Research Articles

Virtual exchange: a promising high-impact practice for developing intercultural effectiveness across disciplines




Virtual Exchange, high-impact practices, intercultural effectiveness, digital competence, online communication


Virtual Exchange (VE), a pedagogy that uses technology to facilitate online, collaborative work among students and their peers in other countries, is viewed as a high-impact practice contributing to engaged learning and student success in higher education. This study investigates the impact of various types of VE on the intercultural effectiveness skills of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in courses across disciplines. The relationship between VE and intercultural skills for minority and non-minority students was also investigated, along with the relationship between dosage (length and duration) of VE and intercultural skills. Results indicate VE positively impacts the development of intercultural skills of students and that there were no differences when the data are disaggregated by individual classes or disciplinary areas. There were no significant differences for minority and non-minority students and for the impact of dosage, but further research is recommended for these two important topics. Findings of this study underline the generalizability of VE across disciplines and its suitability for providing wider access to international experiences for all students.

Author Biographies

Nannette Evans Commander, Georgia State University

Nannette Evans Commander is the Virtual Exchange Coordinator in the Office of International Initiatives and Professor Emerita of Educational Psychology at Georgia State University. She has published research in the areas of intercultural skills, metacognition, online learning, and student success in higher education.

Wolfgang F. Schloer, Georgia State University

Wolfgang Schlör is Associate Provost for International Initiatives at Georgia State University. Previously he served in similar positions at Western Michigan University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Pittsburgh. He  holds PhD (Dr.Phil.) and M.A. (Dipl.Pol.) degrees in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin.

Sara T. Cushing, Georgia State University

Sara Cushing is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Senior Faculty Associate for the Assessment of Student Learning in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at Georgia State University. She has published research in the areas of language assessment, second language writing, and teacher education.





Research Articles