News and Events

MCC- KATU Collaboration with COIL

COIL contributes to ongoing collaborations between Monroe Community College and Kazakh Agrotechnical University

From American Councils for International Education UNICEN blog:

Geospatial technologies are critical for Kazakhstan’s agricultural sector to become more efficient and globally integrated. Through the U.S.-Kazakhstan University Partnerships program, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan and administered by American Councils for International Education, Monroe Community College (MCC) and Kazakh Agrotechnical University (KATU) are using geospatial technologies to identify wheat disease in Kazakhstan.

KATU and MCC faculty launched their collaboration on scientific papers and joint presentations. Three geospatial information science and technology students from Monroe Community College completed virtual internships with Dr. Aigul Bekbayeva focused on identifying areas of stressed vegetation and wheat disease using remote sensing. MCC faculty visited Kazakhstan to collect data to verify remote sensing analysis.

In addition to student exchange and joint research, the partners are exploring setting up a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) virtual exchange program to connect Monroe Community College and Kazakh Agrotechnical University faculty and students to build scientific expertise

Image: Christina Lee, Laura Penman and Jonathan Little from MCC meet with visiting faculty from KATU

Global Guests

Kathleen McKenna  I studied law and international relations and am a professor of Criminal Law, Public Policy, and Effective Speaking.  I teach at SUNY Broome Community College in Binghamton, NY.  I am also the Coordinator of the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Program at SUNY Broome.

Teaching at the college and university level frequently happens independently, some would say in isolation from our peers.  While we typically interact with and support one another outside the classroom, teachers do not often visit one another’s classrooms, unless we are there to perform a formal teaching evaluation.  

On top of all of the other challenges of teaching online, we missed the interactions with and support of our peers.  In fact, 67 of us wanted something good to come from the additional challenge teachers and students around the world were facing during the pandemic.  We knew that the online teaching necessitated by the pandemic had the potential to eliminate many international borders with the click of a few keys, and to allow us to visit each other’s classes and to support one another around the world by dropping in virtually…like magic!

Here is some of what teachers had to say about the program:

The Global Guests program was the brainchild and product of the COIL and Teaching Centers of SUNY Broome, SUNY Monroe, SUNY Rockland, and the SUNY COIL Center.   We wanted to offer teachers the chance to grow from mutual support in spite of the challenges and frustrations of online teaching and learning. We wanted to offer teachers the opportunity to experience an international connection without adding a lot of time or stress to their already challenging days.  Teaching via teleconference gave us the opportunity to invite guests into our classrooms with no travel time or costs.  So, we helped teachers within SUNY’s global network form groups of 2-4 with the goal of simply visiting one another’s classes and sharing our joys, our frustrations, and our creative solutions in our virtual classrooms.

It was a very inclusive process.  We made an open invitation to SUNY member campuses and our global partners.  The invitation also spread by word of mouth.  There was open admission.  Teachers opted in voluntarily.  We made fairly random groupings.  Assignments were made without regard to academic discipline.   We had 67 participants.  They came from 20 colleges or universities, and 8 countries (Australia, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, US, and Venezuela).

 We modelled the program on the Teaching Squares program, which has been around in the US for 20-25 years.  Teaching Squares involves experiencing and savoring teaching and learning, generally on one’s own campus.  Its novelty lies in its simplicity–experiencing and processing together what is working in classrooms.  It does not involve formally evaluating one another.

All of the teachers involved met in a Zoom welcome session at the beginning of the program and once again as a large group to share our insights at the end of the program.  In between, the Global Guest participants visited one another’s virtual classrooms, sometimes simply observing and sometimes joining in the conversation.  They also met with one another to talk about their experiences.

That is where the magic happened.  Despite the pandemic, teachers connected with other teachers.  Somehow, the world got a little smaller, and teachers felt a little less isolated from their peers.  They realized they were not alone as teachers.  In fact, they realized they were part of a global community of change makers.

They got tips on technology.  They experienced the benefits of having a global partner in the room, despite what for some was an initial discomfort at the notion of being “observed” by a peer.  In some cases, when the teachers were observing a course taught in a language not their own, they got a sense of what an international student might experience in class.

The teachers realized they were modeling productive risk taking for their students.  Some teachers tried teaching in a language not their own.  Of course, they also kept an eye open for engaging teaching methods they might try in their own classes–like beginning class sessions with music selected by the students, or polling the students on how they were doing.

