Skip to main content

Idea and Partnering

In terms of subject as well as course format, there are hardly any limits to integrating international, collaborative elements into your own existing courses or transferring them into internationalized courses. If you are not entirely critical of the use of online tools and have found a good collaborative partner, two of the most important prerequisites are already fulfilled. Human and technical resources may be necessary for larger COIL projects. Also look for calls for proposals and funding programs.

To get started and brainstorm ideas, the following reflection questions may be helpful and lay an important foundation for your teaching project:  

  • Are there topics and content or learning objectives in your subject/courses that could be deepened, enriched, or particularly emphasized through exchanges between students at the University of Potsdam and the partner institution? Which contents could prove exciting for a multi-perspective, internationalized discussion, and collaboration?  
  • What learning content can be deferred or modified and what content can be brought to the forefront to encourage time for exchange, discussion, and collaborative activities among students?  
  • Would different perspectives (cultural, disciplinary, scientific theory) encourage students to collaborate and contribute to a broader understanding of the course content?  
  • Are there activities (assignments, projects) for joint work by both groups of students? Are there photos, presentations, videos, or other (course-relevant) artifacts that can be shared among students?  

(cf: Rubin/Wilson 2016 SUNY COIL Centre).

Which COIL format?

International teaching collaborations can be roughly divided into two formats that differ primarily in duration in scope and intensity of collaboration. If you are thinking about offering international experiences to students for the first time or if the students themselves have little or no experience with international exchange, a pre-COIL scenario is recommended. The lower effort in conception and implementation compared to a longer lasting cooperation allows all participants to focus on the successful implementation of the cooperation. For full-COIL scenarios, first experiences with international teaching cooperations on at least one side of the partnership as well as a larger commitment and time budget are helpful or necessary. Deciding on possible content and a COIL format in advance of further steps facilitates future communication and coordination with potential partners.

Pre-COIL (Kopie 1)

Full-COIL (Kopie 1)

Finding a partner

The success of a joint teaching project depends to a large extent on the search for or selection of the cooperation partners. Good cooperation and communication are key factors in the planning and implementation of joint teaching projects. The goal should therefore lie in finding a partner with whom 

  • you share views on teaching and learning as well as on the way of meaningful collaborations,  
  • you can build a committed and trusting collaboration 
  • you can enable a sensitive and fruitful approach to professional and cultural differences. 

Some questions can also be helpful in advance for the search for partners:  

  • Which (geographic-global, cultural, professional) perspectives fit your course and/or can enrich it?  
  • Do you have colleagues in a particular geographic area, or can you ask colleagues for recommendations or contacts?  
  • Do university and/or faculty partnerships already exist between the University of Potsdam and a desired region? Can you make use of these resources?  
  • Do you know of academic societies or disciplinary associations through which you can connect with potential colleagues? Do they have mailing lists or other portals through which members can communicate directly with each other?  

(cf: Rubin/Wilson 2016 SUNY COIL Centre).



The COIL.UP team would be happy to support you in your search for partners and, if you wish, also in establishing contact and in the necessary coordination processes.