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  • Alberta OWL-Cooperation

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We CAN virtuOWL

Within the Alberta-OWL network project We CAN virtuOWL nine digital, joint teaching and learning formats have been developed, opening up new possibilities for intercultural exchange and enabling students to gain valuable international experience – regardless if they can travel abroad or not. The funding was provided through the “International Virtual Academic Collaboration” (IVAC) program that was initiated by the DAAD and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project is part of the Alberta-OWL Cooperation, a cooperation between Bielefeld University, Paderborn University, Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts and on the Canadian side in Alberta the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Concordia University of Edmonton, and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. The project was also supported by the Campus OWL New York office.

The teaching formats were carried out from the German winter term 2020/21 to winter term 2021/22 and covered various subjects. Next to a kick-off meeting in which two lecturers of the pilot projects reported on their experiences with their first collaborative online course, the project offered professional development, training and information events in the form of COIL-workshops (Collaborative Online Learning) conducted by the SUNY COIL Center. To enable an interdisciplinary exchange between the lecturers and staff of the project, monthly virtual meetings of the “Community of Practice” were held on topics such as digital tools, evaluation and further funding opportunities for transatlantic cooperation. To enhance the students’ intercultural exchange beyond the virtual class room, “We CAN virtuOWL” offered a Digital Student Exchange as well as an E-Tandem for peer-to-peer learning and communication across borders in a more informal and interactive way.

Kick-off Meeting 2021
Kick-off Meeting 2021 © Campus OWL liaison office New York City

Virtual Exchange is a teaching and learning practice that helps students with developing important skills for the labor market of today.
This video provides an overview on the concept of virtual exchange and its advantages.

Based on the knowledge gained within the We CAN virtuOWL project, this guide provides helpful hints and tricks for developing digital collaborative teaching and learning formats with international partners. Guide for International Collaborative Teaching here

Beyond Queer Theories
Holly Patch, Hannah Mietke (Bielefeld University) and Dr. Simone Pfleger (University of Alberta)

Cultural and Digital Literacy in the ELT
Eleni Louloudi (Bielefeld University) and Dr. Claudia Eppert (University of Alberta)

Issues in Inclusive and Exclusive Education Practices
Mark Schäffer (Bielefeld University) and Prof. Dr. Anna Kirova, Dr. Shiva Zarezadeh Kheibari (University of Alberta)

Interprofessional Collaboration
Prof. Dr. Anna Lena Rademaker, Prof. Dr. Katja Makowsky (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Arts) and Prof. Dr. Susan Sommerfeldt (University of Alberta)

Exploring differences and similarities of Basic HR Practices: Same ends with culturally and procedurally different means
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wach (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Arts) and Dr. Mike Annett (MacEwan)

Intercultural to Trancultural Perceptions in Large Groups of Dialogue
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Muth (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Arts) and Prof. Dr. Marie-Eve Morin (University of Alberta)

Compiler Construction
Prof. Dr. Carsten Gips, Birgit Christina George (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Arts) and Prof. Dr. Nelson Amaral (University of Alberta)

Teaching language
Dr. Katharina von Elbwart, Dagmar Keatinge (Paderborn University) and Dr. William Dunn (University of Alberta)

Special Polymer Synthesis
Prof. Dr. Dirk Kuckling (Paderborn University) and Prof. Dr. Michael Serpe (University of Alberta)

In addition to the collaborative online courses, We CAN virtuOWL offered a Digital Student Exchange program for students interested in intercultural German-Canadian exchange. The program was designed as a mini-series with a total of six sessions from May to July 2021. All sessions took place online via Zoom which allowed students to meet and interact with each other in a more informal way. Hosted by students from the OWL universities, the program provided a fun and interactive opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and communication across borders and cultures.

Program overview here

The E-Tandem was designed to provide students with the opportunity of an informal, intercultural, and language-enhancing exchange outside of the classroom. After filling out a registration form and being matched to a student from Alberta or OWL, the actual exchange, the joint learning, as well as the form of exchange, was agreed upon and organized by the students themselves. To support a successful exchange, a collection of resources was made available to the students, providing information on how the E-Tandem works, information and material regarding working in a group of two and material that helps to reflect on progress. If you are interested in the collection of resources, please contact us at

During the project period, monthly virtual meetings of the “Community of Practice” were held to enable an interdisciplinary exchange between the lecturers and staff of the project.

May 2021
Tools for the digital classroom

June 2021
Assessment of Collaborative Courses

September 2021
Funding Opportunities, Research and Teaching Collaborations (PPT here)

November 2021
Lessons Learned (PPT here)

Press release 2020 here

Press release 2021 here

Press release Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences here

Kick-off event 2021 here


Contact to apply and for further questions:

Please contact the International Office of your institution.


University of Alberta:

Trevor Buckle,

MacEwan University:

Nina Delling,

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology:

Naisa Bujold,

Concordia University of Edmonton:

Amanda Thorson,



Bielefeld University:

Magdalena Mayer,

Despina Henke,

Paderborn University:

Stefan Schwan,

Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and Arts:

Vanessa Schaut,

OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts:

James O'Reilly,

Campus OWL New York
Dr. Katja Simons,

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