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Engineering Impact Report

Coil Program Springs to Life

As the School of Engineering progresses toward building intercultural competence for students, the creation of the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program begins to take shape.

The COIL program allows students to partner with their peers at an international university to complete a project. While the COIL concept is gaining popularity in higher education, Scott Segalewitz, associate dean for experiential learning and student success, believes the University of Dayton is one of the first to adapt the pedagogy to engineering curriculum.

A cohort of five faculty members, COIL Fellows, are developing their courses to be delivered in the 2019–2020 academic year. In preparation, fellows learn best practices in developing and assessing the course, as well as cultural integration. Small groups of University of Dayton students work with those at an international university and use online software to meet virtually and contribute to the project.

COIL program projects are chosen to fit into currently offered courses. Sharon Bommer, COIL Fellow, is working with a professor from the University of Lagos in Nigeria on a human factors project. The junior/senior level course aims to improve human-system interaction, including safety, user satisfaction and performance.

Bommer has met virtually with her faculty partner in Lagos every two weeks in order to develop their curriculum, create schedules and discuss potential issues. Like other COIL Fellows, she traveled to Nigeria this summer to consult with her teaching partner in person on specifics of the class.

Her students will partner with the University of Lagos for seven weeks, completing project milestones and a semester-end project. For the first few weeks, students will meet online for synchronous work. For the last 4 weeks, students will meet briefly to discuss the project status, then disperse to work asynchronously. Apart from project completion, Dr. Bommer looks forward to her students expanding their intercultural competence, global project management skills and international network.

In the future, the School would like to see students have multiple COIL experiences prior to graduation. The program adds a new classroom dynamic for faculty and allows for greater understanding of other cultures. COIL also provides opportunities for developing problem-solving skills and creating solutions within a diverse team.

Students will graduate with more marketable experience for an ever-increasing globalized world.

“The COIL program will set the University of Dayton students apart,” Bommer said.

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