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The Value of COIL in the Faculty of Business

COIL is gaining in popularity at Humber, and the Faculty of Business is playing an active role.

What is COIL? The acronym stands for Collaborative Online International Learning. This teaching and learning methodology was founded by a professor from the State University of New York (SUNY) as a faculty-led initiative.

Several of the Business Faculty have either co-developed or actively participated in COIL projects with Humber’s international academic partners. Most recently, four faculty participated as Faculty Advisors in the 2020 Charrette hosted by KEA Copenhagen School of Design and Technology in October. Students from institutions around the world worked in multidisciplinary teams to address the needs of a Copenhagen business or nonprofit organization.

Each team was guided by faculty volunteers made up of professors from KEA’s partners including Humber. Event Management Professor and Program Coordinator, Colin Bartley, as well as Marketing Professor, Steven Lorini, agreed that it is not only students who benefit from COIL projects. Participating in COIL initiatives enable faculty to learn new perspectives and tools that can be used in the classroom to benefit even more students. Professor of Paralegal Studies and International Developments, Jasteena Dhillon, stated, “As an advisor, this experience stretches you. You need to figure out how your skill sets and knowledge can make a contribution. It pulls you out of your comfort zone.”  

Many students around the world took advantage of this unique learning opportunity, and faculty advisors observed high levels of motivation and engagement. Event Management student Jamila Roberston greatly valued participating in the COIL project. In an interview, she highlighted the skills she further developed during the five-day project such as interpersonal communication skills, time management, and the ability to identify and articulate her strengths within a team environment with a sense of urgency. What she valued most was collaborating with a diverse team of students and advisors as each one brought a different perspective to the table. Jamila stated, “We need to get more students involved. It was great being in the comfort of your own home and gaining new skills all while having an international experience.”  

COIL initiatives are affordable international experiences that all students can participate in for either academic or co-curricular credit. COIL is a great way to further internationalize the curriculum and can enhance academic programs. Fashion Management Program Coordinator, Rossie Kadiyska, has co-designed and participated in several COIL initiatives and highlights that participating as a Faculty Advisor in the KEA 2020 Charrette was “useful to establish faculty connections with a new institution.” Rossie hopes “this will lead to another COIL or applied research project” for the Fashion Management program.  

Presently, there are a few COIL initiatives under development at the Faculty of Business for Winter 2021. Cheryl Mitchell, Rossie Kadiyska, and Michelle Souillere are collaborating with higher education institutions in Europe and the U.K. The Placement Centre is also exploring COIL initiatives for virtual work-integrated learning opportunities as a way to support our students who have upcoming work placements.

For faculty interested in designing or participating in a COIL project for a course, there is a lot of support at Humber. The International Office has developed a COIL Framework as a development guide and will soon be launching Humber’s new COIL website.

Keep a watch out for a COIL Community of Practice in the near future.

COIL group photo over Zoom

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