Embedding Collaborative Online International Learning In Undergraduate Courses
Several undergraduate management courses are adopting COIL into their curricula as they view it as an excellent opportunity for students to expand their horizons.
An upcoming and relatively untapped trend in education is Collaborative Online International Learning, more commonly called COIL. It involves the development and use of pedagogical activities with an approach to fostering an online student and faculty exchange. It links together the students and classrooms around the world through a co-taught multicultural and blended online course work. This initiative is bridging the physical distance between the students from various parts of the world. It is a technology that is blurring geographical boundaries and is on the path to make the world one big classroom. Others terms used to describe such an activity include virtual exchange, virtual mobility, globally networked learning, telecollaboration, and online intercultural exchange
Several undergraduate management courses are adopting COIL into their curricula as they view it as an excellent opportunity for students to expand their horizons. COIL provides global learning opportunities and an overall enriching experience that compels the participants to reflect upon their own history, language, culture and heritage. In the new normal, where travelling abroad for education raises uncertainties, COIL provides the scope for experiencing foriegn cultures and gaining international quality education while staying in India.
Few of the reasons why Collaborative Learning is an essential tool are:
1. Collective efforts: COIL brings together students and faculty that have had very little or no prior interaction. This is done with the aim of co-creating learning environments and studying together. It teaches both faculty and students to interact and team up with international peers and work together on the subject-specific task or activity at hand. The teaching and learning might be multi-disciplinary but with a common area of focus. While the teachers develop a shared syllabus, the students collaborate with international students to complete a designated project.
2. Global Citizens: COIL provides a platform for cross-border exchange of ideas, thoughts and cultures. It serves as a mechanism for internationalisation of education and also sows the seeds of international solidarity. Equipped with the knowledge of diverse cultures and global awareness, students learn to think differently and develop a global perspective towards the problem they are faced with or may face in the future. It gives rise to global citizens who are the need of the hour and leaders of the future.
3. Holistic Development: One of the highlights of Collaborative Online International Learning is that it advances the cross-cultural or intercultural competencies of the students. They learn to understand, accept and appreciate the differences of others. Interaction with people from different backgrounds and cultures also widens their perspective and instills a sense of humility in students. Virtual exchanges internationalise education standards and encourage students to push their limits. The program acts as a push for students to reflect upon themselves and stimulates critical thinking in them.
4. Digital Skill development: In a globalised world and in the new normal, the knowledge of digital skills has gained paramount importance. COIL, in its effort to reduce the geographical distance, leverages upon Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It involves digital collaboration and international interaction, both synchronous or asynchronous, which are a must-know for any professional today. COIL places a lot of importance on experiential learning through online media which has also proven to be of great importance especially during the pandemic.
Collaborative Online International Learning is a gateway into a different paradigm of education which traditional education does not provide. The sooner students are introduced to it, the greater a part it will play in shaping their future. It, therefore, becomes empirical that undergraduate courses embed it into their curricula.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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