Collaborative Online International Learning



“COIL” (Collaborative Online International Learning) at Stan State helps to support and enhance the achievement of global/transnational engagement goals, through online, collaborative course projects with international partners. The COIL model capitalizes on the myriad tech tools available for online teaching and learning to connect students at separate campuses for shared course projects and assignments. COIL activities offer meaningful and authentic international, intercultural, and sometimes interdisciplinary learning experiences in support of course and institutional learning outcomes without requiring international travel. COIL provides an opportunity to share our faculty expertise, incredible students, and regional/national resources with curricular partners around the world. 

The COIL model of virtual exchange was developed at the State University of New York (SUNY), and we draw upon their model for our program at Stan State. We also draw up resources obtained through Florida International University’s COIL Virtual Exchange Leadership Institute, and through our memberships in the SUNY COIL Global Network and the Latin American COIL Network. 

Why Engage in International/International Projects?

At Stan State, our Strategic Plan and Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice call upon the university to offer learning experiences that enhance cultural awareness and understanding, and that develop the knowledge and skills needed to be responsible global citizens. COIL supports our General Education Program Goals and Outcomes by promoting awareness of multicultural perspectives, and the ability to “identify and analyze problems within local, regional, national, and/or global contexts.” COIL also supports the Graduate Student Learning Goals by promoting “knowledge of diverse perspectives and broader contexts as appropriate to the discipline.” The University’s Strategic Plan calls for students to have experiences with High Impact Practices, and COIL projects typically involve collaborative assignments and projects with an emphasis on diversity/global learning and may involve additional HIPs as appropriate to course learning outcomes. As our Office of International Education reminds us, global perspective and cross-cultural competence are crucial for success in today’s world. Many of the potential international partners have interests in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and there are lots of opportunities to make connections that support campus and regional sustainability efforts.

How it Works

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Building upon existing relationships, or after identifying an international partner with the help of the COIL Coordinator and COIL networks, faculty at separate institutions (in other countries, or even other parts of the United States) create collaborative course projects that support mutual student learning outcomes and foster active learning, as issues are explored through diverse cultural perspectives/contexts. Courses may be taught in a common language, or if a common language is not possible translation tools can be utilized to allow students to participate using the language of course instruction.

COIL Chart

As the SUNY COIL Model indicates, projects:

  • Can be created in any discipline; interdisciplinary collaborations work really well
  • Encourage active student learning and teamwork
  • Include an emphasis on cross-cultural interactions and understanding
  • Can be 5-15 weeks long
  • Are a graded activity in each participating class
  • Can use any technology tools that serve the learning goals
  • Conclude with a post-project critical reflection that typically incorporates consideration of the global/cultural aspects of the activities

Progression of a COIL Module

  • Icebreakers; teambuilding; developing trust
  • Comparative discussion; organizing teams
  • Collaborative project work; problem solving
  • Presentation; reflection; conclusion

The COIL model provides infrastructure, resources, and faculty development opportunities to support the development, design, facilitation, and assessment of curricular experiences, and supports related research, publications, presentations, and grant-writing. Our participation in COIL networks can streamline access to partner institutions throughout the world, and provide support to the development of new curricular collaborations. Central to this work is an emphasis on culturally engaged pedagogies, the implementation of teaching and learning practices that foster intercultural awareness and skills as students engage in content-related activities. Faculty remain in control over partnerships and course activities, but with support and resources to streamline the development of relationships, communication tools, responsibilities, etc.

Want to see some examples?

Since COIL is new to Stan State, we don’t yet have projects to share from our campus, but the following links offer examples of COIL collaborations that may inform and inspire you:


As you prepare for and engage in your COIL project, at Stan State you’ll have the support of the COIL Coordinator, the Office of International Education, the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Academic Technology, in addition to any resources provided by your international partner’s institution. 

In addition to individual supports, watch for announcements about

  • COIL Information Sessions
  • COIL Semester-long Faculty Learning Communities
  • COIL Curricular Design Workshops
  • COIL Showcases
  • Intercultural Competencies Workshops

Connect with COIL

As we’re launching the COIL program at Stan State, we’re beginning by soliciting faculty interest in learning more about or participating in COIL. Faculty COIL Interest form helps us to understand more about you, and your prior experiences (if any) with global/transnational teaching and research, and possible future interests. It also gives you a chance to tell us why you’re interested in learning more about COIL, and to ask questions you might have. You are not expected to have any prior experience with transnational/global/international teaching and learning in order to get involved with COIL, but we are asking about such experiences to ensure that we are capitalizing upon existing relationships and expertise as we initiate and scale up the COIL program at Stan State.

We’re starting to build potential COIL partnerships with institutions and individuals with whom we already have study abroad, research-based, or other types of transnational relationships. We’ll soon solicit information from faculty about courses for which you are interested in developing COIL projects, and helping where needed to match faculty with international partners. 

We’ll also soon have a form for institutional partners and faculty collaborators from outside of Stan State who wish to connect with Stan State faculty for COIL projects.