Unfolding Collaborative Online International Learning Didactics (UCOILD)

Read the project description here: Link to pdf


Project description
The rationale of the project UCOILD “Unfolding Collaborative Online International Learning Didactics” is a current global paradox related to maintaining international openness and exchange in HEI’s in accordance with the Bologna Process. During the past years HEI’s have experienced how Covid-19, carbon footprint reduction initiatives and challenges towards a more inclusive approach to internationalisation – have questioned the use of mobility as a key instrument for internationalisation. On the one hand HEIs therefore face the risk of transforming into isolated units. On the other hand, the pandemic – and calls for sustainability and inclusion have forced HEI’s to also focus on virtual international exchange that has been identified as a promising instrument intersecting internationalisation and digital technology (Hauck 2019), thereby providing HEI’s with possibilities for sustaining facilitation of international competences and interconnectedness.
The UCOILD project addresses the need for further investigations of the potential of virtual exchange to sustain internationalisation in times of crisis and beyond, working towards resetting education and training for a more digital, sustainable, and inclusive age. To do so, the UCOILD project focuses on Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) as a form of virtual exchange that is intended to be integrated into the curriculum, while also developing digital and intercultural competences (Villar-Onrubia & Rajpal 2015), and therefore requires lecturers to possess strong didactical tools if the multiple learning ambitions are to be facilitated simultaneously. Nevertheless, there is scant evidence that the educational potential of COIL projects is being fully exploited: Though the topic has rarely been examined, a systematic review (Çiftçi 2016) suggests that the majority of virtual exchange projects have had a primary focus on developing a specific subject area with little or only superficial attention to intercultural learning, indicating a lack of knowledge, experience, or a mistaken understanding of such a capability automatically unfolding when students meet virtually and internationally. Although underexplored, similar challenges might be the case for digital learning within the early childhood education area as studies here indicate lack of implementation of learning paths (Romero-Tena et al. 2020). And despite the inclusive design as virtual exchanges can be offered to all students on campus and not just students capable of going abroad, implementation is difficult: Within faculties of education in Europe an international study reveals that hardly any virtual exchange courses have been developed (DAAD 2020). The structural and political barriers for implementation of COIL projects are already addressed though. Therefore, the UCOILD cooperation partnership will focus on the crucial facilitation of learning by lecturers. It will provide innovative didactical solutions by investigating how to unfold virtual international learning environments through student centered, experiential, inclusive and reflective didactics to foster intercultural and digital competences as part of the curriculum.
The objectives of the UCOILD project are:
1)To meet the need for strengthening intercultural and digital competences within the Early Childhood and Care profession by:
2) exploring inclusive, student-centered, experiential, and reflective didactics within COIL projects with students as co-developers and co-facilitators to support didactical innovation processes
3) translating the didactical innovations into a COIL toolkit, hereby supporting lecturers’ capacity to facilitate quality COIL projects
4) contributing to quality COIL projects as an inclusive instrument for international, digital learning environments by producing a COIL curriculum design for local implementation of the participating partners, as well as submitting a scientific paper on the exploration and implementation of the UCOILD project.

For more information – please contact:

The project group in Copenhagen



Categories: Coil, projects - fellow organizations

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