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Student COIL Libguide


One of the greatest advantages of a COIL project is being able to bring together diverse voices, experiences, and perspectives.  To ensure that all members involved in a COIL project have shared understandings of key terminology, we have developed a glossary that offers definitions of key concepts that are important for your COIL project.

Important Terms

COIL - Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is an approach to embedding a significant intercultural experience within a course. COIL projects emphasize international partnerships and cross-cultural collaboration. 

Cultural Humility - A process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases and to develop and maintain respectful processes and relationships based on mutual trust. Cultural humility involves humbly acknowledging oneself as a learner when it comes to understanding another’s experience. Learn more about cultural humility by clicking here. 

Diversity - Diversity refers to all the ways in which we are different. Sheridan values and respects diversity in all its forms, including knowledge, worldviews and experiences. Diversity is born out of membership in different groups.

Equity - Equity refers to fair treatment and access to opportunities. Sheridan values the fair and just treatment of all community members through the creation of opportunities and the removal of barriers to address historic and current disadvantages for equity-seeking and marginalized groups.

Inclusion - Is a process of intentional efforts to understand another perspective and feel empathy. An inclusive learning and working environment is one where every individual can maximize their potential, irrespective of personal characteristics.

Inter-Cultural Competence - Inter-cultural competence generally refers to one’s ability to effectively and appropriately communicate and work with individuals from different cultural contexts. Inter-cultural competence involves a range of communication skills and cultural attitudes, and has become a valuable asset as both classrooms and workplaces are increasingly globalized.

Icebreaker - An icebreaker is an activity designed to encourage team building and cultural learning. In COIL projects, icebreakers are used to help students get better acquainted and learn about each other's international contexts.

Main Task - The Main Task is the primary assignment that students will work collaboratively to complete over the duration of a COIL project. COIL projects can vary considerably in length and content, but are typically organized around a single main task, even if it is one that involves a number of steps or components.

Virtual Exchange - Virtual exchange is the umbrella term that describes educational tools that foster intercultural and digital learning by creating opportunities for international collaboration and sharing. COIL falls under this umbrella terms and represents a specific approach to virtual exchange.