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March 28, 2016 : Ohio University Lancaster Professor Participates in Spring Break Professional Development


Pamela A. Kaylor, Ph.D., associate lecturer of communication studies at the Lancaster Campus and COIL Fellows from two other Ohio University regional campuses participated in a weeklong training designed to promote the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) model by providing resources to incorporate international partners into their courses. CoilKaylor

Among the OHIO faculty members who participated were COIL Fellows from the Zanesville Campus, including Lisa Haven, associate professor of English; Sheida Shirvani, professor of communication studies; and Gabriela Popa, associate professor of physics; as well as Purba Das, associate professor of communication studies from the Southern Campus, and Pam Kaylor, associate lecturer of communication studies at the Lancaster Campus. Also attending were Korcaighe Hale (history) and Jenifer Cushman (German and Zanesville Campus dean) who are team teaching a pilot COIL history course this semester titled, Europe Between the Wars.

In addition, Larry Tumblin, director of information technology, and Mary Beth Robinson, instructional technologist, both from the Zanesville Campus, attended the training. The curriculum for the week was designed to familiarize the fellows with collaboration technology and an understanding of the methods to design an effective online learning environment in order to connect OHIO regional students with faculty members and students across the world

The training began with Megan Gibbons, assistant professor of Spanish at Glenville State College, who explained the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) efforts at her institution. “It was an honor to have Megan Gibbons set the stage for the week with an explanation of the expanding efforts at Glenville State. The COIL efforts there have really brought cross-cultural learning opportunities to a population that is not culturally diverse,” stated Matt Dingo, instructional technologist. He and Becky Simons, instructional technologist manager, facilitated the spring break training sessions.

The remainder of the week focused on online pedagogy, significant learning, Darla Deardorff’s cross-cultural competencies and collaboration tools with an emphasis on strategies for designing equitable interactions across various technology infrastructures.

“We learned how to use Trello, Voice Thread, WebEx, Adobe Connect and other technologies we can use on the Google platform,” shared Popa. “Another important aspect during this workshop is the support and collaboration of the administration. Working together with Dean Cushman on a new initiative in teaching and having her support in developing new strategies is time well spent during our spring break.”

Robinson also agreed that collaboration among those involved is beneficial to the success of the COIL initiative, stating “I am fortunate to have been able to participate in this training. It is such a pleasure to work with other instructional technologists and faculty members.”
She went on to explain, “Our presenters demonstrated wonderful technologies for faculty to use, and the faculty members were eager to try out the new technologies. The COIL Fellows are a dynamic group. It is a pleasure to work with them.”

The week concluded with the fellows presenting a cross-cultural activity where the participants acted as students. In addition there was a web-conferencing panel discussion with COIL experts Jon Rubin, director of the Center for Collaborative Online International Learning, and Greg Tuke, international collaboration facilitator at University of Washington Bothell; Natalia Dyba, director of global affairs at the University of Washington Bothell, was also available, as well as Hale and Cushman, who presented their experiences with their course this semester.

“It was an honor to have Jon Rubin, who founded COIL, and Greg Tuke, who teaches COIL courses at a regional campus, join us,” shared Cushman. “Their experience with COIL was extremely valuable for the OHIO Fellows as they develop their courses.”

“It was an absolutely awesome week full of new information,” said Shirvani. “This training provides a solid guideline and direction for my collaboration with my partner at distance site, which will be beneficial for my COIL students as well as students in my regular classes.”

“This training has provided an opportunity to really have a hands-on understanding of course design for the COIL initiative and more time to get to know and collaborate with the other COIL Fellows,” Kaylor said. “Matt Dingo, Becky Simons and Larry Tumblin have provided excellent support and guidance in course design and technical innovations to make our goals more achievable.”

Kaylor went on to explain that, in addition to the technical training, she was inspired by L. J. Edmonds, Ohio University’s vice provost for global affairs, who discussed dynamics of international partnerships with the group. “She provided us with great information and stressed the importance of our role as global communicators in creating partnerships around the world,” Kaylor stated. “I find the COIL program to be quite innovative, challenging and exciting!”

Prior to the spring break training, the five faculty fellows participated in a learning community, facilitated by Hale, where they read and discussed the book “Globally Networked Teaching in the Humanities.”

The courses identified for the initial COIL Fellows project include Haven’s American Literature 1918 to Present course, Popa’s Introduction to Astronomy course, Shirvani’s Women and Gender course, Das’ Communication with Culture and Women and Health courses and Kaylor’s Communication Between Cultures course.

“The COIL Fellows will provide a wonderful opportunity for our students to interact with students from other countries. It is exciting to see this unfold as we all learn together what technologies work best,” Robinson shared.

Simons added, “It was a great pleasure to interact with the enthusiastic COIL Fellows regarding their ideas for the courses they will be teaching.”

The final component of the fellows’ preparation for incorporating COIL strategies in their classes for fall 2017 or spring 2018 will be attendance at the 2016 SUNY COIL Conference. “It’s one of the most cutting-edge academic conferences I’ve seen,” Cushman shared. “There the fellows will hear about good practices in COIL courses and will connect with international partners in the classroom.”

The Ohio University Regional Higher Education COIL Fellows program is sponsored by the Ohio University Senior International Management Team in support of the University’s global learning strategy. As a result of this pilot project, Cushman applied for a Konneker grant and was awarded $60,000 to scale up the COIL Fellows program over the next two years.

For more information about the COIL initiative, contact Cushman at