A Participant of the e-Academia: Virtual Guided Tour Totally Surprised Us

Many European countries cancelled their Academia learning mobility events aimed at career guidance professionals this year because of travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Estonian Academia hosts, however, opted for a creative adaptation of learning mobility in the e-Academia format already in spring, and again in September.

E-Academia, phase II, took place from September 14 to 16. This year has been very different – instead of traditional study-visit type of exchange and job shadowing, we have been encouraged by a new reality and experienced together so called virtual mobility, where most of the exchange took place in a virtual environment. The topic of e-Academia's virtual mobility was „Career guidance in higher education and employment offices: how to support learning and CMS development“.

Daily two-hour online seminars were held and attendees were assigned homework. The venue for this fall’s e-Academia was Microsoft Teams, but all the features included presentation and homework sharing were in TalTech’s Moodle. Also other tools like Kahoot, Mentimeter, and Padlet were handy during this exciting journey. Objectives for the virtual learning mobility included sharing practices among participants, but also a virtual guided online tour in a brand new career guidance centre in Tallinn PES.

According to the Academia host, attendees observed that e-Academia was very engaging and inspiring but also challenging: “The initial concern in May was what if the internet connection drops or they can’t be heard or seen but fortunately no major technical issues emerged. Attendees were happy with the experience thanks to content-rich presentations and varied learning tasks. They were eagerly looking forward to meet in Tallinn for the exchange of practices and job-shadowing, but we had to organise another e-Academia instead.“

“I have participated in many academia exchanges - for the first time it was sharing practices among participants, it added a lot to the study visit,” wrote the participant anonymously. “I think it was a well balanced program, with career counselling from different perspectives (education and PES), and sharing good practices from different countries. Guided tour totally surprised us.” Since this year professionals from 6 countries gathered online, the exchange of practices was particularly fruitful. In addition, they all admitted that different tools and platforms we used for that, were especially helpful and a great practice for the future. 

The seminar was organised jointly by Association of Estonian Career Counsellors, Tallinn University of Technology, Tartu University, Unemployment Insurance Fund, Archimedes Foundation / Euroguidance Estonia and has received financial support from Erasmus+": The Union Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport.