Getting Started

If you are considering incorporating COIL in your teaching, there are a few things you will want to consider as you get started. There are a lot of details to sort out that will be specific to each COIL partnership, but some basic issues are common to all COIL courses.

Will COIL work with my course?

The short answer is almost always yes – COIL is a pedagogical strategy rather than a prescription, and can be adapted to most courses in all colleges and departments on campus. The only requisites are an international partner and at least one assignment that requires student collaboration.

COIL courses can be fully integrated with a course at another institution for an entire semester, but sometimes simple, one-time collaborations prove to be the most rewarding COIL experiences.

If you are an instructor, the main question you should ask yourself is: Would students in my course benefit from learning about the perspective of students abroad on any aspect of my course? If the answer is yes, then COIL can work for your course.

Incorporating COIL does entail a significant degree of planning and preparation, however, and we recommend that you plan all COIL activities at least one semester prior to implementation.

Finding a Partner

Once you decide that you would like to incorporate COIL, the next main step is identifying a partner instructor at a university or college abroad.

Be sure to partner with an instructor who will be teaching a related course in the same semester that you will be teaching.

If you are thinking of an assignment that requires synchronous attendance or collaboration (i.e., a video chat between students), keep in mind the time difference between Long Beach and your partner’s location. With large time differences, asynchronous options are usually best.

If you are interested in incorporating COIL but do not have any connections abroad that will work for your courses, please contact us and we will do our best to help connect you.

Planning the Course

After you and your instructional partner have agreed to work together, you will need to plan your course and the COIL assignments.

You will find guides, a workbook, videos, and more in the Resources section of our site, and we recommend that you work carefully through these – especially if this is your first time incorporating COIL into your courses.

The nature, timing, and length of any given component or assignment will be up to you and your instructional partner.

In general, we recommend that you plan on at least three components, each of which should include at least one assignment:

  • Introductions and practice exchange
  • Collaborative Assignment(s)
  • Reflection

Normally, this means that you should plan for the equivalent of at least three class sessions to effectively implement COIL in your course.