Impact Story

COIL: Collaborative Online International Learning

Students and a teacher at the American University of Technology in Lebanon interacting with students in New York through their laptop.


​The State University of New York Collaborative Online International Learning Center (SUNY COIL Center) is a hub that prepares educators across the United States and around the world to conduct virtual exchange.

Through the Stevens Initiative, the COIL Center identifies educators across the SUNY system who are interested in adding virtual exchange to their courses, and assists them in establishing partnerships with peers at institutions across the Middle East and North Africa. The COIL Center runs trainings and workshops online and in both regions to prepare educators for the intensive collaboration that is required to make COIL courses a success.

Following a COIL professional development workshop in Cairo, Alice Caroompas, Adjunct Professor in the English Department at SUNY Broome, met Joseph Seif, a SUNY Broome student senator. Joseph has been working with refugees in Lebanon and raising funds to send to the Lebanese Red Cross. His goals were to raise at least $10,000 in order to increase awareness about the refugee crisis and clear up misconceptions about Lebanon and Syrian Refugees. There are 1.5 million refugees – many of them highly doctors, lawyers, and teachers – in Lebanon, which has a native population of 4.5 million.

After Joseph and Alice integrated his effort into Alice’s courses, the campaign spread across Broome and nearby Tompkins Cortland Community College campus, where Alice is also an adjunct. On March 2, 2016, she conducted a ‘Common Hour’ to introduce her upcoming course and recruit interested students and faculty to organize community-wide donation sites.

Following the workshop and campus visits, educators began the next semester’s courses on their respective campuses and continued online training and collaboration.

Marcia Blackburn from SUNY Broome and Abdellah Elboubekri from Mohammed I in Morocco decided to experiment with elements of their module during a trial version in their Fall 2016 Media & Society course. Over 40 students used Facebook as a platform to create dialogue and perform group projects.

Educators Praveen Chaudhry from SUNY FIT and Celine Merheb from the American University of Technology in Lebanon are partnering for the entirety of the upcoming semester. Celine arranged for Praveen to co-teach one of her classes during his visit to Lebanon, and over the winter holidays, they traveled together with their families to New Delhi, India. “I think we need a lot more initiatives like this that could perhaps bridge some of the gaps to this ever-shrinking global village.”

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