Introducing virtual international collaboration to undergraduate courses

Authors: Janet Puhalla*, SUNY Plattsburgh
Topics: Geography Education, Cultural Geography, Latin America
Keywords: experiential learning, international, online
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: 8210, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The idea of providing students experiential learning experiences is a goal of many undergraduate programs in the United States. Including a field study in a course is not always possible and participating in a study away is often not feasible for many students. Another option is to bring intercultural exchange to a course via internet tools, organized classroom exercises, and synchronous and asynchronous communication. The State University of New York operates a system-wide Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program, also referred to as globally networked learning and virtual exchange, a teaching and learning paradigm that promotes the development of intercultural competence across shared multicultural learning environments. I created a COIL module on globalization and the global economy and included it in two of my general education courses as a virtual cultural exchange with student from the University of Huejotgzingo (UTH) in Puebla State, Mexico. My students worked in teams using social media and internet based tools to collaborate with their partners at UTH over a 6 week period to create a presentation on their role in the global clothing industry, the differences economic development levels among the countries where their garments were produced, and the environmental impact of the clothing industry. In my presentation I will discuss the development of the COIL module, the assignments and strategies used to help students make connections with their Mexican peers, students' evaluation of the module and virtual collaboration, and my reflection on using COIL as means for experiential learning.

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