03 March 2020

Keiko Ikeda

Kansai University launches 'COIL Plus' and 'Multilateral COIL' education initiatives to enhance initial online exchanges between geographically separated university students with follow-up direct student-to-student interactions.

Keiko Ikeda

Professor, Division of International Affairs

(Osaka, 3 March 2020) The COIL Plus and 'Multilateral COIL' initiatives are an integral part of the Kansai University Institute for Innovative Global Education (IIGE) platform. The programs are designed to enhance students' global learning experiences and nurture their mindsets as capable members of the global workforce of the 21st century.

Kansai University COIL program

The KU-COIL Plus Initiative and High Impact Learning

The COIL Plus initiative was launched by the Kansai University Institute for Innovative Global Education (IIGE) platform to enhance students' global learning experiences.

"The COIL Plus initiative consists of two phases," says Professor Keiko Ikeda, Vice-Director, Center of International Education at Kansai University. "In the first 'virtual' phase, students interact online using modern communication tools such as video conferencing. Then, in the subsequent "Plus" phase, students actually travel to each other's home institutions and work together on pre-planned tasks, thereby enhancing their learning experience; this is referred to as 'high impact learning'."

The COIL Plus program consists of three tracks: (1) Nurturing cross-cultural competence, negotiation skills, practical foreign language and team working skills; (2) Task-based learning in an international virtual team in the students' area of specialization; (3) Aiming for certification in inter-faculty programs at a U.S. institute through advanced learning skills.

Partner Universities in the U.S.

  • Northern Arizona University, Center for International Education
  • University of California, Berkeley, Extension International Programs
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo, International Student Services & Intercultural Education
  • University of Hawaii – Kapi'olani Community College, Paul S. Honda International Center
  • Northern Illinois University, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Mathematics
  • Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, Office of International Programs
  • The University at Albany, State University of New York, Center for International Education and Global Strategy
  • Clemson University, Department of Bioengineering
  • James Madison University, Center for Global Engagement
  • Michigan State University, Department of Statistics and Probability

Multilateral COIL Initiative: UMAP-COIL Joint Honors Program

In the summer of 2019, IIGE launched the UMAP-COIL Joint Honors Program (Multilateral COIL Plus) in cooperation with University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) and the Peace Boat East Asia Voyage.

During the eight-week program, 16 students from six countries, first engaged in a three week pre-mobility COIL, followed by a one week onshore seminar orientation at Kansai University, and finally a three week cruise around Japan with stops in Russia and South Korea on the Peace Boat.

Online Session Report

Osaka Seminar

Activities Reports


Kansai University Institute for Innovative Global Education (IIGE) Platform and Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

IIGE is funded by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and supported by the American Council of Education (ACE) and US Embassy in Tokyo. Through this joint effort, IIGE strives to promote the COIL method of education as a platform for internationalization through online and project-based virtual exchange programs for students in Japan to interact with counterparts in the U.S. and other partner countries. As part of MEXT's Inter-University Exchange Program, this five-year project (2018-2022) has been granted approximately 150,000,000 JPY over five years to achieve the project goals set forth by MEXT.

"The IIGE platform evolved from the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) teaching method that I launched at Kansai University nearly four years ago," explains Dr. Ikeda. "Kansai University students taking part in COIL programs use information and communication technology to connect with their counterparts in other countries."

COIL encourages students to pursue collaborative projects that are designed to instill wide-ranging skills such as team management and cross-cultural communication. Notably, one of the strengths of the COIL approach is that students interact 'virtually' via the internet, thereby providing students who may not otherwise have had the opportunity due to financial or educational program constraints to interact with their peers around the globe.

"COIL is a cost-efficient way for many students to work on international projects and the approach overcomes differences in term times and curricula between universities in Japan and overseas," says Dr. Ikeda. "At KU approximately 1,000 students have participated in the COIL program over four years. It is difficult to envisage so many students taking part in standard exchange programs."

Gateway to Global Careers

One of the ultimate goals of IIGE is to nurture students with 'global career mindsets'. Dr. Ikeda sees IIGE as a "gateway to global careers." In fact, her experience introducing COIL educational methods to KU "has shown that many students who finish the COIL projects eventually plan their own career tracks with global perspectives."

COIL as a Platform for Internationalization at Domestic Japanese Universities

A total of 13 universities in Japan were selected by MEXT to disseminate COIL educational methods, with Kansai University appointed the lead role of managing the promotion of COIL programs throughout the country.

Kansai University (leading role as facilitator of the platform for the other Japanese universities in the project)
Chiba University
The University of Tokyo
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
International Christian University
Tokyo University of the Arts
Kagoshima University
University of the Ryukyus (Okinawa)
Osaka City University
Sophia University
Ochanomizu University
University of Shizuoka
Nanzan University

COIL Data for (2018-2019)
Number of COIL Partnerships Supported: 10 Japanese universities; 64 U.S. universities; 14 non-U.S. universities

Number of "COIL Plus" Study Abroad Students: 214 outbound, JPN to U.S.; 217 inbound, U.S. to Japan.

Number of Students Participating in COIL Courses: JPN 948 and US 557

For further information, please contact the IIGE Secretariat

Attn: Mr. Masanori Tojo

Kansai University
International Education Support Team
3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka 564-8680 JAPAN
TEL: +81 6 6368 1950

Kansai University Institute for Innovative Global Education

  • Virtual Exchange at Kansai University IIGE COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning)
  • Virtual Exchange at Kansai University IIGE COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning)

Virtual Exchange at Kansai University IIGE COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning)

Students participating in the UMAP-COIL Joint Honors Program aboard the Peace Boat

Students participating in the UMAP-COIL Joint Honors Program aboard the Peace Boat