Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

In a COIL project, an instructor from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) works with a partner instructor at another institution teaching a similar course and class size. Together, the instructors design a course-based project or experience of approximately one month for their students to collaborate upon. They might also develop other shared activities to do together/separately depending on their respective semester timelines. Students collaborate via web-based tools approved by either institution to complete a collaborative task. The timeline of work and depth of work is proposed by the instructors and can be supported as necessary (icebreakers, mandated timelines and products, reports from groups, check-in meetings with supervisors/TAs, explicit intercultural competence development, etc.). Ideally, students would share/present their work to each other in a presentation or using an asynchronous sharing platform for peer feedback and would also reflect on their experience through a wraparound or survey.

Please click here to get a personal COIL consult. 


COIL offers the opportunity to connect with existing partner institutions – both with research and teaching & learning partnerships. It can align with any undergraduate or graduate course where there is interest from instructors. Because instructors rarely teach exactly the same course, there is a degree of interdisciplinary awareness that arises from COIL initiatives. Students work collaboratively, developing interpersonal and intercultural competencies. When students work across difference (cultural, social, regional, gendered, sexual, other), their own perspectives and worldviews are questioned and reframed, leading to intellectual humility.

Particularly in a time of pandemic and with limitations on study abroad, COIL offers the opportunity for students to see and experience internationalization. COIL can also engage a greater number of students to internationalization than study abroad or teach abroad initiatives as it targets entire classes from a large spectrum of disciplines, instead of individual or small groups of students who may already have had an interest in pursuing foreign travel. COIL accomplishes internationalization at home by engaging students in a process of exploration and reflection on their own positionality and helps them form new perspectives by working across difference.

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Video on COIL from Center for Educational Innovation – University of Minnesota

Handbook with helpful checklists for instructors 

Workbook to guide conversations with teaching partners

Resources for Facilitating Global Learning Online

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