Conestoga news

March 1, 2024 2:30 PM

Online learning program fosters global exchanges

This academic year, Conestoga joined an international network of virtual student exchanges, joint coursework and knowledge sharing by piloting the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program. The initiative involved nine professors and over 300 students across four Conestoga schools working with 16 professors at 12 academic institutions around the globe.

Conestoga has contributed to promoting the use of COIL for the UArctic project.

“COIL has been an equitable and cost-effective way to provide our students and faculty with an international exchange experience, which has greatly enhanced learning outcomes and the student experience at Conestoga,” said Mariam Raza, manager, Global Initiatives and Partnership Development.

“Our students have been greatly enriched by the academic and cultural perspectives they have gained, which will benefit them through their future studies and as they enter the workforce.”

In addition to the academic and cultural benefits that COIL provides, it also aligns with the college’s sustainability goals. Conestoga’s School of Business, which joined the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative in 2020, found participation in COIL helped with its aim of integrating sustainability into curriculum.

“By linking institutions together to share learnings and practices in an engaging and environmentally preferable way, we’re not only delivering on our PRME goals, but also doing it in a way that allows us to live our message of sustainability,” said Laura Matheson, faculty & program coordinator, School of Business.

Building on the themes of collaboration and sustainability, Conestoga has also joined the UArctic thematic network project to help bring COIL to this group of academic institutions who collaborate to study issues vital to the arctic, including climate change. Several Conestoga students and faculty are featured in videos about Sustainable Development Goals as well as the benefits of COIL that outline and promote its use as an effective and efficient tool for UArctic members.  

“We’re excited at the prospect of bringing the wins we’ve had with COIL to such a worthy project as UArctic,” said Raza. “Promoting the benefits of COIL for other institutions is a great way to continue with our global partnerships as we embark on our second year of COIL at Conestoga for 2024-2025.”  

Conestoga’s global initiatives and partnership development program focuses on education abroad programming, academic and research partnerships and exchanges, as well as virtual and on-campus activities to help internationalize the Conestoga community and create new global opportunities that support student engagement and demand.