University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu students can get the feel of a study-abroad experience through collaborative online international learning, or COIL, which brings together international classes via online technology to allow students to learn and work with one another.
Professor of Business Management Keith Sakuda has been teaching COIL courses for UH West Oʻahu students through a partnership with Kansai Gaidai University (KGU) in Japan. In collaboration with Stephen Zurcher, KGU professor of management and dean of the Asian studies program, the COIL project has been exploring new models of international education since spring 2020.
“COIL at UH West Oʻahu is about accessibility,” Sakuda said. “For students who are unable to leave Hawaiʻi, it is the only option to experience some of the academic and personal benefits of study abroad.”
Andrew Morrison took Sakuda’s MGT 341: Behavior in Organizations COIL class in fall 2021.
“I was not sure what to expect when I initially started the class, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes that I have taken at UH West Oʻahu,” Morrison said. “Working with Japanese students, specifically having the chance to read their papers, was one of the most interesting parts because you see how another culture writes and tackles different issues in business.”
Another student, Jamie White, said she liked being able to study with students from Japan.
“It was refreshing to learn about their culture first hand along with their professor (Zurcher), who gave great insights,” White said. “… I personally would like to see this class in every college major for better relationships with Japanese students, culture and future business relations.”
According to the American Council on Education, COIL is a research-based method of virtual exchange involving faculty in two or more countries collaborating to develop a joint syllabus for students to then work together online to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives.
Sakuda said, “Traditional barriers to study abroad—such as location (neighbor islands), attendance status (part-time), employment status (working professional), first generation college student status, limited financial resources, and family obligations (single parent or family caretaker)—can be overcome using flexible, cost-effective and scalable solutions offered by COIL.”
He said a recent MGT 370: Global External Environment COIL course, in which he merged his class with KGU’s class for the entire semester, is believed to have been the only fully-integrated COIL this past spring in the UH system, and possibly the only U.S.-Japan fully-integrated COIL in the country.
In MGT 370, UH West Oʻahu and KGU students met once a week via Zoom, and had video presentations, assignments and several group projects. In April, the class also featured guest speaker Robert Noddin, recently retired president and CEO of AIG Japan Holdings, who talked about understanding political risk management and developing an international career in business—a learning opportunity for both Hawaiʻi- and Japan-based students.
UH West Oʻahu’s partnership with KGU will continue into fall 2022, when Sakuda will again teach MGT 341: Behavior in Organizations, a fully-integrated COIL course.
—By Zenaida Serrano Arvman