COIL courses introduce students and teachers to the world

from carolina Online Collaborative International Learning The program began in response to a global pandemic that halted international travel.

But after more than two years, COIL has grown into something much bigger and more impactful, forging educational partnerships around the world and diversifying the way Carolina students and teachers learn and teach. The Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs has continued to extend COIL’s support to Carolina faculty, and many are now taking their learning and collaboration outside of the classroom, sharing their experiences widely.

COIL’s growing success illustrates how the Office of the Vice Rector for Global Affairs is progressing Globalizethe seventh initiative of the University’s strategic plan, reinforcing the initiative’s second goal, the Global Guarantee, which promises that a global education is available to all Carolina students.

COIL is a flexible teaching approach in which faculty members from different countries virtually connect their courses, providing students with cross-cultural learning opportunities like case studies, artistic compositions and group projects. Fifty Carolina faculty have implemented this model since the Carolina COIL program launched in 2020. A growing number present national and international conferences and publish academic papers about their COIL teaching experiences.

With support from the new COIL Conference Award, Michael Meredith, Clinical Professor of Management and Business Communication at Kenan-Flagler Business School, will present at theAssociation for Business Communication conference in Naples, Italy in January. Meredith collaborated with Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary through BUSI 201, Business in Europe.

“The COIL course is a lot of work, but it was one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I’ve ever had,” says Meredith.“As a public institution, we need to help students with tools that spark success on this global stage for issues that can be huge in scale and enormous in scope. The goal of educating our students and raising the most pressing challenges of our time, that is the goal of Globalize.

“Promising that a global education is available to all students means investing in those who deliver education, our faculty,” said Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs. “When faculty engage with COIL, they diversify and strengthen global learning at Carolina and ultimately instill a global mindset throughout our campus.”

Each semester, the Office of the Vice-Rector invites professors to apply for a curriculum development award to implement COIL in an existing course. But Carolina’s COIL program is much more than an award, said Sharmila Udyavar, associate director for global education.

The office’s global education specialists conduct information sessions and workshops, curate a repository of COIL teaching resources for interested applicants, and even help faculty navigate the general education credit approval process. Once faculty members receive a Curriculum Development Fellowship, integrated structures and additional funds are available to support their professional development and even engage with their international peers in person.

Lisa Woodley, associate clinical professor at the UNC School of Nursing, is one of four COIL Faculty Fellows – Carolina professors who have taught COIL courses multiple semesters – and are available to consult with professors on their course development.

Woodley particularly appreciates how inclusive COIL is. “When I watched the COIL experiment, I thought, ‘Wow, this could be a cool experience for my students, and it could involveeachof them,” Woodley said.

Woodley has “COILed” NURS 483, Family-Centered Nursing from Birth to Adolescence, three times with partners at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and has reached over 300 Carolina pediatric nursing students. This course exemplifies one of Woodley’s primary goals: to provide more culturally appropriate nursing care.

Once faculty have received a COIL award three times, they are eligible for the COIL Champion award, which includes up to $1,500 for faculty to visit or host their COIL partners, or attend COIL-related conferences.

Woodley presented with Udyavar and his partner from the University of Sao Paulo at the American Association of Colleges & Universities’ 2022 Global Learning Annual Conference on “Transforming Global Learning Practice: Time for Change.” Additionally, an article by Woodley and others, Collaborative Online International Learning in Undergraduate Nursing Education: From Inspiration to Impact, is currently under review in the International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship.

“If you’re willing to take initiative, be creative, and think about where you could share your successes with this, there are a lot of doors that can potentially open,” Woodley said.

The diverse professional development opportunities and partnerships created by COIL further reinforce the Globalize Initiative’s second goal, the Global Guarantee, which strives to “diversify and strengthen global learning in the Carolina curriculum on campus.” and abroad, including through increased support for faculty to develop new, revised, globally-partnered and interdisciplinary global resources.

Maureen Baker, associate professor at UNC School of Nursing, is currently collaborating with a class at St. Luke’s International University in Tokyo, Japan, led by Erika Ota, professor of global scienceshealth nursing. It’s a repeat of a COIL class she taught in the fall of 2021.

Since joining Carolina’s COIL program, Baker has brought her expertise outside of the classroom. She presented COIL at the NC State Global Conference, and a manuscript on herThe COIL course has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Nursing Education. Through the COIL Pub Award, Baker will receive $500 from the Vice Provost’s Office for publishing an article related to his COIL teaching at Carolina.

Baker admits she was nervous when she received her first COIL program development award. “When I accepted, I said, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to teach a class with Japanese students? I don’t even know what their curriculum is like. But it worked. He showed me to take a chance. Never say no, check things out, do your best and see if it works. And it did.

In this occasional series on Carolina Next: Innovations for Public GoodThe Well examines how staff, faculty and students turn the words of the strategic plan into reality.

Learn more about COIL course opportunities and how to apply.

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