Skip to content

Creating Virtual Global Experiences Through COIL

 Global learning and engagement are soaring to new heights at Humber with the launch of the Humber Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Framework!  


February 25, 2021

In March 2021, Humber is releasing its first COIL framework, which aims to formalize and unify the approach taken across the institution, add resources to support the COIL lifecycle, and invite creative proposals for COIL initiatives.  


COIL Launch Connects Students Worldwide

COIL is a dynamic form of virtual exchange that connects students with peers around the world. With COIL, faculty or staff co-create an experiential learning project or module with a faculty or staff “match” from a partner institution in another country.  

The resulting collaborative and student-centred project or module may be: 

  • Embedded within a pre-existing course at both institutions (ex. as a shared assignment or capstone project);
  • Run outside of the classroom in the form of an applied research initiative (ex. supported by Humber’s Centres of Innovation Network or Applied Research and Innovation);
  • Designed as a work-integrated learning (WIL) experience overseen by a community partner.


Resources Aplenty for Faculty and Staff

Organizing a COIL initiative at Humber is a collaborative and supportive process. Faculty and staff looking to initiate a COIL project will have several resources available to develop their initiatives. This includes: 

  • An annual call for proposals, with supporting guidelines;
  • Assistance in matching with an international partner through Humber’s global academic partner network;
  • Tailored resources and workshops for COIL leaders to guide the COIL collaboration process; 
  • Collaborative workshops for students on intercultural learning, virtual teamwork, and articulating their skill development for potential employers;
  • Funding and resources through Humber’s Teaching Innovation Fund to conduct Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research on COIL initiative;
  • Guidance for post-COIL evaluation and feedback to gather results of the experience for future research or promotion.

COIL initiatives are a flexible way to meet the mutual aims of partners. They can differ in length and format – from projects lasting only a few weeks to initiatives lasting throughout a whole semester – and can be a blend of synchronous and asynchronous activity.  


Participants Develop and Hone 21st Century Skills

At the heart of any COIL initiative is a focus on intercultural learning and development. By working virtually across borders, students develop and apply any number of the essential 21st-century skills articulated in the Humber Learning Outcomes (HLO) framework and gain a deeper understanding of their discipline through multiple perspectives. 


“Taking part in COIL initiatives allow students to develop greater competence and confidence in navigating online learning environments from a global perspective,” said Christina Alcena, Manager, Equity & Student Life. “This can be invaluable for students to develop new strategies for staying connected and networking across virtual borders. COIL enables students to purposefully develop key soft skills such as empathy, creative thinking, communication, emotional intelligence, and intercultural competencies through a lens rooted in equity, diversity and inclusion.” 


In turn, faculty and staff COIL leaders expand their professional network and portfolio. According to Michelle Souilliere, PC, Faculty of Business, “…Collaborating with my international partner expanded and enriched my perspective on topics that I teach at Humber and provided fresh inspiration and motivation to change how I approach them. It also allowed me to explore a subject-matter topic in more depth with my colleague and learn from their research.” Additionally, COIL initiatives align with Humber’s Internationalization Strategy by connecting its community members and partners to worldwide learning and international mobility opportunities among other opportunities. 


“COIL has quickly become the standard for international teaching and learning partnerships, creating accessible paths to global learning and engagement for faculty and students at their home campuses,” said Rebecca Fitzgerald, Associate Director, International Mobility and Strategic Partnerships. “Humber’s COIL Framework encourages and supports new COIL initiatives that will transform the student experience at Humber, broadening networks and deepening understanding global interconnectedness.” 


Humber Students working remotely on COIL projects in collaboration with their global peers