Virtuelle Hochschule Ostseeraum

Virtual University of the Baltic Sea Region

Virtuelle Hochschule Ostseeraum is an international, cross-institutional and interdisciplinary project that aims to establish a new virtual learning environment at the University of Greifswald and promote collaboration between the universities in the Baltic Sea region.


  • improvement and specialisation of courses for master students and advanced teacher programs;

  • qualification of academic teachers for the purpose of English virtual learning environments;

  • international connection of virtual learning courses and therefore specialisation of courses for the research emphasis on the Baltic Sea Area;

  • transferable application for all academic fields at the University of Greifswald.

International virtual learning environment

The teaching and learning activities take place in the shared digital space. Lecture and seminar formats are designed jointly by an international team of teachers from partner universities. Students can engage themselves in self-study with units accessible online (asynchronous teaching), online sessions with all students and teachers (synchronous teaching) as well as self-planned group work in international working groups. The students are accompanied by the teachers in cooperative projects, research-based learning is a central component of the courses. If the travel situation allows, the course is rounded off by a one-week excursion.

Since the working groups consist of participants from different countries, international networking of the students is made possible in addition to the internationalization of teaching. A virtual learning environment is also enabling students with social or personal issues (i.e. parenting, relocation, sickness, caring for a family member) to finish courses, which would otherwise be impossible for them.

The project is part of the internationalization strategy of the University of Greifswald. The cooperation between the lecturers also flows into the Greifswald research focus “Cultures of the Baltic Sea Region”.

Current partner universities

Stockholm University

Tampere University

St. Petersburg University

The project is open to new partnership proposals and ideas.


Actual courses Winter term 2021/22

Mobility in the Pre-Modern Baltic Sea Region 

(Stockholm University)

Mobility in its various forms and scales is a fundamental aspect of human history. Already in pre-modern times, the Baltic Sea functioned as a route for travel and enabled the exchange of both goods and ideas. Mobility was thus a major factor of cultural contact – in most cases voluntary, in others forced. In many cases, the impact of this cultural exchange is still visible today. This course discusses different forms of mobility in the pre-modern Baltic Sea Region and examines the ways they can be assessed with the help of material that is still extant in the form of archives, collections, literature, or monuments. Students will learn to work with primary sources that were produced in the Baltic Sea region in pre-modern times.

(For participants from the University of Greifswald: please use the following links to access the lecture course and the seminar)

The students from the partner universities are welcomed to join online courses in English provided by the Nordic History chair, University of Greifswald

Lecture course: The Christianization of the North (bilingual) (Cordelia Heß, Prof. Dr. phil.)

In the period between 700 and 1200, Christianity gradually became the dominant religion in Scandinavia and Finland. The lecture series will provide a basic timeline for this phenomenon, highlight actors and processes, discuss theoretical approaches to conversion and identity formation and investigate different expressions of cultural and religious identity. Additional focus will be on the written and material sources which tell us about the period between the Viking Age and the Christian Middle Ages.

Most of the sessions will be uploaded and can be accessed asynchronously, they will be accompanied by short exercises. Some sessions will be live and give the opportunity to discuss the topics.

Seminar: Conversion of the Vikings (Cordelia Heß, Prof. Dr. phil.)

This seminar works best together with the lecture "Christianization of the North", in which substantial background knowledge is provided for reading and understanding of the texts and sources in this seminar. In the seminar, Latin historiographic and hagiographic sources as well as Old Norse sagas will be read and discussed.

Seminar: The Nordic paradox: Gender equality and antifeminism in Scandinavia (Cordelia Heß, Prof. Dr. phil.)

The Nordic countries rank amongst the top 5 in the Gender Equality Index. But women in these countries experience a comparatively higher degree of domestic violence, sexual harassment and abuse than in other European countries. This seminar will discuss historical and contemporary reasons and explanations for this phenomenon. Teaching and research literature will be primarily in English.

Seminar: Baltic Sea region history Creating Imagined Communities: Collective Memory between the Christianisation and the Nationalism in the Baltic Sea region (Gustavs Strenga, Dr.)

For enrollment or any questions: or


Summer term 2021

Imaginatio borealis: Ideas of the North from the Middle Ages until today

The term "North" (lat: boreas) initially only denotes one direction of the sky or wind. Since ancient times, this term has also been associated with certain ideas or imaginations of a specifically northern area. The understanding of exactly where this space is to be located and what constitutes it - that is, what defines “the North” and distinguishes it from other regions - has changed over the years.

The course addresses the question of what ideas about the North looked like in different eras and contexts and what they still look like today. The lectures provide an overview of the conceptualizations of the North from the Middle Ages to the present, they are supplemented by guest lecturers. The seminars mainly consist of project work in groups that examine individual case studies independently and present work results.

Winter term 2020/21

Religious Mobility in the Pre-Modern Baltic Sea Region

The course was dedicated to religiously motivated mobility in the premodern Baltic Sea region: crusades, pilgrimages and preaching tours. The recorded lecture videos served as an introduction to individual phenomena of premodern mobility, presented the basics of modern and contemporary theories about migration. The lectures were prepared by researchers of this phenomenon from Greifswald, Stockholm, Tampere and St. Petersburg.

The students had the choice between five subject areas, on which they could work in groups on a project basis. The results were then presented in various forms (text or video) and a criteria-driven peer review enabled the students to examine the work of the other groups in-depth and provide extensive feedback.