Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

In order to contribute and thrive in today's world ODU students need a global education and an understanding of global citizenship. Study Abroad is an ideal way to move towards this goal but is currently not a realistic option for many Monarchs. There is, however, an innovative, inexpensive, and convenient way all our students can experience global cultural perspectives in an academic setting: Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) connects students and faculty in different countries for collaborative projects and discussions as part of their coursework.

As part of an initiative to develop more COIL courses at ODU the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) and the Center for Faculty Development (CFD) invite interested faculty to apply for free enrollment in a part-time, three-week online SUNY workshop from March 7-25 called COIL Foundations.

One of the hurdles of global education is that it can be very expensive. Often only the most affluent students can travel abroad. COIL seeks to change the way we conceive of global education. Michael Dean, ODU's Deputy Director at the Center for Global Engagement, notes that COIL "is developing into a barrier-destroying course structure that can provide experiential global learning experiences for our students that fit almost effortlessly into current ODU curricula."

COIL is an affordable way to engage your students in global education and support your learning goals. It promotes active learning in your classroom as you open the windows of your classroom onto the world. Students can make vital international networking connections via COIL that can lead to greater opportunities in their futures.

And COIL doesn't require the kind of long-term prep that a Study Abroad course might take. "Incorporating a COIL Collaboration into your existing course doesn't require an expensive technology platform or extensive redesign of your course," according to the SUNY COIL website. "It only requires an interest in effective, innovative pedagogy, a bit of flexibility and enthusiasm, and some thoughtful preparation. A well-planned COIL Collaboration enhances your existing course, helps students develop curiosity about the world and a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures, bolsters 21st century skills, and provides new perspectives on course content."

It is highly recommended that faculty take a course before beginning a collaboration. The SUNY COIL Foundations course is a great option. Apart from offering detailed advice and practice it informs the participants of the many resources available for those interested in moving into COIL.

During or after the course faculty will look for a partner faculty member from a non-US institution. There are different resources to make this partnering easier. The collaborations may be in the same subject area but equally may be in very different disciplines. Whichever option is chosen, there will be a four to eight week part of each course where students will work with their counterparts. They each will learn not just different education practices but also different attitudes to work and management and a great deal about the culture of another country.

How Can Faculty Get Involved?

From March 7 to 25, 2022, faculty can take a three-week online workshop called COIL Foundations offered by the SUNY COIL Center. This course costs $250 but CGE and CFD are offering a limited number of free places to ODU faculty.

The course requires about 2-4 hours per week, around 6-12 hours total. It's interactive as you engage with a live instructor and fellow members taking the course as well as pursue independent work. Upon completion of the course, you would be required to fill out a survey covering your experience and projected outcomes.

If you are a faculty member interested in this opportunity, please complete this form.

Additional Resources


The SUNY COIL Center has been working to promote and professionalize the practice of Collaborative Online International Learning and Virtual Exchange for more than 15 years.

ODU Center for Faculty Development

Want to know more about the COIL approach to teaching and learning? Watch this video of a panel discussion from ODU's Day of Teaching on Sept. 17, 2021.