Press Releases

COIL Program Receives American Council on Education Award

Date Released: 3/10/2010

The American Council on Education presented its “Bringing the World Into the Classroom” award to the SUNY COIL Center at Purchase College.


The award recognizes innovation in the use of technology to enhance the international learning of undergraduates at U.S. colleges and universities.


Jon Rubin, Associate Professor of Film and New Media at Purchase College heads the program which was created in 2006 to develop more on-line courses with an international dimension. Working collaboratively with faculty members at all SUNY campuses, the program links professors and students in foreign countries with American students and faculty members to provide international learning experiences that increase student  interaction and experiences with other cultures.  One of the program’s objectives is to encourage students to study abroad.


SUNY students participate in team-taught online courses developed collaboratively by faculty members in the U.S. and in the participating country. Courses may be totally online or offered in a blended format with face-to-face sessions taking place at both schools while collaborative work between the groups takes place online. The course work takes into account the cross –cultural interests of the participating students. 


“In a world as interconnected as ours, “said Jon Rubin, students not only need access to knowledge, but they also must better understand the many contexts and cultural points of view which give meaning to what is known.  Direct participation in another culture provides a deeper appreciation of how knowledge is bound to the cultural framing through which the world is experienced.”


Since its inception, COIL has worked with 17 SUNY campuses helping them create globally networked courses with partner schools in at least 10 countries.  COIL works directly with faculty across the system to build online international courses that are appropriate to their discipline and to their student’s needs.


Students in the courses often encounter stereotypical thinking, unexpected cultural attitudes and different ways of learning that confound their expectations and that can be a challenge for them to navigate. COIL works to explore these differences so that students can understand the intrinsic value of other points of view.


COIL was initially based on the experience of a small group of SUNY faculty members who had each created courses in which their students collaborated with students in other countries as a means to internationalize their curricula.  Professor Rubin at Purchase created a cross-cultural video exchange course between SUNY and European Humanities University in Belarus, after returning from a Fulbright in Minsk. He eventually introduced video exchanges with students in Turkey, Mexico, Germany, Russia and Lithuania. The need for this type of program eventually led to broad SUNY institutional commitment and Professor was chosen to direct the program. 


In addition to the courses COIL also provided training for faculty members interested in starting new programs.


The American Council on Education is a higher education organization that provides leadership and a unified voice on key higher education issues and strives to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.