Taking Collaborative Online International Learning to the next level

Category: Englisch

"To COIL or not to COIL" is NOT the question – Successful start of the pilot project

This spring term, the seminar task in the module “International Competencies: Intercultural Cooperation and Communication (ICC)” co-lectured by Prof. Dr. Alexandra Angress and Prof. Dr. Renate Link in the framework of the TH AB master’s programme „International Management“ forms a direct contribution to promoting mutual understanding as overall objective of the so-called Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM; cf. https://www.aseminfoboard.org/about/overview) celebrating its 25 anniversary this year. The ASEM Education Process aims at facilitating mutual understanding in the area of education and training through providing an informal platform of policy exchange between stakeholders and through concrete projects and initiatives.

„Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)“ to improve intercultural interaction
The ASEM Pilot Project is a potential contribution to enhancing cooperation between Asia-Europe through COIL. Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) connects  students and professors in different countries for collaborative projects and discussions in classes and seeks to provide meaningful, significant opportunities for global experiences and cultural awareness integrated into programmes of study. COIL also seeks to enhance intercultural student interaction (cf. https://coil.suny.edu/) and is often synonymously used with the term virtual exchange (cf. http://www.unicollaboration.org/).

In allocated teams, master students of TH AB were designing and implementing a COIL activity for and with students from one Asian HEI as main but not exclusive target culture. Topics of the COILs were in line with the MIM course’s learning outcomes relating to intercultural communication and cooperation such as virtual team work across cultures in challenging times. Regarding the collaborative online elements, the teams were free to choose an approach they considered suitable and which allowed the integration of online collaborative tools encountered in class or beyond (e.g. video, quizzes, games etc.). The ICC students’ seminar papers also built on this practical contribution, i.e. COIL element, by drawing on a suitable theoretical body of cultural approaches and frameworks encountered in the ICC course which was complemented by relevant input from the two TH AB lecturers, guest speakers as well as SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research) webinars & workshops (cf. https://www.sietareu.org/).

12 universities in Asia and Europe involved
Thanks to the tightly-knit and varied Asian network of the two lecturers Prof. Dr. Angress and Prof. Dr. Link, all in all, the amazing number of twelve (including TH AB) partner or cooperating universities in both regions – Asia and Europe – were successfully and actively involved in the ASEM COIL Pilot Project throughout: the Asia-Europe Institute of the Universiti Malaya in Malaysia, Universitas Indonesia, Aoyama Gakuin University, Hiroshima Shudo University, Kitami Institute of Technology (all in Japan), the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Vietnam and the Vietnamese-German University, Chung-Ang and Sungshin University in South Korea, the National Taipei University of Business in Taiwan as well as Parul University in India.
Read here some exemplary statements by participating lecturers from Asia.

Development of e-skills
Throughout the whole project period, interactive collaborative tools were used, enhancing students’ digital competencies at the same time. On TH AB’s exposition platform, a special virtual ASEM COIL Pilot Project exhibition and meeting space was created: th-ab.expo-ip.com/stand/1225
The pilot project allowed all participants from TH AB and Asia to experience real internationalisation@home and to travel virtually to more Asian countries in just one term than would have been possible with physical visits even in non-pandemic times. In addition to improving their intercultural sensitivity when co-working with Asian peers, students also learnt how to be more patient as well as flexible in international collaboration, e.g. how to cope with the necessity of identifying suitable meeting slots around the globe – just like members of global virtual teams at their future workplace in internationally operating enterprises.

Continuation of the ASEM-COIL project planned
In summary, both the feedback from the participating students and lecturers from TH AB and its Asian counterparts have encouraged the organisers to take the initiative to the next stage in the near future.
Link to selected testimonials by participating students: https://www.flipsnack.com/ASEMCOIL/asem-coil-student-testimonials.html