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ACE Initiative to Increase U.S.-Japan Higher Education Relations Through Collaborative Online International Learning

November 01, 2017

Japan Torri Gates


ACE today announced the U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative, an effort to strengthen higher education relations between Japan and the United States through collaborative online international learning (COIL).

A grant from the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, will support the development of new COIL courses delivered jointly by U.S. and Japanese institutions. ACE will work closely with the U.S. Embassy to realize this initiative over a two-year demonstration period, in coordination with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and other partners.

COIL, also referred to as virtual exchange, is an approach involving collaboration between faculty and students in two or more countries using online communication. For over a decade, ACE has recognized the COIL model as a cost-effective, accessible method for delivering global learning and intercultural experiences to greater numbers of U.S. students, particularly the 90 percent of U.S. undergraduates who do not participate in education abroad.

“This initiative will develop and strengthen international partnerships that work toward creating global learning experiences for a broader spectrum of students,” said Brad Farnsworth, vice president for ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE).

Through a competitive selection process, ACE will identify a group of U.S. colleges and universities representing diverse institution types and geographies to partner with a comparable number of Japanese higher education institutions on the development of new COIL courses.

Faculty from the selected U.S. and Japanese institutions will collaborate to develop a joint syllabus, and students in the two countries will then work together to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives. A limited amount of funding is available for U.S. students enrolled in these courses to participate in education abroad at the Japanese partner institution.

The project is designed to test the idea that students who participate in COIL courses will increase their understanding of the partner country, sharpen their cultural competency skills, and become better prepared for in-person education exchange. If successful, ACE aims to expand the program to include additional U.S. and Japanese partner institutions.

“The COIL method is a promising option for U.S. and Japanese students, not only as a potential gateway to study abroad in the other country, but because it gives students experience collaborating virtually with international teammates—an increasingly common skill needed in today’s global workforce,” said Heather H. Ward, associate director for CIGE, who will manage the project.

Japan ranks second only to China when it comes to the number of partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities, according to ACE’s 2017 Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses report. The U.S.-Japan COIL initiative will build on those existing ties and create new ones by introducing a new mode of collaboration.​

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristen Carmen ▪ 202-939-9554 ▪

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