We last shared insight from our Newcastle partner. This time we welcome our other partner, Dr. Kim Braun, a lecturer at Nutrition and Dietetics at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in the Netherlands.
Internationalization is an important theme of THUAS and one of our main goals is to educate our students to become global citizens. At the same time, inclusiveness is something to strive for as well. Not all activities related to internationalization lend itself for inclusive learning. For instance, not everyone has the opportunity to go abroad.
Therefore, we have designed our Nutrition and Dietetics curriculum to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to internationalization, with internationalization at home, for instance, by doing a COIL assignment. We learned that when making this assignment optional, those who might benefit the most would not participate. Therefore we made it mandatory for all our first year students to complete a COIL assignment.
IUPUI is one of the COIL partners for our first-year students. We start off with an online kick-off with both classes. After the kick-off they will collaborate in couples or small groups starting with an online meeting to get to know each other. Then they work on an assignment in which assumptions are addressed about each other’s countries when it comes to food habits or nutrition-related health issues. After discussing these assumptions with each other, they will go fact-checking, which often surprises them. They work on this assignment by having several online meetings and finally record a presentation.
The majority of students said they really enjoyed this course and the collaboration with a student abroad. They even preferred to have spent more time on COIL because they said it was so much fun!
The main feedback we received was that time is an issue. Besides the amount of time reserved for this assignment, they were also often struggling with time differences. Still, students worked around this issue, with some even agreeing to meet extremely early or very late! Some students recorded their presentation while traveling, while others met in the middle of the night to make sure they could meet and have time to talk to their partner.
The organization of COIL can be challenging, but the outcomes really make it worthwhile and contribute to our goal to educate global citizens. Through this assignment, they are able to develop their communication skills in a different language. They showed how much they learned and how prejudice was dissolved after collaborating with someone abroad. They enlightened not only their partners but me as well by presenting really interesting facts about their country. Some just connected really well with each other and formed new friendships. And all of them amazed me by the growth they showed in developing as a global citizen in such a short amount of time.