Introduction

Virtual Exchanges and Collaborative Online International Learning: Forging Global Connections

Virtual Exchanges and Collaborative Online International Learning: Forging Global Connections

Students point to where they're from on an inflatable globe during the orientation for new International students at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall

December 1, 2023 – Santa Fe College (SF) serves North Central Florida and beyond. Virtual exchanges and Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) help bridge the gap between our community and the rest of the world. The “beyond” is well within reach.

SF’s International Education program connects its students with peers from other countries. Together they improve language competency and technological skills as well as promote intercultural diplomacy. It is an excellent way to provide international relationships to all students regardless of their ability to travel abroad.  

Virtual exchanges and COIL are making strides at SF thanks to the work of many professors, including Manisha Ranade, Associate Professor at SF.

“Virtual exchanges and COIL” Ranade said, “allow all our students to communicate with students abroad. It broadens their perspectives. Most of our students have not encountered foreign students, so these interactions are learning experiences. In the information age that we live, virtual exchanges or COIL offer an authentic connection.”

Ranade isn’t the only SF instructor using virtual exchanges. Dr. Marcela Murillo created a virtual exchange to allow her students to practice Spanish. Rebecca Johnston’s LIT1000 class at the Davis Center recently completed an exchange with a Japanese class that saw both groups lending their unique perspectives to Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home.”

“We had a virtual exchange/COIL with a university in the Philippines,” Ranade said, noting the similarities between cultures. “The Philippine students were crazy about K-dramas (from South Korea). It is interesting because I enjoy K-dramas a lot and will sometimes binge watch them.”

Ranade also has essential advice for educators considering implementing virtual exchanges and COIL.

“Patience and planning are key,” Ranade said, “but things do not always turn out as one envisions, so be flexible.”

Learn more about Santa Fe College’s International Education opportunities: https://www.sfcollege.edu/international/education/.