International Studies & Programs


Advancing COIL Scholarship, Forging Strategic Partnerships, and Building Community

Recent engagements of the COIL Faculty Fellows Program-Africa

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Published: Wednesday, 26 Jun 2024 Author: Global Youth Advancement Network

COIL Fellowship logo
Michigan State University’s Global Youth Advancement Network (GYAN), Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), and Office for Education Abroad (EA) are pleased to share some updates about the COIL Faculty Fellows Program-Africa. Sponsored by AAP, this fellowship program is an opportunity for higher-ed teaching faculty (i.e., faculty or academic staff with teaching appointments) from any discipline to explore the theory and practice of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) through global partnerships connecting AAP Consortium institutions.

Presentations at the Spring 2024 Teaching and Learning Conference

Hosted by MSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation (CTLI), the Spring 2024 Teaching and Learning Conference had as theme “Equitable & Engaging Education for All,” making this a perfect opportunity to highlight the benefits that COIL can bring to students, faculty, and institutions.

During the virtual day of the conference, a faculty roundtable showcased COIL actiCOIL Roundtablevities being developed as part of our fellowship program; such event was moderated by Leticia Cherchiglia (GYAN’s Faculty Liaison & Program Coordinator) and featured as panelists two COIL fellows (1st cohort): MSU Faculty Antoinette Tessmer and Egerton University Faculty Benard Oloo. These faculty leaders discussed expected COIL-related learning goals/outcomes and highlighted the chosen virtual tools/technologies to support students’ engagement and intercultural collaborations. Below you can learn more about the two COIL projects being implemented by Tessmer and Oloo in 2024-2025:

  1. Antoinette Tessmer (Michigan State University) & Nkadi Onyegegbu (University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria will provide an opportunity for their students to discuss global issues affecting their lives and environments (such as waste management/waste recycling) and learn how to enact positive change in their own local communities.
  2. Benard Oloo (Egerton University, Kenya)​ & ​​​​​​Teresa Bergholz (Michigan State University) will offer their students an opportunity to learn how to best apply metagenomic theoretical concepts to practical settings leading to solutions to global and local food safety challenges.

COIL Poster Presentation

Then, during the in-person day of the conference, Cherchiglia and Tessmer presented together a poster titled "Advancing COIL at MSU through a Faculty Fellowship Program and a Faculty Learning Community," showcasing the current iteration of the COIL Faculty Fellows Program-Africa and discussing MSU’s COIL Faculty Learning Community leading role in serving as a community of inquiry not only for COIL fellows, but all MSU faculty interested in curriculum internationalization and innovative pedagogies such as COIL.

Oloo's visit
Representatives from the African Studies Center, Alliance for African Partnership, and GYAN welcoming Oloo to the International Center

After the conference, we were pleased to hear that Oloo was planning a visit to MSU campus. During such visit, updates about his COIL project were shared with team members of our COIL fellowship program (from the Global Youth Advancement Network, the Alliance for African Partnership, and the Office for Education Abroad). Oloo also met with the Visiting International Professional Program and the African Studies Center to explore ongoing and future collaborations with MSU.

GYAN thanks Oloo for his visit, and looks forward to meeting other African COIL fellows in-person as well.

Conversations with MSU Leadership

ISP Provost Visit

MSU's new president Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Thomas D. Jeitschko (Interim Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs) have recently visited the International Center to learn more about various methods of global engagement. The COIL Faculty Fellows Program-Africa was highlighted in both visits, including a presentation by Cherchiglia and Opal Leeman Bartzis (GYAN Interim Director and Executive Director of Education Abroad) which illustrated how COIL can serve as a way for MSU to advance global learning through a combination of strategic partnerships, faculty instructional leadership, internationalization of the curriculum, and student success. We are extremely thankful for these opportunities and hope such conversations can mark the beginning of a stronger and institutionalized COIL initiative at MSU.

Learn More & Get Involved: MSU COIL Faculty Learning Community

MSU COIL Faculty Leaning Community
A few members of the MSU COIL Faculty Learning Community during a monthly meeting

The "COIL Curriculum Integration for Course Content Internationalization" is an official MSU Faculty Learning Community (FLC) created in 2022 and facilitated by Antoinette Tessmer and Guanglong Pang from the Broad College of Business. Meeting once a month, this FLC provides resources and support for MSU faculty interested in: 

  • integrating a COIL activity into their current curriculum
  • discussing creative ways and practical concerns about COIL operation and student engagement
  • discussing ways of assessing COIL learning outcomes and learner impact

The FLC has been of extreme importance for the COIL Faculty Fellows Program-Africa, providing a safe space for MSU faculty and COIL fellows not only to share experiences and ideas on all things COIL-related, but also to network and build community with like-minded peers.

Additionally, through COIL students can gather soft skills much needed in today's complex world, filled with online and asynchronous communications, as explained by Tessmer: "I am a firm believer that humility, empathy, and the ability to communicate in a constructive manner are keys to a better world. When finding oneself in unexpected, challenging situations (such as COIL projects or learning abroad experiences), one should grab the opportunity to also develop soft skills that may become essential to improving those situations. Humbly asking your counterpart to repeat their point of view, not losing patience when asked to repeat your point of view, being determined to “build on” more than “argue against” your counterpart’s opinion, those are attitudes that can create a safe and productive space where a simple conversation may likely lead to great achievements."

If you are interested in offering a collaborative, international experience to your students, please email Tessmer (tessmer1(at)

"The COIL FLC's monthly meetings are a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of our weekly schedules. It is a time for safe conversations on a topic that we all enjoy contributing to in our own way." - Tessmer