Collaborative online international learning: A pedagogical intervention to enrich students' learning

Anisa Vahed, Steven Levine

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Against the changing global higher education environment, the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project has emerged. This project aims to create team-taught coursework that links university classes in different countries, while providing students from different disciplines and from different cultural environments with opportunities to develop cross-cultural awareness, knowledge in discipline, skills in communication, and teamwork. The Durban University of Technology (DUT) in South Africa recently implemented a COIL project that enabled Dental Technology students to collaborate internationally. The collaboration involved Business Management students from Nassau Community College (NCC) in New York to understand the business applications in developing a prototype that reduces material wastage in dental laboratories. This paper aims to elicit students’ opinions on COIL as a pedagogical intervention in enhancing their learning. A cross-sectional research design within a quantitative framework, which followed a positivist paradigm, was used. The participants involved were the second year Dental Technology students (n=14) from DUT and the Business Management students (n=21) from NCCC. Data was collected by means of an anonymised questionnaire, which was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics (p<0.05). Results measured positively within five categories, namely: project introduction and preparation; cultural and diversity competence; impacts on personal behaviour; quality of learning; and overall experience and course quality. The COIL project facilitated the epistemological development of students by providing them with an opportunity to learn collaboratively with partners possessing cultural and professional perspectives different from their own. Overall, the salient features of this paper foregrounds how students engaged globally to acquire discipline-specific knowledge using different technology mediated tools, enhanced their abilities to make informed decisions, and learned to think critically and to problem-solve.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2019
EditorsRikke Orngreen, Mie Buhl, Bente Meyer
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764426
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event18th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2019 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 7 Nov 20198 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL
ISSN (Print)2048-8637
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8645


Conference18th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2019


  • And diversity
  • Business administration
  • Cultural competence
  • Dental technology
  • Voice thread


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