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International experience without travelling

Through the FORTHEM collaboration's Team Teaching platform, lecturers and students at UiA can gain international experience without having to travel. Leading the way are 20 Norwegian and 40 French student teachers.

Two women sitting on a bench on Campus Kristiansand
Clare Patricia Jortveit and Susann Lynn Erdmann recommend Team Teaching. Photo: Maria van Schoor

“Team Teaching is a simple and smart way for lecturers to collaborate internationally with colleagues from other universities,” says FORTHEM coordinator Clare Patricia Jortveit in the Management Support Unit.

She explains that through Team Teaching, lecturers from different countries can collaborate digitally on joint lectures for their students. When students from another country attend the lecture, both lecturers and students gain international experience without having to travel.

“Sometimes it’s just one or more lectures. Other times, we may develop courses together, or have a deeper collaboration and perhaps even develop a degree programme. The scheme allows for a high degree of flexibility,” says Jortveit.

About the FORTHEM collaboration

FORTHEM, which stands for Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility, is one of 50 European university alliances funded by the European Commission's Erasmus+ programme.

  • The alliance consists of nine universities from nine different countries that collaborate across borders on education, research, innovation, and community engagement.
  • The University of Agder joined FORTHEM in September 2022 and currently holds a leadership role in the alliance's co-creation efforts. In addition, UiA leads the alliance's lab initiative on Art and Aesthetics in Contemporary Society.

See which other institutions are members and learn more about the collaboration.

Collaboration in English teacher training

One notable example of an emerging cross-border Team Teaching collaboration is taking place in the teacher training programmes at UiA this spring. The collaboration started with a lunch a year ago, and now they are doing group work together.

Three lecturers from the University of Bourgogne in Dijon, France, visited UiA. Two of them, Aurora Marquie-Jacquin and Pauline Papa, sat down with associate professors Susann Lynn Erdmann and Lenka Garshol during a FORTHEM lunch on campus.

“We got along well and quickly discovered that UiA's programme in English for primary school teachers had a lot in common with theirs. We saw that this could be a good opportunity for collaboration. So we did that, initially through Zoom, before we decided to switch to the Team Teaching platform exactly a year ago,” says Erdmann.

“Should be included in more”

The collaboration is still in its early stages, and Erdmann wants it to become a natural part of teacher training. Together with Marqui-Jacquin, she hopes to develop a course from scratch.

“Studying in this manner is very instructive for the students, despite practical challenges and differences between the two student groups,” she says. Those involved benefit and are inspired by each other.

One of the challenges is that semesters in Norway and France are not the same length and they start and end at different times.

It can be a bit challenging to deliver lectures to 40 French students on the screen and 20 Norwegian students in the room, but Erdmann believes it will work out well.

“Following the lecture, we have group work with four French and two Norwegian students in each group. The lecturer visits the groups digitally and helps with the tasks. Afterwards, everyone comes together for a discussion,” she says.

Expanding the collaboration

The two teacher educators are expanding their collaboration with one more group, and in April, master's students in teacher education for levels 5-10 will be invited along. These students are currently on practice placements in schools. Once they return, they will give a presentation about how it went to the French students, who will go on their practice placements. In the end they will all exchange their experiences.

The students are eager to connect digitally and keep in touch outside of lectures, and they enjoy working together. Not all students are able to go on exchange, so Team Teaching can provide a taste of international experience. Besides, it might also be what is needed for some students to decide to go.

Learn more about Team Teaching on FORTHEM's website.