The agreement is intended to spur cooperation between the two universities through virtual classroom collaboration and faculty research.
The top administrators at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Eastern Samar State University in the Philippines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding intended to spur cooperation between the two universities through virtual classroom collaboration and faculty research.
UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin and Eastern Samar State University President Andre Pagatpatan, Jr., signed the agreement on March 8 in a virtual ceremony.
Eastern Samar State University is a public university located in the Eastern Samar province of the Philippines. Situated in a rural area next to beaches and rain forest, the state university is noted for strong agriculture, forestry, environmental science, tourism, and teacher training programs.
“The cooperation between our two schools is an important step in creating more global awareness and intercultural competency among students at both universities,” says Todd Shumway, UH Hilo’s director of global exchange, who attended the signing.
The virtual signing was held at a CyberCANOE classroom in Mookini Library. CyberCANOE (acronym for Cyber Enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment) classrooms are high-tech communication hubs that support advanced teaching, collaboration, and research among geographically dispersed people including students, faculty, researchers, and administrators.
Also representing UH Hilo at the signing were Todd Inouye, director of the College of Business and Economics; Bruce Mathews, dean of UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management; Kelly Moran, a local businessman who teaches finance at UH Hilo; and Caesar Hjerten, a UH Hilo alumni from Sweden who previously worked with Moran as a student assistant.
Also representing Eastern Samar State University at the signing were Lito Lacaba, vice president for research and extension; Marina Apilado, vice president for quality assurance and external affairs; and Marijun Leonor Obon, director for internationalization programs.
COIL: Collaborative Online International Learning
The online collaboration between UH Hilo and Eastern Samar State University is an example of Collaborative Online International Learning, commonly called COIL, a movement to increase virtual classroom interaction between students and faculty of partner universities in different countries.
Currently, faculty and students from UH Hilo and Eastern Samar State University are working together in a COIL finance class taught by Moran through the CyberCANOE classroom in UH Hilo’s Mookini Library. Moran’s former assistant Hjerten has participated in previous COIL classes and he spoke briefly at the signing ceremony about using COIL in the classroom.
UH Hilo’s COIL website describes the program as “connecting accredited courses, linking the classrooms of two or more higher education institutions, each located in a different country or cultural setting. The COIL model creates equitable team-taught learning environments where faculty from two cultures work together to develop a shared project or syllabus emphasizing experiential and collaborative student learning. The courses give new contextual meaning to the ideas and texts they explore, while providing students new venues in which to develop their cross-cultural awareness.”
Shumway says through the use of existing, widely available technology, students from different universities can work together on collaborative projects and explore common areas of interest from different perspectives.
“This agreement will hopefully lead to more classroom collaboration between the two universities,” he says.
Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.