Frequently Asked Questions

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We connect students from low- and middle-income countries with professors from everywhere. Students can participate in the classes offered by these professors remotely and free of charge. They do not receive official grades. They add diversity and interesting new perspectives to the class, which will benefit both them and the regular students.

For Teachers

Information on how to offer spots on your courses to students.

For Students

Information on how to apply for and participate in courses.

I’m a professor. How can I participate?

You can decide to open your existing classes to remote exchange students from low- and middle-income countries on an informal basis by listing your classes on this website. Remote exchange students do not register for the class formally, and do not receive official grades. Rather, they participate in the course informally. You have full discretion over how you want to involve these students:

On one end of the spectrum, you may offer the guest students to simply listen to the lectures without participating actively.

Alternatively, you may choose to involve them almost like regular students: they can participate in the class discussion, complete written work or presentations, and you can offer feedback. At the end of the course, you can assign grades and issue letters of participation.

RSE has partnered with the International Economic Association to provide sponsorship to professors who wish to issue grades and letters of participation to the guest students. When you register your class you can tick a box to indicate your interest in this option.

You can decide how many students you wish to host, and what prerequisites they need to fulfil. You can select students for admission yourself from among the applications, or let our team do it for you.

Is it legal for me to open my class to remote exchange students?

You need to determine yourself if you can host guest students in your course. If you wish to issue grades and letters of participation to guest students, the President of the International Economic Association will provide a letter of support addressed to your department chair or dean to request permission for your participation.

More generally, because this initiative is informal and students don’t receive university credit, our view is that permissions from universities or department chairs should not be required. Rather, we hope that professors will use their pedagogical freedom to structure their classes to the best of their professional judgment. The novel perspectives the exchange students bring to the class will benefit not only them, but also your regular students.

Is it a lot of work to list my class on the site?

We try to make it as easy as possible for you. You can list your class yourself by adding it under “My Courses”. But we also offer two alternatives to make your life easier: first, you can simply email your syllabus to professors@remotestudentexchange.org and we will extract the relevant information from it and list the class for you (giving you a chance to review it before it goes live).

Second, we can schedule a 20 minute Zoom meeting where you tell us about the class and we list it based on that information (again giving you a chance to review before we post it). Simply email johannes.haushofer@remotestudentexchange.org to set up a meeting.

How many students can I host?

You decide.

How much work will it be for me?

You decide. You can offer the students to simply listen in quietly, or involve them in the class discussion occasionally, in which case your workload is minimal. Alternatively, you can involve them more intensively, including offering them the opportunity to hand in work and receive feedback on it. Or anything in between. As mentioned above, the IEA provides sponsorship for a limited number of professors who issue grades and letters of participation to guest students. This funding can be used to pay for teaching assistants (TAs), or to supplement your salary.

Can I un-invite students if it’s too much work, or if it’s not working out?

Yes. You can un-invite students at any time. Of course we hope you will only do it if the circumstances don’t allow for other options.

Can I select the students?

Yes; you can review the applications and decide which students you want to admit. Alternatively, you can choose to let the RSE team make selections.

Can I stipulate pre-requisites the students have to fulfil?

Yes; you can list specific courses or areas of knowledge as prerequisites. We would like you not to list entire degrees as prerequisites (such as BA in Economics) because we want courses to be as accessible as possible, and because the variability in the content of degrees across the world makes this type of prerequisite not very informative.

Can I assign grades?

Because the exchange students are not officially registered for the class, you likely cannot assign official university grades and credit. However, if you decide to allow students to hand in work (note this is strictly optional), and if you are willing to grade it, you can decide to issue a letter of participation and a grade to the students.

Through a partnership with the International Economic Association, funding is available for a small number of courses to facilitate grading work and issuing letters of participation. (This also means that you can only receive IEA funding if you are willing to issue grades and letters of participation.) When you register your class, you can tick a box to indicate your interest in this option. Again, all of this is strictly optional.

How can remote guest students participate in in-class exams?

Through our partnership with the International Economic Association, funding is available for professors who assign grades and issue letters of participation. This funding can be used to hire proctors who supervise in-class exams remotely. We will support you in making the necessary arrangements.

How will students access the lectures and class materials?

Students will access lectures the same way as your regular students; we imagine that in most cases, this will consist in you (or your teaching assistant) sharing a Zoom link with them. To share written materials with the students, there are two options: you may decide to email these to the students (either yourself, or delegating to your teaching assistant or a volunteer among your regular students). Alternatively, you could ask your IT department if the exchange students can receive a guest user account for your online teaching platform (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas, Athena, etc.). In our experience this is often possible and unbureaucratic.