Curated Resources: Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic


To address a need to help educators, administrators, virtual exchange implementers and practitioners, and families adjust to digital education and learning, the Stevens Initiative developed a curated list of resources that can be used during the pandemic and in the future. The resources, which mainly focus on virtual exchange, are listed under an audience group and include an annotation to make the webpage easier to navigate. Most of these resources were shared with the Stevens Initiative by virtual exchange practitioners and experts.

Resources, including webinars, toolkits, and other publications, are available to anyone interested in accessing tools and publications about virtual exchange.


  • Constructively Engaging in Digital Communities, Teaching Tolerance: This lesson plan from Teaching Tolerance will introduce students to the need for practicing inclusivity and empathy when engaged in digital communication.
  • Database of Activities, Playmeo: This database includes hundreds of activities you can use in the classroom. You can filter for “Virtual” for a list of those that work in a virtual context. Although access to many of these activities requires a subscription, they also have some for free.
  • Digital Learning Options During the Pandemic, The Stevens Initiative: This blog outlines some common terms used to describe education during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Information Webinars, ERASMUS+ Virtual Exchange: A series of webinars to help people in a variety of roles – young people, educators, youth organizations, or higher education institutions – learn more about virtual exchange and how to conduct or participate in it.
  • Introduction to Virtual Exchange, Qatar Foundation International: This video is a brief and simple introduction to the concept of virtual exchange that includes definitions and examples of program attributes.
  • Join a Program, The Stevens Initiative: Schools, districts, postsecondary institutions, and nonprofit organizations can express interest in having young people participate in a virtual exchange program implemented by a Stevens Initiative grantee. Joining an existing program allows institutions and educators to benefit from the grantee’s content, partnership network, technology, facilitation training, and other forms of guidance and support and can be a great way to have a first experience with virtual exchange.
  • Top Four Interactive Exercises for Online Meetings & Virtual Conferences, Playmeo: This article from Playmeo describes a few icebreaker activities that are useful for a virtual meeting or class.
  • Virtual Exchange Toolkit, The Collaboratory, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Exchange, U.S. Department of State: This toolkit shares an introduction to virtual exchange, provides tools and a framework for how to begin a program at a school or institution, and offers tips for common challenges.
  • Virtual Exchange Typology, The Stevens Initiative: Establishing common terms and a shared understanding of key concepts will help virtual exchange practitioners and scholars understand what types of exchanges exist, how they are created, and what is required for implementation. This typology and glossary of terms is shared in an effort to improve mutual understanding among virtual exchange practitioners and enable further development of the field.
  • What is Virtual Exchange?, EVOLVE (A project of the EU): a short, illustrated video that gives an overview of virtual exchange for those new to the topic.


