Frontiers in Education (Oct 2022)

Getting to the CoRe of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

  • Jessica Geraldine Borger

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7


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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there was a worldwide pivot of education to online communication and the utilization of diverse digital technologies to enhance global learning and foster cultural understanding. Within higher education, educators faced unprecedented challenges in the conversion of face-to-face interactions into online, virtual classrooms, with many educators unprepared and untrained to do so. Yet, the introduction of online digital technologies for pedagogical interactions expanded the internationalization of previously limited curriculum prospects, to create global interconnectedness with the potential to invoke Students’ awareness and appreciation of cultural differences in communication, leadership, and conflict. The development of international knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and the linkage between the two is key for the internationalization of the curriculum. With the growth of new digital communication, learning opportunities such as Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), aims to foster the development of intercultural competencies (ICC) in our students for future career advancement in an expanding global community. Despite the acknowledgment that faculty are underprepared and lack pedagogical knowledge to translate their lived experiences into their curriculum, there remains a tenable lack of available tools for educators to facilitate students actively participating in objective, equitable and inclusive intercultural communication. Herein, is proposed the novel application of a conceptual tool, a “content representation” or CoRe matrix, which explicitly separates a particular topic into divergent, yet linked dimensions of the knowledge and skills attributed to its content, teaching, and learning. It was hypothesized the CoRe tool could be applied to enhance an educator’s PCK of ICC, providing the valuable link between international and pedagogical knowledge, for effective internationalization of the curriculum. The novel ICC CoRe matrix successfully addressed the 4 dimensions of ICC demonstrating the robust nature of the application of the CoRe matrix in the development of an educator’s ICC PCK in the COIL classroom. With the exponential increase in digital technologies creating dynamic worldwide networks in education and the workplace, the development of conceptual tools such as the ICC CoRe matrix has the potential to develop and integrate an educator’s pedagogical knowledge with ICC, to support the development of effective, objective and inclusive student participation in global twenty-first-century classrooms and beyond.