COIL & Virtual Exchange

COIL Challenges & Solutions

Here’s a list for you of common problems that you may encounter during your COIL course and how you can overcome them.

Nov 09, 2021

We know how hard it is to get over the nervousness that comes with teaching a COIL course. What if you forget something important? What if you mess up your lesson plan while using a computer or a tablet? The digital setting makes it even harder for teachers to adjust to the new class environment.

Well, fret not! We got you covered. Here’s a list for you of common problems that you may encounter during your COIL course and how you can overcome them.

Technical Issues

As digital tools and online learning platforms become more popular, millions of instructors around the world experience the same problem: poor quality web streaming and unreliable Internet connections. This might make online discussions difficult to handle especially in an online international setting. Here are some alternatives to live discussions:

  • Upload your lessons and activities online. With ImmerseU, you can upload your class files in a collaboration room with your students. You can also easily embed additional study materials along with your lessons or activities.
  • Record your discussions. This will make it easier not just for you but for your students as well as they can access your discussions at any time. Just make sure to keep your lessons concise so your students don’t lose interest when watching the recordings.

Cultural Differences

To build intercultural competency, educators must acknowledge and understand the unique needs of their varied students. It can be quite challenging as you will be dealing with a lot of people from different cultures during your COIL course, but it won’t be that hard if you keep an open mind. 

Here’s how you can promote cultural awareness and inclusivity among your students and colleagues:

  • Encourage them to share their ethnic background. For instance, you could ask your students to complete activities that will help them explore their cultural backgrounds and get everyone involved. You may want to start exploring your own culture together with your co-teacher. You’ll likely discover lots of differences that will help you prepare a more inclusive program for everyone.
  • Be sensitive to language concerns. Study materials and activities should always be easy enough to understand by students who are not fluent in English. The same thing goes when communicating with your partner. Make sure you are both able to understand each other and the lessons and activities you prepare.

Time Management

Working online has its perks. You may get to work from home in your own personal space, but it can be difficult to manage your time efficiently. This is why it is important to make a schedule to avoid poor time management and inefficiency, but how can you build a proper schedule that works for everyone involved in your COIL course?

  • Make a schedule that works for all timezones involved. Which time zones do you need to cover? Take note as it may be difficult to find times that work for everyone depending on where the students in your course are located.
  • Set some personal time. Just because the internet is accessible 24/7 does not mean that you have to work all the time! Inform your students and colleagues about the times when you will be available and when you will be offline.
  • Set enough time for your students and colleagues to meet deadlines. Since everyone is working in a different timezone, you’ll need to plan in enough time for everyone to accomplish their tasks. Keep in mind that the time differences might mean that students in a different time zone could have less working hours available before a deadline. So avoid stressing them out by planning in ample time before any deadlines.

Do these sound like a lot to handle?

Then you’ll be relieved to hear that we’ve solved many of these issues with ImmerseU. With our collaborative and easy-to-use tools, you’ll be an internationally competent instructor in no time. Start your COIL journey with us today!


Connect your classroom to the world with ImmerseU. Bring your international courses to life with a network of collaborators that will make them happen. Plan your course with modules and activities, host courses that engage your students and foster cultural exchange. ImmerseU is your all-in-one platform to build and manage your international curriculum.

By Suzanne Orzech, Chief Marketing Officer of Class2Class™

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