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What is COIL-VE?

COIL-VE (Collaborative Online International Learning Virtual Exchange) is one specific pedagogy within the umbrella of virtual exchange. Using technology, COIL-VE fosters meaningful exchanges between university faculty and students with peers in geographically distant locations and from different lingua-cultural backgrounds. COIL-VE courses are team-taught by educators who remotely collaborate to develop a shared syllabus emphasizing collaborative student-centred learning.


Taylor Jaehrling & Heather Douglas

Coordinator, Global Engagement & Mobility

Office: SH 203

[email protected]

The Benefits of COIL-VE

COIL-VE provides accessibility to those students, especially underrepresented student groups, who may not be able to travel to another country for quality international learning opportunities. There are many factors impacting a low Canadian student participation rate such as not having financial resources to travel, work/home obligations, and other socio-economic factors. COIL-VE, if offered in tandem with physical mobility programs, has proven to be valuable and, going forward, an integral part of internationalization at home strategies for Canadian postsecondary education institutions.


Students collaborating at table
Benefits of COIL-VE for Students:
  • Increase intercultural awareness and communication skills
  • Develop digital literacy skills, especially for working in virtual teams
  • Learn about their discipline from another perspective
  • Engage in global problem solving
professor teaching students
Benefits of COIL-VE for Faculty:
  • Develop international partnerships 
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Enhance student’s learning
Algoma University campus building
Benefits of COIL-VE for Institutions:
  • Enhances internationalization-at-home 
  • Promotes internationalization of curriculum
  • Provides accessibility and inclusivity of international learning opportunities to all students
Step-by-Step Guide to Set Up a COIL-VE Course

If you are interested in co-teaching a new course or an existing course with a global partner, please express your interest to the Experiential Learning and International Affairs Department to get started with the process. Whether you are restructuring an existing course or designing a new one, COIL-VE courses are proven to be an immensely rewarding experience for both students and faculty.

To learn more about What COIL-VE is, please visit SUNY website.

Finding a right partner is critical for the success of the COIL-VE courses. Faculty can either partner with their existing connections abroad through research, networking or other means or establish a new partnership through AlgomaU’s existing international partner institutions or organization. If you don’t think you have the right partners for the goals of your course, the Department of International Affairs can assist you.  

When you are seeking partnership during the initial stage, you may want to consider the following key criteria to determine whether or not the partner is a right fit for you and the goal of your course. An effective, sustainable partnership is the foundation for a successful COIL-VE project.

  • Equal partnership (e.g. Availability and willingness to dedicate equal time and workload commitment)
  • Differences in institutional cultures/support(e.g. Does modifying syllabus require approval from your academic leadership?)
  • Being flexible(e.g. Instead of finding an exact course, look for how the partner’s course can enrich your existing course)

Once you identify your COIL-VE partner, there are a number of factors to consider before  you start co-designing your COIL-VE courses with your partners.  

  • Course content/learning outcomes
  • Methods of assessment and evaluation
  • Decisions on the right technological tools for instruction, student sharing and activities
    • Group Work: Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Padlet, Wakelet, Lino, Miro, Harmoniz
    • Video Conferencing: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Facetime, WhatsApp
    • Learning Management Systems: Brightspace(D2L), MOODLE
  • Institutional cultures and support(e.g. teaching and learning, instructional design, IT, Registrar’s Office, Academic Department, International Office)
  • Duration of COIL-VE courses. (e.g. 5 weeks are usually recommended but can be flexible depending on the shared learning outcomes and the faculty needs).
  • Privacy Laws and how they will affect sharing (e.g. FIPPA, GDPR)
  • Differences in time zones.
  • Language differences
  • Differences in the academic calendar(e.g. Semester start/end date, exam date, national holidays)

Collaborating and completing a project with a team is a difficult task, but is more challenging when added factors such as geography, language, and culture.  Therefore it is important for the instructors to thoughtfully consider the types of activities that the groups will work on from the onset of the COIL-VE design stage. Developing a detailed module, lesson plans, and timelines with a clear evaluation rubric for COIL-VE courses including at least one cross-order collaborative assignment is recommended. Some of the key aspects when designing COIL-VE module include but are not limited to:

  • Define student learning goals
  • Determine the length of the interaction
  • Design comparative and collaborative activities
  • Select methodology and technology tools for collaboration
  • Monitor student work and learning
  • Methods of assessment

You can use some of the resources listed below as a starting place to meet the needs of your course.

COIL-VE modules are embedded into existing courses at two universities and form one part of each course. Depending on the learning outcomes, activities selected and alignment of academic calendars, successful COIL-VE modules are typically 5-12 weeks long. Following are some of the suggestions and recommendations on the COIL-VE delivery between the two instructors.

  • Start with a face-to-face meeting and throughout the COIL-VE weeks with some icebreaker activities(synchronous or asynchronous) to develop a sense of community before information exchange
  • Foster honesty and open communication throughout the COIL-VE courses incorporating respectful intercultural communication skills 
  • Test the technology ahead of scheduled time to ensure things are working the way they should be
  • Be prepared for the unexpected and be flexible to revise the COIL-VE plans, if necessary.

To assist you in evaluating your students on their intercultural knowledge and competence and the tools to reflect on the successes and challenges they have experienced after participating in COIL-VE will help improve your future COIL-VE course delivery and learning outcome. Providing a learning opportunity to critically reflect on lessons learned and experiences gained for students through COIL-VE is critical for student learning. Following are some of the resources on assessment and reflection:

Additional Resources

Below are resources that may be of use when incorporating COIL-VE into your courses.

Algoma University’s Experiential Learning and International Affairs Department is available to support you and provide guidance in the development of COIL-VE. This can include, but is not limited to: 

  • Advising on best practices when working with international partners and students abroad.
  • Consult on intercultural competencies, as they relate to your course.
  • Helping connect you to existing international partners in our network.
  • Provides support to faculty when developing  global learning experiences: Pedagogy, Experience, Assessment and Reflection.

Algoma University’s e-learning Hub is committed to assisting instructors/faculty in the design, development, and use of technology in the redesign of existing courses, as well as new course offerings.

Looking to Partner with Algoma University?

If you are interested in partnering with Algoma University to develop COIL-VE course, please submit the COIL-VE Faculty Profile Form below.

Faculty Profile Form