UH Hilo students take online finance class with classmates located in Asia and North America

The classes are taught through an online method where students located in different countries learn together through a virtual yet interactive structure.

Red-roofed UH Hilo College of Business and Economics, covered walkway into the entrance.
College of Business and Economics, UH Hilo.
Kelly Moran
Kelly Moran

Students at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are learning about finance in online classes that connect them to other business students and professors in Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Myanmar, Canada, and Indonesia. The classes are taught by Kelly Moran, a local realtor and finance lecturer at UH Hilo, using a teaching method called COIL or Collaborative Online International Learning, where students learn through a virtual yet interactive structure.

“The students are very excited about becoming global citizens,” Moran says. “This is a great opportunity for creative thinking and intercultural understanding. I expect students to be able to use skills coming out of this COIL collaboration to facilitate career paths and create lifelong connections. This is a global business environment we are in and those are the skills needed to prosper.”

The methodology was pioneered at State University of New York and Kansai University of Japan and introduced to UH Hilo by Director of International Student Services Jim Mellon, and later taken on by Todd Shumway, director of global exchange at UH Hilo.

This semester’s three-way COIL partnership among UH Hilo, Kansai University, and San Pedro College in the Philippines, involves a total of 98 students and five faculty members participating. There are 12 COIL teams, of which three are led by UH Hilo students. Three UH Hilo finance classes are participating.

“I loved talking with others from a different place,” says business student Alyah Cortez, noting that students around the world are all dealing with COVID-19 and the challenge of switching to online learning. “I found it very interesting that they are required to be in clubs at the university so that they can make friends and build up their resume. I would want UH Hilo to do that as well.” Now that she’s made connections online, Cortez says she feels comfortable with the idea of one day meeting up with her network.

As a student of linguistics and a two-time study abroad alumnus, Jake Unger was pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to collaborate with international students in his finance class. He says his study abroad experiences in Spain and Brazil enhance the COIL experience. “I would not have truly appreciated what this finance class is doing if it wasn’t for my personal intercultural exchange.”

Student Dason Alnao says when he registered for the personal finance class this semester, he expected to mainly learn about finance basics. “But I didn’t know that I’d also be improving my networking skills thanks to COIL.”


Story from the College of Business and Economics news blog.

This post was updated on Oct. 27, 2020, to clarify the methodology was introduced to UH Hilo by Jim Mellon.