  • 2020 Annotated Bibliography on Virtual Exchange Research, The Stevens Initiative: This publication identifies and summarizes existing academic literature and research in the field of virtual exchange. This annotated bibliography serves as a resource for scholars, practitioners, and educators who have an interest in virtual exchange and want to learn more from formal research about this practice.
  • At-Home Learning Resources, Reach the World: Looking for educational content that you can easily incorporate in your online lesson planning? Reach the World is proud to offer free classroom-tested content. Browse through dozens of resources and learning activities in the folders below to keep your students learning and engaged at home.
  • COIL BEVI Project: A state-of-the-art applied research initiative designed to measure the impact of collaborative online international learning through comprehensive and mixed methods assessment while enhancing the quality and impact of this cutting edge approach to virtual learning in higher educati
  • Connecting Classrooms: Using Online Technology to Deliver Global Learning, American Council on Education: Discusses the rationale, practical considerations, benefits, and challenges of initiating a new Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program, and a number of other approaches to virtual exchange in higher education.
  • Faculty Guide for COIL Course Development, SUNY COIL Center: This guide is a tool for postsecondary educators interested in establishing a COIL course, a model of virtual exchange, on their campus.
  • Free Educational Resources: Spreadsheet of companies offering free resources or tools. There is also a Facebook group called Amazing Educational Resources.
  • How to Create a Virtual Exchange, Qatar Foundation International and Participate: This online training module helps educators bring virtual exchange to their classrooms. This resource is primarily aimed at primary and secondary school educators who want to bring diverse, global perspectives into their classroom by connecting students through digital technology and sustained curricular activities.
  • iEARN Teachers Guide to Online Collaboration and Global Projects, iEARN-USA: This online resource features nine modules to guide educators through the steps of planning and conducting an online, collaborative project. The guide features activities for engaging students in online dialogue and strategies for using technology tools in virtual exchange project work.
  • iEARN Videoconferencing Guide, iEARN-USA: This handout provides guidelines, activity ideas, and advice for using synchronous video conferencing to connect classes in a virtual exchange.
  • Leading Groups Online Guide: A guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings, and events during the coronavirus pandemic. This guide covers 10 key principles including how to honor people’s emotional state during the crisis, track participation, and understand barriers to technology. It also touches on tools and templates to use to transition material online and answers FAQs.
  • MOSAiC Mondays, MOSAiC: Are you an educator who wants to connect your classroom to one of the most extensive Arctic research expeditions ever conducted? We know you don’t have a lot of extra time on your hands, so we want to make it easy for you. Each week, we’ll provide you with short engagements (5-15 minutes) to connect your classroom to the MOSAiC research expedition.
  • Online Teaching Resources, Lucy Gray: This collection includes for basic tasks. Planning resources, articles of interest, and general teaching resources are also included.
  • Teach for All Virtual Insights, Teach For All: Google Doc in which Teach For All outlines what makes virtual learning & knowledge products and experiences impactful for partner staff across their network. It goes over inclusivity, multidimensional learning, explicit and implicit learning, and how to add a human touch to online learning.
  • Teacher PD YouTube playlist, Reach the World: Reach the World has developed a series of live and on-demand videos to help educators make the most of the new at-home learning environment.
  • Teachers Guide to Global Collaboration, iEARN-USA: Searchable database of global projects and resources from organizations and institutions in the global education field.
  • Webinar: Join a Stevens Initiative Program, The Stevens Initiative: This webinar includes information about virtual exchange programs sponsored by the Stevens Initiative that actively look for partner educational institutions. Panelists provide information and discuss opportunities to engage with Stevens Initiative-funded virtual exchanges.
  • Webinar: From Design to Implementation: Different Models of Virtual Exchange Programs, K-12 Programs and Higher Education Programs, The Stevens Initiative: This two-part webinar series explores several approaches to virtual exchange in K-12 and higher education with a focus on how those approaches can be adapted to fit an individual intuition’s needs. Speakers from select virtual exchange programs will share more about the models that they’ve adopted and impact it has had on their students

