FIU recognized for innovative professional development program that advances global learning | FIU News

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For seven years, FIU has conducted dynamic virtual courses that connect Panthers with their international peers. Students in Miami have met with others around the world online for instruction, discussions, projects and even research collaborations, effectively gaining global perspectives and learning about different approaches to solving problems. Nearly 6,000 FIU students have participated in these immersive, interactive courses, led by faculty trained in creating a seamless learning experience that crosses institutions, continents and time zones. 

Now FIU has gained attention for teaching other universities how to do the same.

For the second time, FIU is being recognized by the Institute of International Education for Innovation in International Education for the university’s efforts to bring more schools of higher education on board.

FIU’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Capacity Building Program is recognized in the category of Widening Access for International Education. The university’s Global Learning for Global Citizenship was previously a co-winner of the 2016 Heiskell Award in the category of Internationalizing the Campus.

“This award tangibly recognizes the way FIU is making good on our continuing commitment to create a world of globally connected global learners,” said Stephanie Doscher, director of FIU’s COIL office. “Our team is so proud that our professional development program, which was initially created to address the crisis of the pandemic, has enabled so many other institutions worldwide to commit to establishing their own COIL programs.”

One of the program’s earliest beneficiaries was a network of 26 institutions in Chile, known as Learn Chile, that represents approximately 35% of that nation’s higher education enrollment. FIU COIL trained 120 Chilean administrators, staff and curriculum developers. Forty-eight Chilean faculty reached out to faculty partners across Latin America to engage with more than 3,000 students in shared learning. “This was a direct consequence of creative work between Learn Chile and FIU COIL,” said Jorge Burgos Muñoz, Director of Learn Chile. “We tremendously value the work that we were able to develop with FIU COIL, with a vision that welcomed views and realities specific to our context, and with a remarkable sense and vision of the future, which allowed us to lay the foundations for these programs to last over time and bring together more and more students and more institutions.”

FIU’s COIL Capacity Building Program provides comprehensive professional development to individuals, institutions and international networks seeking to start, sustain and expand virtual exchange initiatives. The program has vastly widened access to experiential global learning through multilingual, open-access and affordable professional development events and resources. Nearly 1,200 educators have participated in FIU’s COIL design workshops and leadership institutes, engaging tens of thousands of faculty and students in transformational global learning with diverse international peers.

Students describe it as a chance to build international friendships and a global perspective when getting on a plane is not possible. Alumni Charis Piñeda ’21 recollected her experience working with a partner in Asia as a high point in her university career. “This is someone who I had never met in my life, that lives on the other side of the world, speaks a whole other language and lives in a whole other culture. We just formed such a personal connection. It was the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. It’s an experience that stays with me and I share it with other people because I believe COIL is the best experience a student can ever have for growing and getting their degree.”

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