Center for International Education

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

COIL logo

Building upon Xavier's mission and commitment to education, diversity, inclusion, and serving others, XU COIL prepares students for a world of increasing diversity, complexity, and interdependency, by utilizing technology to connect students and faculty with their peers across the globe through collaborative projects and discussions as part of their coursework.

What is COIL?

Pioneered by SUNY, COIL brings diverse faculty and students together -- across culture, languages, border of time, place, and discipline -- to engage in intercultural dialogue and meaningful collaborations.  COIL enhances intercultural student interaction through proven approaches to meaningful online engagement.

COIL brings classrooms together, breaking international boundaries in the process. Together, instructors develop collaborative projects that students do in teams that navigate time zones, language differences, and geographical distance using online tools. COIL is an embedded aspect of each course, supporting student learning goals, giving both students and the instructors the opportunity to actively engage course concepts and new ideas, and – most importantly – exposing students to different cultural perspectives

What do COIL projects look like?

COIL projects can be incorporated into any model of course (online, in person, hybrid, accelerated). The length of the project can vary depending on the course materials. The projects can be embedded in courses covering complementary content or the same or similar content (e.g. common readings, assignments). The tasks are most often collaborative (project-based or team-based learning). A project may begin with online ice breaker activities followed by synchronous or asynchronous tasks and conclude with reflections.

Explore an Example COIL Collaboration: Students in 'Art of Japan' at the University of Alabama and Chiba University, Japan.

Why pursue COIL?

COIL is a powerful way to live the Xavier mission. Globalizing courses through COIL adds richness to instruction, scholarship, and service. We have had tremendous success with numerous COIL projects and partners from around the world!

COIL also brings a number of benefits to the participants in the projects, including:

  • Students working together to achieve a common goal,
  • Project-based learning mirrors real-world experiences,
  • Transformational and experiential learning,
  • Innovative Use of Technology links students,
  • Offers means of facilitating  cross-cultural collaborations,
  • Provides the basis for deep reflection,
  • Enhances the comparison perspectives,
  • Facilitates analysis of the impact of decisions and actions,
  • Develops digital literacy,
  • Interdisciplinary approach,
  • Increases global awareness,
  • Develops  intercultural competence,
  • Practices interpersonal skills,
  • Great flexibility, openness to differences, and 
  • Engages international partners


More on COIL

Past COIL Courses


*Funded by a Women of Excellence grant.