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NC State Global Promotes Collaborative Online Learning (COIL)

As part of NC State Global’s Global Learning for All initiative, COIL promotes virtual, interactive educational opportunities by connecting faculty and students through shared experiences across international borders.

While COVID-19 was a catalyst for online learning, NC State Global is committed to offering COIL and COIL-type classes as an ongoing way to foster global collaboration. Students participated in a wide variety of COIL-type exchanges during the spring 2021 semester, ranging from First Year Inquiry (FYI) sections to more advanced subjects. Additional course opportunities are planned for Fall 2021.

COIL Impact in Numbers

Research shows that virtual exchange students demonstrate an increase in cultural intelligence after participating in a COIL course, as well as an interest in greater global engagement. A recent study at East Carolina University that will soon be published, found  that virtual exchanges through their Global Understanding course have promoted interest in studying abroad.  Their research shows that the probability of studying abroad overall increased from 5.6 % to 13.3%.  For specific groups frequently underrepresented in study abroad, the findings were as follows:

  • First Generation College Students – 3.0% to 12.4%
  • African American Students – 2.5% to 9.4%
  • Hispanic Students – 7.9% to 12.7%

COIL in Action

screenshot of a zoom classroom during a COIL course.

NC Japan Center Director, Jonathan Brewster, initiated 4 COIL-type programs between NC State and our Japan-based academic partners in April 2021. One such program was with Nagoya University (Japan) – 12 students participated in MSE 456/556 (Composite Materials) and watched pre-recorded lectures by Dr. Jag Kasichainula (NC State COE) and Dr. Makoto Kobashi (Nagoya University). As part of the class, each student had to create a presentation and upload it to the course Slack workspace which was also used to communicate between the cohorts. Students met for a live Zoom class to present their research to the rest of the group.

Below Dr. Makoto Kobashi from Nagoya University shares his experience about participating in a COIL-type course for the first time.

Similarly, Political Science professor Heidi Hobbs linked students in her Introduction to International Relations course (PS 231) with students taking a similar course at the University of Economics and Business in Prague. Tony Nardelli, a rising junior majoring in Communication Media, took part in the Prague exchange and worked with students from Norway, France, and Germany, discussing topics such as globalization and foreign policy under the Biden administration. One of the biggest takeaways for Tony was that he had more in common, like musical interests, with his international classmates than he expected, especially when he found a fellow guitarist and Beatle fan.

Chase Keyser standing in front of the Eifel Tower in Paris.
Chase Keyser

Chase Keyser, a rising junior majoring in Political Science, also participated in the Prague COIL.  He was inspired to learn more by the students he connected with from Sweden, France and Italy.  “I always wanted to study abroad… I just didn’t know where to go or what to do. I felt like after having this collaboration with the Prague students, it only made me more eager to study abroad. It made me really want to explore and experience the lives that they experience on a daily basis.”

NC State University has joined the SUNY COIL Global Network to further connections with over 100 member institutions  from the US and around the world devoted to these types of exchanges. “Joining the SUNY COIL network will provide opportunities for faculty to connect with overseas partners, engage peers within the community on best practices, discuss issues, gain insights, share successes and learn about new opportunities,” says David Dixon, Director of Global Partnerships at NC State Global. “In addition to resources and information on the SUNY-COIL website, they also host a variety of COIL Idea Hubs (special interest groups) formed around five different areas: Technology, Pedagogy, Culture & Language, Assessment, Communication and Marketing.”

NC State Global is working to promote COIL connections for faculty and students. To learn more and how to get started, visit our COIL website

This post was originally published in Office of Global Engagement.