COIL at LaGuardia: Faculty Guide
Prepared by Dr. Olga Aksakalova, COIL Coordinator
Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is a global learning initiative at LaGuardia Community College. Modeled after SUNY COIL, it is a teaching method that facilitates students’ global awareness, cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication through interactive online practices. COIL faculty in any discipline can connect their courses with courses abroad using digital tools, such as video chat and web blogs.
Scholar of global learning Doreen Starke-Meyerring emphasizes the importance of facilitating “mutual inquiry and collaboration in globally networked learning environments (GNLEs), that is, learning environments that rest on robust partnerships extending across institutional, linguistic, national, or other boundaries in order to facilitate faculty and student participation in the shaping of an emerging global social and economic order” (Starke-Meyerring 2015). At LaGuardia we seek to develop this participatory and interactive stance toward global learning among students and educators.
Specifically, our internationally oriented and interactive pedagogies aim to fulfill LaGuardia’s three Global Learningobjectives (1) understanding global issues and events, (2) communicating knowledge in global contexts, and (3) ethical engagement and global self-awareness. Students’ understanding of global issues and events can be significantly deeper if it stems from the dialogue with international peers and teachers, not only from reading and constructing texts. In the process, they can become active agents in constructing and construing a global culture, rather than merely consuming it.
The project provides students with the opportunity to ask questions, challenge assumptions, both their own and those of their peers at LaGuardia and abroad. This active form of global learning can help them develop skills necessary to “communicate across difference” effectively (LaGuardia Global Learning Rubric). Furthermore, in a COIL classroom students can expand their understanding of and engagement with global ethics because their course materials are not limited to U.S. representations of global issues; it also provides international perspectives on those issues. As a result, students develop what Mirjam Hauck calls “epistemological humility” and gain a fuller understanding of themselves as global citizens.
In addition, because a COIL classroom fully depends on educational technology, students can have multiple opportunities to deepen their digital literacy. Building on LaGuardia’s successful implementation of the Visible Knowledge Project through ePortfolio, we want to enable students to introduce global pages to their portfolios. While our actual practices with international colleagues and students might rely on various digital platforms, such as wikis, blogs, Zoom, Slack, and Skype, we can guide students to incorporate their global work in their LaGuardia’s ePortfolios. These global pages of student ePortfolios will illustrate to their future professional audience that they are prepared to compete in the globalizing workplace.