As a transnational project, the Virtual Environmental Challenge or VEC (original project name) has many stakeholders involved from university International departments to lecturers, researchers and students. In general, a university will host an edition of the VEC and take on the organisation of the project; this includes recruiting of other universities (international and national), recruiting of country coordinators who in turn recruit students from their home university.

To find out more about the structure and methodologies involved, please see a training session we gave in November 2022:

The organisation and running of the challenge aside, on the ground level of the VEC we have ‘Teamchers’ (team-teachers) and participants. Teamchers, who are university students, take on a role where they guide participants through the challenge (for the VEC we use an eight week model – see below). The participants are the students that have been recruited by the country coordinators, as mentioned above. The teamcher-participant relationship can be viewed as a kind of facilitator-student relationship. However, the important thing to remember is that it is a ‘peer’ relationship as Teamchers and participants are students in their respective institutions.

In turn, Teamchers are guided by ‘Mentors.’ Mentors are students who have participated in the VEC in the past as Teamchers. Mentors also help with the general organisation of the VEC.

In the VEC, the participant groups come up with a ‘big idea’ for their at home campus–the big idea relates to topics, for example: sustainability, gender, discrimination, race, inclusion. What is the big idea? There is no limit – but the best ideas are ones that can be implemented on campus (and applied at other partner university campuses – although this is not the aim)  – so no ideas that cost millions of euros, would be difficult to implement, etc. Once participant teams have come up with their idea, the challenge is to create productions related to the idea: present (on Zoom) the idea to a panel of judges and peers; create a film trailer of the idea; do a final presentation in a professional style (e.g. Ted Talk format) again with the panel of judges and peers. Teams also create a logo.

The teamcher and participant team relationship falls within the methodology of Challenge-based Learning (CBL); read more:

  1. Challenge-based Learning: A Classroom Guide https://www.apple.com/br/education/docs/CBL_Classroom_Guide_Jan_2011.pdf

  2. CBL toolkit https://www.challengebasedlearning.org/

  3.  ‘Teamcher’ https://www.eciu.org/news/the-growing-eciu-community-of-teamchers

VEC Teamcher/participant cycle:

EXAMPLE of 8 week timetable:

EXAMPLE of organisation:



Combining Virtual Exchange with Challenge-Based Learning: the experience of the “Virtual Environmental Challenge” (forthcoming)

Christine Evain , Michael Moore , Spencer Hawkridge

Journal of Virtual Exchange, 2023, Virtual Exchange and the Development of Transferable Skills: a Review of Practices Across Disciplines, Special Issue


Projets – Virtual Environment Challenge (VEC) et Défi Environnemental Virtuel (DEV)

Christine Evain

Internationalisation@Home : retours d’expériences d’internationalisation, Université Rennes 2, Jun 2022, Rennes, France


The ‘Virtual Environmental Challenge’ Project and its Impact on Second Language Learning in an International Context

Michael Moore , Christine Evain , Spencer Hawkridge

Crises, challenges, innovations, Jun 2022, Nantes, France


Apport de la fiche « EWAP » dans le système d’évaluation de travaux en groupe

Christine Evain , Simon Carolan , Michael Moore , Brendan Geer , Spencer Hawkridge et al.

Journées d’études AIPU : Innover en recherche pour une évaluation des pratiques pédagogiques dans l’enseignement supérieur, Nov 2022, Rennes, France


Collaborative Distance Learning International Project ‘Virtual Environmental Challenge

Christine Evain , Elsa Chusseau

Fourteenth International Conference on e-Learning & Innovative Pedagogies, University of the Aegean, May 2021, Rhodes, Greece


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