International Student Services

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

What is COIL?

Collaborative online international learning (COIL) is an emerging way to expand opportunities for global learning and intercultural experiences to a greater number of students through virtual and non-virtual methods. COIL has been adopted by many universities in the US and worldwide, using technology and collaborative partnerships to bridge learning and teaching internationally. UH Hilo's COIL Network enables faculty members to develop meaningful collaborative projects for their classroom with various institutions from around the world. Access to such a cultural exchange increases both the faculty members’ and students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them and helps them to empathize with other people’s perspectives. The COIL project is embedded within the curriculum, therefore students can participate without incurring additional cost or workload.

COIL Project Format

COIL projects can take three formats: face-to-face, online, or hybrid. Meetings between student groups can take place through video conferencing, skype, or any other tool the faculty and students agree upon. The UH Hilo faculty member will work with a faculty member from another institution to develop the project for the class. The project normally runs from 3 to 8 weeks within a standard term. Students will be paired with intercultural teammates to work on a specific goal-oriented project. Under the leadership of the faculty, team members will work together to accomplish the goals of their project. This process allows students the opportunity to build intercultural skills and develop lifelong friendships.

Benefits of COIL for Participants

Over the past half-century, internationalization has become a stated goal of many higher education institutions around the world. Part of the mission of UH Hilo is to improve the quality of life of the people of Hawaiʻi, the Pacific region and the world, and to learn from many sources (ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi, meaning one learns from many sources). COIL projects address that goal by creating international connections for students, enabling them to develop intercultural awareness and competence and learn from other cultures and perspectives. Students who participate will:

  • Be exposed to different cultural perspectives and become more empathetic and flexible
  • Discover effective global citizenship and employment proficiencies
  • Develop intercultural teamwork and critical thinking skill.

Culture is learned, not inherited, therefore, it becomes the context for a COIL learning experiences. Culture is simply a set of common events, values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors for any particular group of individuals. Experiencing and interacting with people from different cultures opens minds and helps students discover varying perspectives within our global community. Participating in COIL motivates many students to continue their growth by traveling and engaging with people and places they never knew existed prior to the experience. The overall experience can open doors and provide challenges and opportunities for students which they could only learn about through their international partners.

Current UH Hilo COIL Classes

Please contact the Center for Global Education and Exchange for more information.

Find a UH Hilo Partner

The Center for Global Education and Exchange has more information about this process on their How to Locate COIL Partners page.