Information about COIL

How do I plan a COIL course?

When planning, it is important to note that a COIL project is ideally divided into the following four phases.

In phase 1, you need an idea and a partner from a foreign university who is also interested in COIL. Then, in phase 2, the teachers jointly design their COIL project by defining the framework and goals of the project work and cooperation. In phase 3, the students take part in the COIL course, which is made up of various modules. At the end of the COIL course, a summary of the cooperation is drawn up in phase 4. Further information can be found under the individual phases.

What are the benefits of COIL?

COIL and Virtual Exchange formats benefit the faculties and teachers as well as the students in equal measure. For teaching, the following reasons speak for the development of COIL projects:

  • Development of new partnerships abroad
  • Internationalisation of teaching and research
  • Integration of a larger number of students into an international environment
  • Own professional and academic development
  • Interdisciplinary approaches

The benefits for students taking COIL courses can be summarised as follows:

  • Development of linguistic, digital and intercultural competences
  • New perspectives on the subject of study
  • Experience for working in virtual and international teams
  • Making friends and new contacts
  • Advantage when looking for a job and in the working environment

Through COIL formats integrated into the curriculum, students benefit from these advantages without having to spend more study time and organise or finance anything themselves.

What is the difference between COIL and Virtual Exchange?

A Virtual Exchange can be realised with the help of different approaches. Collaborative Online International Learning is a special Virtual Exchange format. An important characteristic of COIL courses is the shared syllabus developed jointly by the teachers.

Consequently, the sequence of a COIL course usually follows the outlined scheme above in order to achieve the learning objectives defined in the syllabus. COIL combines important elements of other Virtual Exchange formats, but the focus is neither purely on language skills nor on course content. Instead, through joint collaboration, professional, linguistic and intercultural competences can be taught and applied simultaneously.

Do you have questions about COIL and Virtual Exchange and would like to learn more?

Please write to:

You are also welcome to share your experiences with virtual, international teaching and learning formats with us.