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iKudu Blog


Welcome to the iKudu blog, which aims to amplify the diverse voices of the iKudu stakeholders. In this space, members of the iKudu team will regularly share their views on our project and related international education topics. 

The iKudu project is based on the fundamental belief that it is necessary to rethink internationalisation in an uncertain world. First, it is crucial to recognise and transform the power dynamics underlying international academic collaboration. Second, it is essential to develop pedagogies which allow every student to participate in international education, integrating technology where appropriate. 

However, while we agree on the fundamental tenets of our project and our principal goals, all our stakeholders contribute different perspectives. The iKudu project plan reflects the diverse insights of a team hailing from South Africa and Europe. In this blog, we aim to provide a space for intellectual discourse on our project and related international education topics, which allows for constructive, critical engagement



Cornelius Hagenmeier
iKudu Project Coordinator 


Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) capacity development: A story of flexibility and adaptation

by ikudu Blogger | May 02, 2021

PicturePeople Amstelveen (3 van 3)iKudu Blog Lesley Photo

By Eva Haug, Educational Advisor for IoC and COIL, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and Lesley Anne Cooke, Specialist: International Education and Partnerships, Durban University of Technology

Eva and lesley 1

This story of COIL capacity building is one of constant adaptation. The capacity building initiative is part of the iKudu Project. As part of the project plan, a workshop was planned for March 2020 – to be held in Durban, South Africa, and hosted by the Durban University of Technology. Academics from all 10 iKudu partner universities would have engaged with the design and development of COIL projects. Furthermore, the idea behind the in-person training was to give the participating academics the opportunity to experience a warm Durban welcome, and to learn about the South African context and culture, as well as the HE system.

As the pandemic rapidly swept over Europe and then to South Africa, and with travel embargoes being implemented, the decision was made to move the training online.

Lesley Cooke (LC): “The decision to move online was taken quickly and with no change to the proposed timeframe for the training. So, there was very little time to put the necessary online resources together. We also experienced additional challenges around the lack of connectivity in some areas of South Africa where participating academics were located. It proved to be impossible to offer all the academics the same level of online engagement. So, we changed plans. Again! We decided to offer personalised coaching to all the partnered lecturers who were still willing to participate in the training. Penny (Orton), Jon (Rubin), Eva (Haug) and I helped the COIL duos to design and implement their COIL projects. This is our story!”

Eva Haug (EH): “Successfully so, since we saw two COIL projects implemented in May 2020, despite all the challenges the pandemic threw at us. This personalised approach was very time-intensive, and we started working on developing an online training programme for later in the year. This training would consist of self-paced materials that the lecturers could read and explore, followed by a synchronous online session of two hours weekly. We encouraged the participants to meet and discuss the materials before the live session. A COIL Project Plan format helped to guide their project development, from learning outcomes all the way to reflection and assessment.”

LC: “The training was quite a success, we feel. Not only because it was an opportunity to share stories and experiences about teaching online, but also because the sessions were designed to be interactive and full of opportunities to ask questions and give feedback. That being said, it was challenging to keep the academics on board. For some, their COIL project implementation wasn’t scheduled for months or even a semester later and they didn’t feel the sense of urgency.”

EH: “Content-wise, we noticed that it was challenging for the academics to create a collaborative assignment, especially for the interdisciplinary duos. Lots of flexibility was also required from the academics, with university academic schedules constantly changing in response to the pandemic, leading to delays in implementation. And then there were the issues with technology – data costs when working from home and for students studying at home, unreliable connectivity, and inequitable access to devices and data. All of this led to academics constantly having to reign in their expectations and plans.”

LC: “That’s why we’re so proud of these academics who engaged enthusiastically, were willing to be flexible, innovative and creative – all essential elements for a successful COIL project. In spite of it all, they developed and implemented some impactful projects; notably two during the early hard lockdown phases of the pandemic!”

EH: “Moving forward, we envision a hybrid COIL Design training programme, whereby we combine local in-person meetings with a self-paced course and online workshop sessions. We’d love to facilitate some local opportunities to meet and create a sense of an iKUDU community. Not only for the academics, but also for the university coordinators.”

The university COIL coordinators, for lack of a better word, can benefit greatly from the iKUDU community of practice, since this role is often new at the universities involved. How can they best connect and engage with different stakeholders – from academics and students to leadership and international relations as well as instructional designers? How can they keep the COIL practice alive and thriving in their institutions? How can they grow their expertise and coach others to do the same? 

At the end of the day, internationalisation of the curriculum and COIL revolve around the curriculum and therefore the academics. It’s only fitting to give them the last word.

EH: “Two examples of feedback from the academics regarding the training and coaching are captured in the speech bubbles below!” 

Eva and lesley 2


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CONTACT US

Chevon Slambee 
Chief Officer: Strategic Projects, Institutional Reporting, and Research Internationalisation
       T: +27 51 401 2501
          E: jacobscs@ufs.ac.za

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