It is worth noting that the MED2IaH project The MEDiterranean countries: Towards Internationalisation at Home has several positive outcomes on the Virtual University of Tunis. These outcomes can be categorised into three categories, namely outcomes on the institution as a whole, on the UVT students, and staff. Below is an explanation of the three categories of outcomes.
- Outcomes on the institution:
- Elaborating the UVT IaH strategy
In fact, within the WP2 of the MED2IaH project South Mediterranean partners were called to prepare their IaH strategy and action plan. Therefore, the UVT elaborated a sound and concrete strategy of IaH since the regular internationalisation is challenging for the UVT because of the national context and the specificity of the UVT as an online university.
- Implementing IaH at the UVT
Following elaborating the UVT IaH strategy and action plan, The UVT started implementing it within its different departments by integrating IaH through internationalising the curricula and extra-curricular activities on the short, mid, and long terms.
- Democratisation of IaH concept at the UVT
All stakeholders at the UVT are now aware of the IaH concept, its meaning, importance, and mechanisms. It is true that the staff who were previously informed about the concept were more convinced of its importance and more motivated to implement it within the UVT. However, soon later within the project, the more informed about the concept transferred their knowledge and interest in IaH to the rest of UVT actors including management, staff, and students. This knowledge transfer is the essence of capacity building.
- General interest in IaH
Because of MED2IaH now there is more interest in IaH and its mechanisms especially by engaging more staff and students in EU projects specifically the English speaking projects. There is also more interest in virtual mobility or virtual exchange. The UVT was a pioneer in implementing VE projects even before the MED2IaH project. However, the project helped in convincing more people to participate in virtual exchange programmes.
- MED2IaH outcomes on the UVT student population:
- Revitalising the on-campus life
Although the UVT is an online university, its students appreciated their engagement in on-campus life, which helped in solidifying their relationship and rapport with their university and developed their sense of belonging to their institution.
- Engaging UVT students in IaH
There were several occasions in which the UVT students were involved in the different events of MEDIaH including the webinars, the roundtables, the training sessions, Erasmus Days, the student boot camp, etc. Indeed, through this involvement they became able to participate in and organise their own intercultural activities at the UVT premises such as producing podcasts and organising the multicultural festival and the national conference.
- More opportunities of internationalisation
Due to MED2IaH project, the UVT students now have more opportunities to acquire an international experience and prepare for their international career by engaging internationalisation at home. They are no longer obliged to leave their home country to get a mobility to international universities through participating in virtual exchange programmes or internationalising the curricula and extra-curricular activities.
- MED2IaH outcomes on the UVT staff
- Involvement of more staff in EU projects
Following the training sessions and workshop on IRO development, ICM management, EU project management, and European Research Area, more academic and administrative staff are now involved and interested in EU projects. This was also the result of engaging more staff in the different study visits and job shadowing organised within MED2IaH.
- More interest in linguistic training
The UVT staff expressed its growing interest in conducting research, writing reports, communicating, and presenting in English because they are now encouraged to participate in English speaking projects. Therefore, the UVT is currently preparing for a regular linguistic training for its academic and administrative personnel. They are also involved in virtual exchange programmes to enhance their linguistic and communicative skills through interacting in English with their counterparts in different countries and institutions.
- Staff engagement in IaH activities
The UVT academic and administrative staff were all involved in the different events organised within MED2IaH project including the webinars, the roundtables, the training on digital storytelling, and the training sessions on IRO, ICM, EU project management, and ERA. They are additionally engaged in the intercultural activities conducted at the UVT and are involved in the preparation for and the organisation of the multicultural festival and the national conference on IaH.
Written by Dorsaf Ben Malek (National Coordinator of MED2IaH and UVT teacher)