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Sinclair College Using Innovative Virtual Exchange Program to Connect Students and Faculty with International Counterparts

Sinclair College is celebrating International Education Week (November 15-19, 2021) by shining the spotlight on its Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Program, and celebrating the richness international students bring to the campus. This innovative virtual exchange program uses online technology to connect students in different countries and allows them to develop relationships and discuss and collaborate on projects as part of their classes.

In August 2018, Sinclair was selected by the American Council on Education (ACE) as one of six accredited, degree-granting U.S. colleges and universities to participate in the U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative, which aimed to expand U.S.-Japan higher education ties. Sinclair was the only two-year school selected to join the initiative. Since that time, Sinclair’s COIL program has rapidly expanded to include relationships with higher education institutions in Brazil, Canada, Honduras, Scotland, and South Africa.

“Sinclair’s faculty and students have embraced this innovative program that provides a unique opportunity to build relationships, expand intercultural awareness and understanding, improve digital literacy skills, and gain international attention for Sinclair’s programs,” said Deborah Gavlik, Director of International Education – Sinclair College.  “The COIL program also provides students with collaborative international experience which many employers are looking for in potential hires.”

Currently, Sinclair College students participating in COIL are working on a variety of projects including art, climate change, construction techniques and standards, cultural differences in marketing retailing, and social and cultural influences on health outcomes.  Upcoming COIL projects include intercultural communication, and language and cultural exchange through travel brochures.

“The COIL program strengthens Sinclair’s commitment to diversity.  I always tell students that the world is more than Dayton.  It’s more than Ohio.  It’s more than the United States.  The more you get perspective, different from yours, whether it is from another country, another culture, the better off you are going to be personally and the better off you are going to be from a business standpoint because now you have a more rounded perspective on business so it’s not just through one lens.  You’re looking through multiple lenses,” said Charles Richardson, Associate Professor –  Marketing Instruction.

Since COIL’s inception at Sinclair College, more than 100 students have participated in the program.

“It was unique.  It really opens you up to other cultures and lets you really experience something instead of just reading it online. It gave me a new opportunity to look at how our country works and how another country works. With civil engineering, I can totally go to another country and just start learning their culture because I already have an idea of how to interact with people,” added Marco Sanders-Johnson, Sinclair College Civil Engineering student.

“It’s going to be a highly marketable skill for the students once they leave to say, yes, I am a scientist but I’m able to be a team player and work with people from different backgrounds. For faculty, learning another expert’s area is really interesting.  My COIL counterpart in Brazil is an expert in agrometeorology who is leading the way and making new leaps in research that I have been able to learn about and share with my other classes,” said Dannette Richards, Sinclair College Assistant Professor – Biology Department.

“Not every student can do a semester abroad somewhere.  This is an opportunity to give students exposure to another culture.  It’s a way to bring that experience into the classroom. Sinclair’s COIL program allows students and faculty to challenge themselves, to learn some things about themselves, to learn about others, and just to experience something that they might not have otherwise experienced,” said Joyce Barnes, Sinclair College Associate Professor – English Composition and American Literature.

Learn more about the COIL program at Sinclair College at:

For additional information about Sinclair’s International Student Services, visit: