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Impact of a business and culture virtual exchange program across institutions in Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and the United States

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‘Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum’ is a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, and the United States. The course equips students with the competencies they need to communicate, problem-solve, and collaborate in a global environment- all essential skills in an interconnected world. Students interact with one another through connected sessions and also on a more personal level through team projects. Funded by the Stevens Initiative, this virtual set-up is especially critical in the Covid-19 world that we find ourselves in, and is ripe for investment.

In this session, we at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan will explain how this virtual exchange program was developed, including the level of effort from each stakeholder group – funders, instructors, program managers and evaluators. We will also present how the program was executed across the four countries and the changes we made in March 2020 due to the onset of Covid-19 and university closures. This will give audience members a clear understanding of what virtual exchange programming is, how it can be developed and executed, and the various stakeholders’ responsibilities.

We will also share the process used to develop a rigorous monitoring, evaluation and learning plan to measure the impact of this course. And we will share the results from the first cohort of students related to empathy, cross-cultural communication, and cross-cultural collaboration. As importantly, we will discuss our use of data to improve the subsequent roll out of the course in the following semesters. This will give audience members a clear example of how evaluation data can be used for continuous improvement in virtual exchange programs. We will also discuss adaptations made to the monitoring and evaluation plan to address the potential negative effects of Covid-19 on our students.

Confirmed Panelists

Yaquta Fatehi, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan

Meghan Neuhaus, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan

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