COIL as a new learning paradigm

A short video explaining what Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is and how it engages students in powerful global learning, see

Image of between Partner and You

This wording is quoted verbatim but selectively from Jon Rubin’s piece.

“COIL is not a technology or a technology platform but rather a new teaching and learning paradigm that develops cross-cultural awareness across shared multicultural learning environments. It was developed in recognition of the limitations of traditional online approaches:

“A characteristic of online courses was that although they allowed for the enrollment of students from around the world, they were structured to disseminate knowledge only in one direction and were rarely designed to promote intercultural learning or exchange between students with different cultural or national backgrounds.

“Unlike online distance courses provided by one higher education institution to students nearby or around the world, COIL is based upon developing team-taught learning environments where teachers from two cultures work together to develop a shared syllabus, emphasising experiential and collaborative student learning. The courses give new contextual meaning to the ideas and texts they explore, while providing students new venues in which to develop their cross-cultural awareness. Classes may be fully online or, much more often, are offered in blended formats with traditional face-to-face sessions taking place at both institutions, while collaborative student work takes place online.

“COIL has become a truly networked model of higher education. It cannot exist on a single campus but requires integration and dialogue between institutions in different countries with varied educational mandates and structures, different academic calendars and teaching styles, and which reside in a wide range of time zones…. So, engaging in the deep intercultural re-examination of why and how each class does what it does, can be a potentially radical and revealing intervention for students, instructors and staff.”

Why exploring COIL is timely for Gallaudet

  • Increasing demand by students for “global learning” experiences, especially learning other “Deaf Ways” around the world, as seen in surge in study abroad participants. 
  • Gallaudet students' socioeconomic situations are often the largest barrier to study abroad. COIL opportunities can help level the playing field by offering students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to enhance their intercultural competency.
  • Help implement IZN goals of global engagement and “internationalizing the learning experience” (curricular internationalization).
  • Our international students and our global Deaf network provide us rich sources of perspective to broaden our students’ learning. 
  • Ongoing general education reform, academic clustering, and Faculty Online Teaching Training provide opportunities for infusing “global learning.”
  • Need for intercultural learning to be part of the University’s repertoire of online teaching-learning. (Note: Pandemic will fundamentally change student mobility, even after travel restrictions are lifted. Important that Gallaudet has the capacity to deliver global learning on campus.)
  • COIL requires a “sea change” in creating working relationships among faculty and staff to support enriched student experience. Education Abroad will be brought into curricular development. 
  • Incoming “Global Learning Faculty Administrator” and International Affairs staff will be coached by the nation’s preeminent “COIL guru.”
  • Nascent COIL projects in Norway and Japan will receive expert guidance.

About Jon Rubin


Jon Rubin is the founder and past director of the SUNY COIL Center (2006-2017), the national leader in COIL development ( He directed the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded COIL Institute for Globally Networked Learning in the Humanities (2010-13), which engaged 47 U.S. and international universities in COIL course development. Rubin also led the COIL Center’s award program with the American Council on Education (ACE) supporting Technology to Internationalize (2013-14), directed the COIL Center’s Stevens Initiative project in the Middle  East and North Africa region (2016-17), and launched the State Department-funded U.S.-Mexico Multistate COIL project linking 18 Mexican higher education institutions with 14 U.S. campuses. 

Pertinent to Gallaudet: 

Rubin has worked extensively in Gallaudet’s “nations of interest,” including Japan and Nigeria, and has assisted numerous colleges in comprehensive COIL planning. He was recommended by ACE’s Robin Helms and former SUNY Vice Chancellor of Global Affairs Mitch Leventhal. (See Rubin’s past and current projects at

Jon Rubin suggests perusing the website of Florida International University COIL:, including a video “How does COIL impact faculty and students?”

"Collaborative Online International Learning: An Emerging Format for Internationalizing Curricula," by Jon Rubin, founder and past director of the State University of New York (SUNY) COIL Center, and Sarah Guth, president of UNICollaboration, in the book Globally Networked Teaching in the Humanities, Theories and Practices, edited by Alexandra Shultheis Moore and Sunka Simon.