetheless, the crisis has created conditions which have opened entirely new possibilities for re-envisioning international mobility and intercultural exchange by means of digital presentation. Blended learning with its various online and offline teaching elements becomes “blended mobility” when digitally aided instruction is augmented by collaborative components  in an international context. The result is entirely new teaching and learning arrangements which are student-focused and collaboration-based, unimpeded by geographic or time restrictions. Research orientation and project work are examples of didactic approaches which can provide structure to virtual exchange scenarios and cultivate a network between instructors and students.

With the call for applications to International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC), the DAAD wishes to provide practical support to instructors and strategic support to universities with the aim of developing and expanding international higher education partnerships and worldwide mobility by tapping digital possibilities.

Programme objectives

Objective 1:
German lecturers and their international partners have integrated digital col-laboration formats into their courses and plan to integrate them into the cur-riculum.

Objective 2:
Students and lecturers apply the digital skills acquired through virtual cooper-ation.

Objective 3:
Processes in the areas of study, teaching and blended mobility are digitised across universities and contribute to the development of interoperable stu-dent data ecosystems (in the interest of the Groningen Declaration).

Objective 4:
International digital cooperation formats are accessible to further target groups, which makes intercultural experiences possible, for example, for students who’s financial or family situation hinders physical mobility.

Objective 5:
A community of practice has formed.


  • German Academic Exchange Service
    P44 - Digitalisation for Internationalisation, Universities of Applied Sciences
    Kennedyallee 50
    53175 Bonn

    Samira Herb-Cless
    Senior Desk Officer
    Tel.: +49 228 882-4534

    Steffen Puhe 
    Project Coordination
    Tel: +49 228 882-8130


    For questions regarding transatlantic cooperation, please contact:

    Uta Gaedeke
    Senior Program Officer
    German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
    871 United Nations Plaza
    New York, NY 10017
    Tel: +1(212)758-3223 x209