GSG College Joins Virtual International Collaboration
Ohio University’s Office of Global Affairs and International Studies invited GSG College faculty to join the Global Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Initiative in April 2019. SESA encouraged and organized GSG College’s participation.
COIL is a virtual exchange program connecting faculty and students globally through shared online projects. Participating faculty incorporate these online projects into their courses, which students complete in collaboration with other students abroad. Ohio University’s partners include faculty and institutions in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, India, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Ecuador and Germany.
Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies at Ohio University, played a key role in soliciting GSG College’s participation in the program. “We see this as a unique and innovative approach to leverage, build, and institutionalize our relationships with [GSG College] and other university collaborators in Asia, Africa and around the globe,” Dr. Edmonds said.
Dr. Dhanraj Tayade, Professor and Head of GSG’s Department of Zoology, made the three-year commitment to join the Global COIL Initiative. He is the sole faculty member from India to participate this year. His assigned COIL partner is Jessica Hollis, Assistant Professor of English at Ohio University.
The Initiative kicked off on September 16 with four weekly online sessions, during which international participants met online, explored tools and methods for collaborating, and began developing their COIL projects. Dr. Tayade next attended a COIL symposium and training workshops at the Ohio University campus in Athens, Ohio, from October 21 through 24, and then joined over 360 participants from 30 countries at the International Virtual Exchange conference in Tacoma, Washington, from October 25 through 26.
Working together, Professor Tayade and Professor Hollis are developing a collaborative certificate course that will focus on enhancing confidence and communication skills while examining cultural and environmental issues. The course will run from January 15 to March 15, with two course periods per week. It will be offered to approximately 20 GSG College students, including undergraduate and graduate students in Arts, Commerce, and Science, as well as to approximately 20 Ohio University undergraduate students from a range of fields.
Coordinating between different time zones will be no easy feat. As the sun rises over GSG College’s campus, it will be setting over Ohio University’s campus. Indian Standard Time is currently 10.5 hours ahead of Ohio’s Eastern Standard Time, and on March 8, when clocks change uniquely in the United States, India will be 11.5 hours ahead of Ohio. Professors Tayade and Hollis are optimistic they can address this challenge by scheduling the course at 8pm IST/ 9:30am EST, for at least the beginning of the project. Arrangements will be made for GSG students to have internet access at their homes, mostly likely via mobile phone. Regardless of the time zone, this course collaboration between GSG College and Ohio University marks the dawn of a new era for all involved.