This pilot face-to-face workshop took place in June 2016 at Al-Kafaat University in Lebanon, and offered the opportunity for professors to develop their COIL-enhanced course modules, and form relationships. Before meeting in Beirut, all participants completed the COIL Information Gathering Tables, a critical piece of the COIL Center's professional development program. The workshop was immediately followed by the online COIL Academy where participants complete the development of their COIL-enhanced module syllabus. Facilitated by COIL Center staff, professors engage in online collaborative activities as they learn about COIL teaching and learning and design the COIL-enhanced module that students will undertake in their classes. This Academy took place throughout June and July, and was facilitated by COIL Professional Development Lead, Sarah Guth and Stevens Project Coordinator, Allison Church.
For more information on this workshop, and the professors, see the June 2016 Beirut Workshop Newsletter below.
The professors in the second cohort of the COIL Stevens Initiative were nominated based on faculty interest, experience in their field, flexibility, and their willingness and ability to design innovative blended courses. This cohort attended a workshop in November 2016 at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop provided professors with critical training and guidance so that they can design and teach their COIL-enhanced modules. During this intensive 4-day training, professors and their partners constructed student learning objectives that incorporate cross-cultural learning. Additionally, they designed project-based student activities that emphasize the course subject matter and intercultural learning. After the workshop, SUNY professors were then able to visit their MENA partner's campuses in Egypt, Lebanon, and Morocco.
For more information on this workshop, and the professors, see the November 2016 Cairo Workshop Newsletter below.
SUNY COIL Stevens Initiative Assessment
In March 2016, the SUNY COIL Center was awarded a Stevens Initiative Grant in to further partnerships and exchange between SUNY schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.
The 21-month long grant was organized into 3 cohorts of SUNY and MENA professors working together to develop and implement COIL projects. Each cohort participated in a professional development course involving online (the Academy) and in person (Workshop at one of the MENA institutions) components during the COIL project development stage. A COIL Assessment Model was developed to pilot with the second cohort implementing COIL projects in the spring semester 2017.
The model was based on sets of reflective questions for students to answer before, during and at the end of their COIL experience. While the general aims of the Stevens Initiative are to develop young people’s global competence skills, which are seen to include collaboration, communication, foreign language proficiency, awareness of diverse perspectives, and civic and global engagement, the COIL model is based on shared objectives that are negotiated between partner teachers. In their shared learning outcomes (SLOs), each of the COIL teams interpreted and appropriated the Stevens’ aims in ways that they felt best suited their specific partnerships and teaching and learning contexts. The primary aim of this pilot study was to explore what the answers to the reflective questions can tell us about the students’ COIL experience. We were interested in exploring the following aspects:
- common themes which emerge in student reflections across the diversity of courses as regards general perceptions of learning;
- the attitudinal component of intercultural competence that we define as intercultural awareness (ICA), which can range from the simple recognition of the existence of diverse perspectives to a deeper level of awareness which entails engagement with and exploration of assumptions and beliefs behind diverse perspectives (including one’s own);
- the affective component of COIL, i.e. the positive and negative emotions and feelings that were generated by this experience;
- insights into the process of developing ICA by exploring change over time as regards students’ cognition, engagement with difference through the COIL experience and the affective process.
The report begins with a short description of the context of data collection, the data gathering process and the mixed methods approach adopted for the analysis. The analysis first presents findings from the pre-COIL data as regards students’ reflections on their cultural backgrounds and their expectations. Then, considering data from all three assessments, the analysis focuses on change over time based on different variables derived from a quantitative content analysis and what students say they learned from the COIL experiences, the challenges they faced and what evidence there is of the development of intercultural awareness. The report ends with recommendations for ways to improve COIL exchanges and suggestions for changes to the assessment protocol for the third cohort of the COIL Stevens Initiative.