IGE: COIL - University of Houston
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Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

Collaborative Online International Learning is an approach that brings faculty and students together through the support of online technology across countries and cultures to learn, discuss, and collaborate as part of their class. Professors from distinct locations partner to design the experience and students partner to complete the activity designed. COIL enables faculty and students to have significant international and intercultural experience with their course of study.


Four key elements of COIL:

  1. It involves a cross-border collaboration or interaction with people from different geographical locations, backgrounds and cultures.
  2. Faculty and Students must engage in some sort of online interaction, whether it is asynchronous or synchronous.
  3. It must be driven by a set of internationalized learning outcomes aimed at developing global perspectives and/or fostering students’ intercultural competences.
  4. There must be a reflective component that helps students think critically about such interactions


COIL Project Stages:

  1. Ice breaker, developing trust: (1-2 weeks)
  2. Organizing Teams, Discussion: (1-2 weeks)
  3. Collaborative Project Work (2-3 weeks
  4. Presentation, Reflection, Conclusion (1-2 Weeks)


Useful Tips for a successful COIL collaboration:

  • Tip 1. Identify a good collaborative match, explore connections to other academic areas
  • Tip 2. Meet and prepare a calendar of activities with objectives, deadlines and measurable outcomes for every phase of the COIL model.
  • Tip 3. Identify technologies that are available to all and are useful to facilitate interactions
  • Tip 4. Use the ice breaker activity to identify students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds



If you are interested in exploring the possibilities to integrate Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), please contact Dr. Luis F. AlcocerAssistant Director, University Partnerships.