Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

James Madison University was named one of six U.S. colleges and universities chosen to be part of the American Council on Education’s U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative, which aims to expand U.S.-Japan higher education ties through collaborative online international learning, a method of linking faculty and students in two countries for shared teaching and learning using online communication. Faculty from JMU and Kansai University in Osaka, Japan, will collaborate to develop joint syllabi, and students in the two countries will then work together to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives.

For more information, please contact Felix Wang at

Engaging Difference: A Deep Dive into the Assessment of Transformative Learning

The Center for Global Engagement and a research team from Elon University received the Colonial Academic Alliance’s 2018 IN/CO $40,000 Grant, awarded in support of a multi-institutional project entitled Engaging Difference: A Deep Dive into the Assessment of Transformative Learning. The study will investigate the importance of understanding the background and prior experiences learners bring to high impact, global learning environments while investigating transformative learning outcomes of self-awareness, other-awareness, and complex thinking.

To view a PDF describing the grant and 2018 recipients, click here.

For more information, please contact Vesna Hart at

Realizing the Power of Transformative Learning in Higher Education: An Innovative Approach to Cultivating the Whole Student

This collaborative project between James Madison, Elon, and Kansai University with Crossing Borders Education (CBE) elucidates creative ways to encourage, strengthen and nurture authentic student voices, which are instrumental to the development of emotional intelligence and intercultural awareness. The current shifting landscape of global higher education has brought our project a new meaning, focus and urgency for dynamic resources that can facilitate meaningful dialogue and reflection in any online learning environment--addressing the pressing need for deep interpersonal connections around topics of emotional well-being in uncertain times. What we observed in this project can help to address a number of key challenges of online interactions by supporting students to overcome isolation and address fears by connecting deeply across differences.

In collecting video and focus group data from students through selected courses, we noted that large group online interactions alone do not produce deep learning. Some key elements for learning in a virtual space are: 1) assessing who students are before they participate; 2) intentionally creating small, diverse group interactions in virtual exchange and 3) preparing for intercultural dialogue through Micro-Learning Units.

This project further discovered how difficult it is for students to produce authentic video content in an academic class setting, as it requires emotional vulnerability and, subsequently, requires sufficient time for trust building and shared experiences. This brief video offers a glimpse of what we have learned from one aspect of our project that features Crossing Borders Education’s use of authentic peer video prompts to model and facilitate self-awareness

For more information, please contact Vesna Hart at

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