Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

COIL and the joint project BeCOIL

The project "BeCOIL Collaborative Online International Learning - Verbundprojekt Berliner Hochschulen", which is funded by the Berlin Senate until the end of 2024 at all state-run universities in Berlin, aims to promote and advance internationalisation at home at Berlin's universities, while at the same time strengthening cooperation between the universities and their international partners and among themselves. Within the network, standards for the implementation of COILs are being developed. In this context, further training for students and teachers on digitization and international topics will be offered.

Project Goal

The COIL project will develop and establish international digital teaching and learning formats which, if successfully implemented, can be incorporated into the curriculum in the long term. This promotes the participation of all students in international exchange. Non-traditional students are an important target group of ASH Berlin. These students often find themselves in life situations that do not allow for  traditional study abroad programmes. Through the successful implementation of COILs, this target group benefits from international exchange and international teaching.



Why COIL at ASH Berlin

Transcultural competencies play an important role in the academic education of social work, health and education professions. Graduates should be able to think multi-perspectively and to work internationally and culturally with a wide variety of addressees. The profile of professionalized social work and health specialists includes the ability to deal with and reflect on one's own culture, one's own biography and one's own way of acting. This also includes the ability to make international comparative references. The acquisition of these competencies can take place through physical study abroad. Since these are not accessible to all students - for example, due to personal circumstances or an inflexible study structure - formats such as COIL enable all students to participate in international exchange.

In a Nutshell

  • COIL stands for Collaborative Online International Learning
  • COILs are elements (e.g. projects) that are integrated into existing modules and complement the modules with international online teaching and international virtual exchange
  • Lecturers cooperate with a partner university abroad and jointly design a project on which students from both countries work together using digital media
  • The focus of COIL is thus on the one hand the collaboration between students of different nationalities - and at the same time the collaboration between the lecturers. The project  benefits from the different experiences, perspectives and backgrounds of all participants

The following structure can serve as inspiration when designing a COIL project:

  • An orientation or virtual introduction - icebreakers and similar elements are important here to encourage exchange among students and to compare viewpoints and knowledge.
  • A common task: The project, which the students work on together in collaboration, forms the central aspect of a COIL. Students use their collective and individual knowledge to work on the task. They use tools and virtual platforms to make the exchange as effective as possible.
  • A reflective assignment: At the end of the project, students are required to reflect upon the content of the module, the transcultural aspects of the project, and the virtual exchange.
  • Lecturers can design their courses more diversely by integrating COILs. They develop their didactic, methodological and digital competencies through the meaningful use of different media.
  • Lecturers can tap into the "international classroom": the diverse perspectives of students enrich courses, lecturers benefit from mutual expertise in designing projects.
  • International and intercultural competencies are further developed.
  • International contacts and networks are expanded and strengthened.
  • Non-mobile students are given the opportunity to gain international and intercultural experience. Students who are unable to complete a 'classic' stay abroad due to social, health, economic or study structure-related barriers are equally addressed for participation in COIL.
  • All students are given the opportunity to learn internationally and thus have the opportunity to gain transcultural experience.
  • Working in virtual and, in some cases, international teams is an essential part of the modern digitalized working world - COIL projects provide training in this.
  • Variety in studies: Students learn to adopt new perspectives, they work in a foreign language, and they learn new methods (e.g. project work in order to open up subject areas).

EEE4all - Euro-Education: employability for all module

An existing COIL at ASH Berlin is the EEE4all - Euro-Education: employability for all module

EEE4all is an international, interdisciplinary project integrated at ASH at Master's level, in which students are empowered to promote employability among people who are disadvantaged in the labor market due to migration background or disability. The two- to three-semester module EEE4all is the only overarching offering for the consecutive master's programs Practice Research in Social Work and Pedagogy (2 semesters) and Management and Quality Development in Health Care (3 semesters) at ASH Berlin. ASH Berlin always cooperates with a local partner in Berlin over the three semesters. Furthermore, the first semester is spent with the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy program at Croix-Rouge Compétence Centre-Val de Loire, an educational institute of the French Red Cross and the University of Tours, and other international universities are recruited. An exchange of international students takes place regularly in the first winter semester and includes attendance days in France (3-4 day study trip to Tours) and in Berlin (international students visit Berlin for one week). The first international semester takes place mainly in English (almost all students do not speak English as their native language), and can also be taken as a single elective module. If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Dr. Elke Kraus (kraus@ or Prof. Dr. Heinz Stapf-Finé (stapf-fine@



Further Information and Resources

Blog BeCOIL  

The SUNY COIL Center has worked for more than 15 years to promote and professionalize the practice of collaborative online international learning and virtual exchange. The SUNY COIL Global Network serves as a hub for the exchange of information and ideas, professional support, partner referrals, and resource sharing.

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst: Digitale Internationalisierung an deutschen Hochschulen, 2022. 

In conversation - Elspeth Jones and Eva Haug: COIL programme design and implementation

What is COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) 

Berliner Zentrum für Hochschullehre (Berlin Centre for Higher Education - Trainings for innovative teaching formats)

Erasmus+ Blended Mobility Implementation Guide

Informationen on online teaching – ASH Moodle Course



The COIL joint project of Berlin’s universities is funded by the State of Berlin until the end of 2024 as part of its Schwerpunkt „Digitalisierung und Innovation“ der Qualitäts- und Innovationsoffensive (2. Förderphase)


Ms. Anne Hübinger

COIL Project Coordinator

International Office

Room No. 345

Collaborative Online International Learning: 

Are you interested in enriching your teaching through international virtual exchange? Feel free to contact me!

T +49 030 99245 373

Ms. Anne Hübinger