Faculty of Economics offers Innovative Online-Exchange
MUNEC offers the LMU-YorkU Virtual Journal Club as a virtual exchange between Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and York University (Canada) for Bachelor students. During the course, students complete weekly readings consisting of a book written for a general audience and a seminal academic paper on a related topic. The topics rotate through different subfields of microeconomics, thus exposing students to a wide range of economic inquiries and methodological approaches. Each week, students exchange ideas and reflections on the readings through online discussions in asynchronous and synchronous channels. The instructors provide context for the reading, guide students’ analyses, challenge their perspective, and provide friendly and constructive feedback on the students’ communication. For a final project, students work in intercultural teams and draw on a range of online collaboration tools. Students also participate in online research conferences to get a first-hand experience of economic research at the research frontier.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Lang suggests the Virtual Journal Club may have hit a sweet spot, offering social interactions, economic discourse, and an international exchange experience. “In the middle of the pandemic, many students felt like lone wolves. When offered the opportunity to creatively engage in cross-cultural debates of economic questions with students from different countries and across two continents, our students jumped at the chance.”
“More than ever, during the pandemic, we need to reach out and connect internationally,” said Prof. Dr. Karen Bernhardt-Walther (York University). “There is a risk of lockdowns and travel restrictions narrowing our horizons. Yet, many of the problems we face are global, so building these connections is more important than ever.”
Overall, the Virtual Journal Club was a great success. “We’re getting amazing feedback. We have seen students leveraging their digital competencies into forming networks across continents,” said Prof. Matthias Lang.
The pandemic kick started this innovative online exchange. Yet, the success of the Virtual Journal Club calls for a repetition. Thus, both partners plan to repeat the virtual journal club. In addition to the commitment of both partners, the Virtual Journal Club received funding from the International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC) call of the German Foreign Service (DAAD) funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.