Studying abroad can be a rewarding experience for students, giving them a chance to learn about another culture and gain skills that will help them in their careers. But for some students, who are juggling school, family responsibilities, and work, study abroad can be too expensive or too time-consuming. Enter Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), an approach to multicultural learning that links classes in different countries, giving a broader range of students the opportunity to have an international experience. I am excited to be part of launching a new COIL initiative at BMCC!
What exactly is COIL? The COIL model was originally developed at SUNY by a group of faculty exploring ways to facilitate global exchange in the classroom. Instructors in two classes in different countries work together to create a shared assignment, assignments, or entire syllabus and students from the two classes use online tools to communicate and collaborate.
The term “Collaborative Online International Learning” can be a bit misleading. While the interaction with students at another institution typically takes place online, COIL is not only intended for online classes or faculty with a strong technology background. The term “international” does not mean that COIL is solely for courses that are already dedicated to studying another country or culture. With a little creativity, any discipline can lend itself to COIL. If you teach a course that already has an international focus, your students could partner with a classroom in the country or region they are studying. If you teach Media, Arts and Technology, your students could create videos and animation with their international peers. Nursing students could engage in conversations about cultural and social issues regarding their profession with a group from another country. The possibilities are endless…
We are currently inviting faculty to apply to participate in BMCC’s pilot COIL program, which begins in Spring 2019. During the spring semester, participating faculty will work with me, the E-Learning Center, CETLS, and their international partner to develop COIL courses, to be taught in Fall 2019. Applications are due this Thursday, November 15. I hope that you will consider bringing this opportunity to your students.
Prior to coming to BMCC, I did some consulting work with the COIL program and gave workshops on intercultural training for the faculty working with these paired classrooms. I’d be happy to support this effort here at BMCC and would encourage faculty who have professional contacts with faculty in other countries to consider collaborating together through COIL.