Designing a COIL course

What is COIL?

With virtual exchanges there is an intentional focus on nurturing engagement between students and enhancing intercultural learning. This is one of the big differences between, for example, a MOOC or an online course and a virtual exchange. Also, academic staff act as facilitators of intercultural learning during a virtual engagement.

Dowd and Helm (2020) makes the following important point: “Virtual Exchange should not be seen as being in competition with physical mobility. Rather, Virtual Exchange can be used as preparation for physical mobility, as a complement to physical mobility in blended mobility initiatives and as an inclusive, international learning opportunity for students and staff who may not be able to or want to have a physical or blended mobility.” For more information regarding what is a virtual exchange read the following position paper by UNICollaboration.

For Stellenbosch University, virtual exchanges offer the opportunity to achieve the following:

  • Internationalization at home
  • Internationalization of the Curriculum
  • Global Learning

On this page we will be focusing on one type of virtual exchange, namely Collaborative Online International Learning or COIL.

One type of Virtual Exchange: COIL

Source: Florida International University – Global Learning

Defining COIL

“The term ‘collaborative online international learning’ combines the four essential dimensions of real virtual mobility: it is a collaborative exercise of teachers and students; it makes use of online technology and interaction; it has potential international dimensions; and it is integrated into the learning process.”

De Wet (2013)

Identifying what COIL is:

COIL is not:COIL is:
A replacement for Study AbroadTeam teaching across two or more cultures using online communication
A massive open online course (MOOC) or online courseStructured so that the success of students in each class depends upon the others’
A curriculumCustomized, to fit the mission, culture and learning outcomes of each institution
TeleconferencingApplicable to any institution
A technology platform
Source for Table:Connecting Classrooms: Using online technology to deliver Global Learning (2016)
Coil Guides

What is Coil? , a introduction developed by the SUNY COIL Center.

A Worksheet to help you frame a COIL initiative, developed by the University of Washington Bothell.

The COIL Workbook, developed the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

Connecting Classrooms: Using Online Technology to Deliver Global Learning, developed by the American Council on Education

A toolkit for Virtual Engagement for International Student Exchange, developed by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Durban University of Technology.