Virtual Exchange Practitioners/Implementers

  • Instructional Notes: Meet Your Virtual Exchange Partner (for teachers), STEAMuseum. Detailed instructions for teachers about how to reach out to their virtual exchange partner for the first time and initiate an introduction and ongoing communication.
  • Instructional Notes: Preparing for a Video Conference, STEAMuseum. Detailed instructions for teachers about steps and strategies they can employ with high school age students to prepare for a video conference with their peers abroad.
  • Instructional Notes: Conducting a Video Conference, STEAMuseum. Detailed instructions for teachers about steps and strategies they can employ with high school age students to conduct a video conference with their peers abroad.
  • Evaluating Virtual Exchange Toolkit, The Stevens Initiative: This toolkit on effective evaluation practices for virtual exchange programs shares both a holistic perspective on program evaluation and specific steps that individual programs can take to improve their evaluation methods. The toolkit includes two appendixes 1) The Stevens Initiative Common Survey Items and 2) Protocols for Collecting Qualitative Data about Virtual Exchange Programs.
  • Online Collaboration Guide for Facilitators: A Resource for Using Digital Technology for Collaboration and Learning, IREX: Online collaboration is an essential skill for working and learning in our connected world. This guide aims to equip facilitators with the resources they need to conduct effective meetings, workshops, learning sessions, and trainings in the digital age.
  • SEL in Practice, Empatico: Free, online five-course professional development series for K-12 educators to develop self- and social-awareness in both educators and students, culminating with coursework focused on virtual exchange as a tool for fostering empathy and intergroup friendships among students. The series is hosted by Participate and includes a growing Community of Practice of over 1000 educators.
  • Virtual Exchange 101/102, Qatar Foundation International (QFI): Online asynchronous professional development courses for K-12 educators on the QFI Community of Practice on the platform. These courses are for teachers who are interested in starting to use virtual exchange in their classroom, and then once they have started participating in virtual exchange they have the opportunity to do a “deeper dive” course. Teachers can complete the course at their own pace and receive mentorship on setting up an exchange from the QFI community moderator.
  • Virtual Exchange Toolkit Infographics, Qatar Foundation International: An overview of virtual exchange in a visual format geared towards K-12 educators.
  • Webinar and Q&A Post: Facilitating Virtual Exchange Dialogue, The Stevens Initiative: This webinar presented an approach to facilitating online dialogues presented by the Stevens Initiative grantee, Soliya, represented by Dr. Katja Riikonen. This webinar is supported by a Q&A post that builds on the information presented in the recorded webinar.
  • Webinar: Building Strong International Partnerships,The Stevens Initiative: This webinar explores the characteristics of strong and successful international partnerships, a key characteristic of virtual exchange programs. Staff from the SUNY COIL Center shares their experience building and maintaining these partnerships between administrators, educators, and institutions.
  • Webinar: Training and Supporting Teachers to Facilitate Virtual Exchange, The Stevens Initiative: This webinar discusses different strategies and effective practices to train and support facilitators of virtual exchanges, leveraging the experience of two Stevens Initiative grantees, Global Nomads Group and Chicago Sister Cities.

Young People and Families

  • Be Internet Awesome, Google: This platform provides resources to teach K-12 aged students how to be safe online and explores the fundamentals of digital citizenship so kids can explore the online world with confidence.
  • Dialogue Facilitation Training, Soliya: Dialogue facilitation is an integral part of virtual exchanges. To do this well, facilitators are trained to act as third parties who help a group have a constructive, respectful, and authentic dialogue on various topics of (mutual) interest. Soliya offers a hands-on experience facilitating cross-cultural dialogue virtually. The training is endorsed by UN Habitat.
  • Digital Citizenship and Netiquette: A Teacher’s Guide, Maryville University: This resource offers information and resources for parents and students about digital citizenship and covers proper internet etiquette and how it applies to virtual classroom participation.
  • PBS PreK-12 Resources for Emergency Closings, PBS Learning Media: As teachers, students, and families deal with school closures, PBS Learning Media producers and educators have come together to curate a special collection of resources organized by grade and subject area. Find videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home. Create a free account to save and organize content.
  • Stevens Initiative-Funded Virtual Exchange Programs: Open-Enrollment Opportunities
      • seat at the table, Global Nomads Group: seat at the table is a virtual community where youth meaningfully interact, share stories, and form bonds across distance and difference. Young people ages 16-19 connect over video and share how they are experiencing COVID-19 in their local communities, and hear from other youth about what’s happening in other parts of the world.
      • Student to World, Global Nomads Group: This online program for youth ages 12-18 explores global issues through activities, curated media resources, and stories created by youth worldwide. As a personalized learning journey, youth are able to self-pace through the thematic courses on their own, gaining the 21st century and social emotional learning skills to prepare them for their futures.
      • The Experiment Digital, World Learning: Designed to connect high school students in U.S. with peers in Iraq, Algeria, and Yemen, The Experiment Digital prepares participants to be more civically engaged and lead change. This fully funded eight-week summer virtual experience teaches students to formulate and implement service projects in their local communities. Students can apply online and join this summer’s free program.
  •  Teachers Guide to Global Collaboration, iEARN-USA and the Longview Foundation: This database, originally created for teachers, brings together opportunities, support, and tools from organizations and institutions in the global education field. This site can help parents find and connect with projects and programs that align with their children’s interests.