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COIL FAQs and Answers

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is a powerful form of virtual exchange or “globally networked learning”, for both faculty and students. With COIL, staff or faculty at two or more institutions in different parts of the world to work in partnership to design an experiential learning project, module, research, or work-integrated learning (WIL) experience that challenges their students to work collaboratively with peers and/or organizations globally.

1. Embed within a pre-existing course at both institutions

  • Examples are a shared assignment or project (including capstone);
  • Virtual collaboration between students can happen synchronously, for example, through video conferencing or live chats, or mixed with asynchronous engagement, such as through discussion boards, shared documents, or SMS exchanges;
  • Assignments can vary length depending on the requirements of the curriculum agreed upon by the faculty leaders at each partner institution;
  • COIL can involve the entire class, or a smaller group of students;
  • The COIL assignment or project can be fully collaborative, with students working in mixed teams from each partner institution, or it can be comparative – where students work individually or in teams at their home institution, and then share the results with the larger group and discuss / reflect together through different lenses;
  • COIL partnerships can involve students from the same discipline or complementary academic and professional areas;
  • While most COIL projects are entirely virtual, it’s possible to design the COIL such that students and faculty may travel to their partner’s country, to complete and/or present their final project and meet their peers and partners abroad (pending travel approvals).

2. Run outside of the classroom in the form of an applied research initiative

3. Designed as a work-integrated learning (WIL) experience overseen by an industry or community partner

  • These experiences are developed to enable students to work on real-life assignments for potential employers around the world;
  • Experiences must be approved in advance by the WIL team associated with the student’s academic Faculty.

Through COIL, students collaborate with and learn from peers from different cultures, with different realities, and with different ways of approaching an issue. COIL initiatives support students to identify, articulate, and demonstrate essential 21st century skills using the Humber Learning Outcomes (HLOs) framework. They develop digital fluency and collaboration by working in virtual teams; broaden their understanding of systems thinking by exploring their discipline in a global context; engage in critical thinking and creative problem-solving by working on real-world projects; and the list goes on. There are endless possibilities.

Through COIL, faculty and staff have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues outside of Humber and enhance your teaching and learning portfolio. Furthermore, you will gain insight to your industry from a different country’s perspective; forge new partnerships; develop skills in intercultural communication; and acquire fresh inspiration.

COIL is a teaching and learning methodology that emphasizes experiential and collaborative student-centred learning. In its simplest form, experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential education first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking. In this context, COIL initiatives typically involve three stages:

  1. Team Building Activities that help students get to know and trust each other, and create community
  2. One or more Collaborative Task(s) that demand diverse contributions from every person participating
  3. Reflection Activities that help students transform their COIL experiences into new ways of thinking about themselves, others, and the world around them

Humber has an established history of success COIL initiatives led by outstanding faculty and staff. Gain inspiration by viewing the Humber COIL Showcase.

Time is required to design, deliver and evaluate your COIL initiative, in collaboration with your COIL partner. The commitment will vary depending on the format and length of your COIL project, but you should expect to virtually meet your partner at least one time before, during and after the experience, as well as to complete the recommended COIL workshop series facilitated by Humber’s International team. To visualize the COIL process, visit the Visualizing the COIL Process page.

Humber COIL proposals are welcome from all full-time Humber employees.

Humber has an established network of global academic partner institutions in six continents around the globe. As part of the COIL proposal process, we will help you determine a partner “match” with a faculty, staff or organization aligned with your initiative, wherever possible.

While it is preferred to work with existing Humber partners to deepen relationships, this does not rule out collaboration with an institution or organization outside of Humber’s network with which you are already connected. You will describe the rationale as part of your COIL proposal.

The accessibly of COIL initiatives lies in the fact that they can be developed and delivered entirely remotely. This said, there may be opportunities where in-person development and implementation will add value. These proposals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with your (Senior) Dean, Associate Dean or Director and follow the approval process of Humber’s established travel policy and procedure.

Organizing a COIL initiative at Humber is a collaborative and supportive process. As a faculty member or staff looking to initiate a COIL project, you will have a number of resources available to you as you develop your initiative. This includes support from your Academic Faculty / Department, Humber Global, and your “match” from the international partner institution.

  • Call for proposal materials and guide
  • Assistance in matching you with an international partner
  • Resources and workshops for faculty and staff partners to guide the COIL collaboration process
  • Three workshops for students on intercultural learning and professional development (pre-, during, and post-COIL)
  • Support for post-COIL evaluation, feedback and SoTL research to gather rand share results of experience
  • Ongoing opportunities to showcase your COIL initiative

Proposals are now being accepted.