While professors around the world have been exploring COIL-like methods for at least 20 years, until recently few institutions supported or integrated the practice. Teachers who developed these international exchanges were “pirates” innovating outside of their institutions’ “navy” structures. These pirates often created inspired teaching partnerships, but their iconoclastic approach is not scalable nor sustainable, as each pirate eventually sails on.  

However, over the past few years, more academic institutions have prioritized international experiences for their students and academics, while struggling to expand physical mobility programs which reach fewer than 10% of their students. This dissonance between aspiration and outcomes increased interest and uptake of innovative and more accessible internationalization formats such as COIL.  

But because only a few institutions have mounted integrated COIL programs, there have been few models to replicate. This left many newer COILing institutions seeking to invent new infrastructures that could weave together academics, technology and international programs.

In response to this need, the article “Embedding Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) at Higher Education Institutions” by Jon Rubin (www.handbook-internationalisation.com) was published in in the journal: Internationalization of Higher Education, 2 (2017), curated by the International Association of Universities (IAU). It includes historical framing, case-studies of colleges and universities which have initiated integrated COIL programs and a brief history of the seminal SUNY COIL Center.

The mission of COIL Consulting and the purpose of this article is to document, share, and promote institutional strategies to embed COIL, thereby providing guidance for other institutions seeking to undertake similar initiatives. To support this goal we are developing additional case studies.

Embedding COIL