Algoma University Concludes Innovative Outbound Mobility Project in the Midst of a Pandemic

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Algoma University

This Winter term, students and faculty at Algoma University were able to participate in the Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program. This innovative intercultural learning opportunity took place with international partner universities in South Korea and Spain. The pilot program was funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

This project supported the development of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) based courses that improved accessibility and participation; especially among under-represented student groups, resulting in a transformative virtual student experience. COIL exchange provides an innovative, authentic pathway for students and instructors to interact with the world. COIL is based upon team-taught learning environments where faculty members from two cultures work together to develop a shared syllabus that emphasizes experiential and collaborative student learning outcomes.

“Higher education institutions around the world have had to temporarily pause physical global mobility programs due to COVID-19, which has been challenging for us all,” stated Eunjung Riauka, Coordinator of Global Engagement and Mobility/Internationalization Lead. “Despite these challenges, Algoma University and our global partner universities have found a way to continue providing intercultural learning opportunities to our students through COIL.”

With the funding provided by the Government of Canada, over 150 students participated in six COIL pilot courses through Algoma University (Canada), Universitat Jaume I (Spain) and Soonchunhyang University (South Korea). The pilot project resulted in a 600% increase in Algoma University student participation in virtual exchange experiences, with Indigenous student participation increasing by 350% in comparison to last year’s traditional physical mobility programs. Although virtual exchange programs are different from the in-person experiences of traditional exchange and study abroad programs, students were able to work together in diverse teams and develop intercultural and problem-solving skills that will help them to be competent individuals in a global workforce setting.

“Algoma University is committed to innovative ways to provide students with global learning opportunities,” shared Dr. Donna Rogers, Vice-President Academic and Research.”We’re excited to build on what we’ve learned from this pilot project, and the relationships we’ve deepened with international partners. I look forward to future collaboration within the current pandemic and beyond.”

Algoma University hosted a Zoom COIL symposium to showcase this pilot project on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, to the internal, external and international higher education community. Over 90 participants from 49 institutions in 15 countries around the world were represented in the webinar.