Spring campus scene with groups of students walking on campus.

COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) for Spanish Heritage Speakers

Developed by SUNY nearly two decades ago, COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) is a form of Virtual Exchange (much like an international virtual exchange program) with the goal of engaging students and professors to work collaboratively on projects and discussions while promoting international and intercultural experiences. For over a month, students in small groups (who met via Zoom, Whatsapp or Slack) have to investigate and develop a specific environmental issue (a topic the two courses had in common) and find a link between the U.S. and Mexico. The groups also had to initiate tentative solutions.

Why multiculturalism and interculturalism are so important

Nowadays, we live in a multicultural society. It is easy to find ourselves living in a community where we can identify several cultural groups, but do we really recognize and understand the differences between our cultures? Do we really engage and interact with others?

Here is where we start talking about interculturalism. It helps us to have a better understanding and respect for other cultures, and we are able to learn from one another and grow together.

COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) for Spanish Heritage Speakers

The department of SLTS offers this opportunity every semester to students in Spanish for Heritage Speaker courses (SPAN 135), taught by Prof. Antonella Calarota-Ninman (calarotaa@montclair.edu). This collaboration started in Fall 2021 with students and faculty of Tec Monterrey, in Mexico.

The successful completion of the COIL project in this course will grant each student a digital badge (add a picture of the badge)

Structure of the project

COIL project in SPAN 135 runs for 4 weeks during the semester and it is integrated in the program and topics of the course. It includes 3 segments:

  • An ICEBREAKER video posted in a Padlet (digital wall) – where students introduce themselves, start the communication and create teams.
  • A video/audio project developed by each team virtually with topics decided and planned by the two faculty parties. It is a project that will put students in Mexico and at MSU working together in a hands-on project through an investigation on the topic, development of an idea and executing it through a collective video or audio project. This segment welcomes the creativity, ideas, and methodology decided by each team.
  •  A Final reflexion video delivered in a Padlet, where students comment on the kind of experience and learning objective they achieved with this collaboration.

Students from both countries:

  • Make use of technology tools such as Padlets, Slack and Google tools to create and finalize the whole project
  • Learn not only about the specific topic they work on but also how to work in a team on a virtual and international project
  • Use Spanish as tool of communication and collaboration
  • Make new friends in another country

Past Projects

COIL Spring 2022


Photo of Rodrigo-Esparza-Parga

Dr. Rodrigo Esparza Parga

Photo of Ana-Georgina-Rivera-Ahumada

Prof. Ana Georgina Rivera Ahumada

Photo of María-de-la-Luz-Arroyo-Buruato

Prof. María de la Luz Arroyo Buruato

Example of other COIL projects around the US universities:

University of Minnesota Corning College