Higher education—and liberal education, in particular—plays a critical role in preparing students to understand, proactively engage in, and work collaboratively to solve global issues and problems of importance at local, national, and international levels after graduation. This includes preparing students for global citizenship and for careers by ensuring they have the opportunities, through in-person or virtual learning experiences, to cooperate with peers of different nationalities and cultures.
Virtual exchange (VE), including one of its most comprehensive forms, collaborative online international learning (COIL), provides students with affordable opportunities to gain global competencies within their coursework wherever they are. It links together students and classrooms around the world through co-taught multicultural and blended online course work, bridging the physical distance between students through technological means.
VE/COIL experiences, co-designed by educators and supported by committed institutions, provide specific preparation and training for student learners to develop crucial skills, such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective oral and written communication skills, diverse and global perspectives, and teamwork skills needed to be employable and successful in their careers. VE/COIL also provides increased opportunities for interdisciplinary innovation and global collaboration between faculty and staff on digital teaching, research, and service-learning strategies for modern learners.
Integrated into collaborative projects with global experts and partners, AAC&U’s VE/COIL Institute helps higher education institutions
- transform to deliver forward-thinking capabilities like VE/COIL at scale;
- increase investment and support for cutting-edge global education strategies;
- strengthen their global partnerships and networks;
- and ensure equitable access to digital forms of global learning.
Who Should Participate
Institutions interested in applying for participation in a project or institute (see below for current opportunities) are encouraged to consider a diverse range of possible team members who represent important stakeholders for scaling and sustaining VE/COIL programs. Participating institutions will be required to establish the following designated roles:
- One teaching faculty/professor/instructor to codesign, co-implement, and evaluate the VE/COIL curriculum with an international faculty/professor/instructor partner
- One instructional designer, COIL coordinator, or similar individual who will provide pedagogical support to instructors and help determine and implement appropriate technologies for the partnership’s instructional needs and envisioned student tasks
- One international education administrator or similar individual who will support the proposed faculty partnership as well as develop a framework for introducing and scaling VE/COIL at the institutional level by seeking opportunities, building global partnerships, advising students, and helping faculty and academic departments foster the integration of VE/COIL into curricula and educational structures
- (Optional) An additional international education administrator or other administrator who will support the proposed partnership and/or VE/COIL at the institutional level