“I felt a bit nervous”
Virtual Exchange as an emotional journey
Keywords:Virtual Exchange, emotions, virtual team, collaborative online intercultural learning
Virtual Exchange is a collective term for a set of collaborative online learning practices that cut across institutional, cultural, and international borders. Moving outside their learning environments, the participants engage in project work with foreign peers. The teams have to work across time zones, use foreign languages, manage cultural differences and apply digital tools for communication and collaboration. The virtual projects enhance the development of transversal work/life skills, which are an asset in today’s global labour market. The aim of the present study is to explore the emotional trajectory of Virtual Exchange based on the students’ e-portfolios. By analysing the self-evaluations, we can get a better understanding of the emotional experience of participating in Virtual Exchange and use the findings to develop the pedagogical facilitation of such projects. The research questions address the emotions that the students described when they were reporting on their learning experiences and the individual emotional trajectories that emerge in the students’ reports. Data was collected in the form of e-portfolios that the student participants submitted at the end of a Finnish-Polish Virtual Exchange project in 2019. The “Combining Expertise from Linguistics and Tourism: A Tale of Two Cities Told in Videos” collaboration had promotional discourse in tourism as its main theme. The participants (N=25) were university students majoring in tourism (Poland) and in foreign language studies (Finland). The e-portfolios were analysed with the help of dialogical approach combined with discourse analytical insights (Sullivan, 2012).