Reviewing Traces of Virtual Campuses: From a Fully Online Virtual Campus to a Blended Model

Reviewing Traces of Virtual Campuses: From a Fully Online Virtual Campus to a Blended Model

Helena Bijnens (EuroPACE ivzw, Belgium), Ilse Op de Beeck (EuroPACE ivzw, Belgium), Johannes De Gruyter (AVNet – K.U.Leuven, Belgium), Wim Van Petegem (AVNet – K.U.Leuven, Belgium), Sally Reynolds (ATiT, Belgium), Paul Bacsich (Matic Media Ltd, UK) and Theo Bastiaens (FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany & Open University of The Netherlands, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-358-6.ch011
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Abstract

The chapter first describes the concepts of virtual campus and virtual mobility and refers to several past and present projects and initiatives in the field. Through these previous experiences, a shift of concepts is noticed: from the fully online virtual campus to virtual mobility, whereby the more traditional universities open their borders and “blended models” gain more and more interest. Three cases demonstrate this evolution: the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) is progressively organising its educational support from a multicampus perspective; the Open University of The Netherlands is broadening its tasks towards lifelong learning; and in the GIS case, the virtual campus is used as a strategic means to ensure a valuable and transdisciplinary approach. To redefine the concept of virtual campus in order for it to be applicable to the changed educational needs of today, the Re.ViCa project has been set up. The project makes an inventory and systematically reviews cross-institutional virtual campuses from the past decade. Outputs will include a set of recommendations that can be applied to ensure the realisation of new successful virtual campus initiatives.
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Background To Virtual Campuses And Virtual Mobility In Higher Education

Throughout the last decade, numerous initiatives have been set up to experiment with the establishment of virtual campuses and virtual mobility activities. Virtual campuses have appeared in various forms and structures and also to varying degrees of success: Finnish Virtual University, Swiss Virtual Campus, FernUniversität in Hagen, Open University of Catalonia and the African Virtual University are just a few of the many examples. But what is actually a virtual campus or a virtual university? And what do we mean by virtual mobility? How ‘virtual’ is a campus or a mobility?

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