And the students grew too.  They were curious about who was visiting.  In some classrooms, the students surprised their teachers by the ways that they welcomed the Global Guests.  Other students stepped up and without missing a beat continued the conversation and assured the guest that their teacher, who had disappeared, simply  had a bad internet connection at home, but would be right back.

Being a Global Guest and welcoming a Global Guest was a small, but significant step toward preparing our students and ourselves for life in the 21st Century–an interconnected life,  a life where technology, cultural competency, and compassion can break barriers and build community.


See the full article here:

Join Us! Sustainability Literacy Webinar

Please join us in celebrating and promoting the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action & Awareness WeekMarch 1-5, 2021, coordinated by the University Global Coalition (UGC), the State University of New York (SUNY), and many additional higher education institutions from around the world!


The Signature Event

In the opening event of UGC Action & Awareness Week (March 1st at 12PM Eastern Time) Aurélien Decamps, co-founder of Sulitest and faculty at Kedge Business School, will present the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Sulitest Report for 2020 and the Sulitest International Test. During the week, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to respond to the SuliTest, a tool for assessing an individual’s SDG literacyfree of charge. Please register in advance of this presentation to secure your place: 

You can take the test during SDG Action and Awareness week.  Sign up at: Once you are registered, you can add this session code: 09B5-4423-FF13 (please copy and paste it under “Add Sessions”, without any space before or after).  We encourage you to share it widely with your students and colleagues. Preliminary results of the survey will be presented and discussed in a closing event on Friday, March 5.

About Sulitest:

Sulitest is an international organization devoted to promoting sustainability literacy, that is, the knowledge, skills and mindsets that allow individuals to become deeply committed to build a sustainable future and that help them to make informed and effective decisions to this end.



SDG Action and Awareness Week organizers have provided resources for students, faculty, and staff to learn about the SDGs and to assist in incorporating SDG-related concepts into their current course structure and projects in a flexible, online format. Visit the UGC website to view resources such as: a Student Action Toolkit; SDG AAW graphics to share on social media, email, etc.; A Guide for Teaching the SDGs; and more!

For more information on the week, please visit


Sustainable Development Goals Action and Awareness Week

March 1-5, 2021 marks the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Action & Awareness Week, coordinated by the University Global Coalition (UGC), the State University of New York (SUNY), and multiple higher education institutions from around the world. First adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ( are a roadmap to addressing the world’s most pressing challenges by 2030. The interconnected goals are a way for institutions to address sustainability holistically and with a people-first approach.


The event will provide resources for students, faculty, and staff to learn about the SDGs and to assist in incorporating SDG-related concepts into their current course structure and projects in a flexible, online format. The UGC also encourages higher education institutions to host their own SDG awareness-raising events during this week and open them to participants from around the world by submitting the details at Events can focus on a particular SDG or general SDG-related topics, and details should be submitted no later than February 22.

For more information on this event and to view available resources, visit

Exploring Marriage Across Cultures through COIL

Dr. Younus Mizra recently implemented a COIL Collaboration in his first year seminar Marriage and Sexuality in Islam.  He has written an excellent post on Shenandoah University’s news site describing the topics they explored, collaborative techniques, student learning, and reflections from his perspective as a professor.  An excerpt: 

The COIL experience made me re-realize the importance of peer interaction as an integral part of learning. Traditionally, the professor is the expert and dispenses knowledge to the university classroom. In the COIL model, the professor continues their expert role but now acts also as a facilitator guiding discussions and helping students think through their experiences. Furthermore, the peer-to-peer interaction led to more open discussions and information sharing than in a traditional classroom. While many professors are wonderful facilitators, they still are the experts and play an evaluative role that can be intimidating to the students.

Younus Mizra

Dr. Younus Mizra is Director of the Barzinji Project at Shenandoah University.  You can read his full blog post at

Photo from Dr. Mizra’s COIL Collaboration:

As our exchange continued, our key contact in Malaysia got engaged, leading to a fascinating discussion regarding engagements across cultures and religions. Here is a picture at her engagement ceremony.

New Year, New Website

Welcome to 2021! We at the SUNY COIL Center wish you all a healthy and happy new year. Our wish for a new, refreshed and more functional website has finally come true. We hope you will find this new site more engaging, more informative and easier to navigate. We welcome your feedback and your suggestions as we continue to develop this site. You can contact us anytime at Thank you for the work you do to enrich education with international collaborations with COIL!

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More tips and tricks are available to SUNY COIL Global Network members on our COIL Community Site. Not a member? Join us!

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