Frequently Asked Questions: 2022 Survey of the Virtual Exchange Field

Learn about the 2022 Survey of the Virtual Exchange Field here.


How does the Stevens Initiative define a virtual exchange “program”?

Virtual exchanges connect people from diverse places using everyday technology for collaborative learning and interaction through sustained and facilitated engagement. You can watch a brief video about virtual exchange here

Virtual exchange programs, for the purpose of this survey, are exchanges that are distinct from each other if one of the following features was unique to that program and different from others: participant population, learning content, countries connected, duration, or program activity types. An organization might offer one, two, or many virtual exchange programs. Examples of virtual exchange programs include collaborative online interactive learning (COIL), language learning exchanges, and hackathons, among others. You can find more examples here

Are “programs” equivalent to “courses”?

For the purpose of this survey, an online course (which would otherwise be offered as an in-person course) does not constitute a virtual exchange program unless participants participated in sustained and facilitated engagement with participants from a different country or territory. Sustained engagement occurs over a sufficient duration to allow participants to build trust and understanding through repeated interaction. Many, but not all, virtual exchange programs involve activities over at least one to two weeks and often up to two to three months to allow sustained communication.

My institution/organization offered virtual internships. Should I report this data?

If two groups of people from different countries/territories participated in the internships together with facilitated engagement, then it would be considered a virtual exchange. But if it is simply providers/companies offering virtual internships, we would not consider this as a virtual exchange program. 

The individuals who participate in my program are school teachers. Should I respond to the survey?

Yes, we encourage submissions from institutions/organizations whose participants included school teachers. If your virtual exchange program fits into the virtual exchange program definition above, we want to hear from you!

My institution/organization does not implement virtual exchange programs, but we offer virtual exchange training to other institutions/organizations. Should I report this data?

Yes, the survey also consists of questions tailored to institutions/organizations that focus solely on offering virtual exchange training.

My program is focused on domestic virtual exchanges. Should I include data on these programs?

Although we recognize the value of domestic virtual exchanges, this year’s survey focuses on international virtual exchanges where participants are located in at least two different countries/territories.

My institution/organization had several individual COIL exchanges during the period of September 1, 2021,to August 31, 2022. Does this mean we had several individual programs or is our entire COIL program counted as one?

Virtual exchange programs are distinct from each other if one of the following features was unique to that program and different from others: participant population, learning content, countries connected, duration, and program activity types. For example, if your institution/organization offered 75 individual COIL exchanges (with different participation populations, learning content, etc.) during this period, you should report 75, not one. Since each program had unique features, we would consider these separate programs.

My institution/organization did not implement virtual exchange programs during September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022. Should I respond to the survey?

Yes, we would like to hear about your institution/organization’s reason for not implementing virtual exchange programs. We have added survey questions tailored for those who did not implement virtual exchange programs during this period.

Can I preview the survey questions before submitting my response?

We strongly recommend collecting information and having it ready before you begin the survey (you can preview the survey by downloading this PDF). Please note that you are still required to submit your responses online.

Who can I contact about the survey should questions arise?

Please direct questions to stevensinitiative.survey@gmail.com.