Mira International Learning Exchange (MILE) A Centre for Virtual Collaboration
Mira International Learning Exchange: A Centre for Virtual Collaboration arose out of its rewarding interaction with LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York and its programme titled COIL: Collaborative Online International Learning which “allows faculty partners in different parts of the world to develop a shared curricular project and engage their students using online tools (synchronous and asynchronous).” Globally other terms used to describe this practice are Virtual Exchange, Telecollaboration, Online Intercultural Exchange
To promote cross-border communication and exchanges of knowledge
To be part of a process that encourages tolerance, respect and sharing
To introduce potential ideas that could lead to other virtual collaborations
To open up new horizons in global teaching and learning
To connect teachers across the world to enhance research
To connect teachers across the world to enhance research
Outcomes of the MILE courses for participating students
Comparing issues, policies, and beliefs across cultures
Exploring global ethics (e.g. ethical tourism, COVID-19)
Exposure to and engagement with divergent perspectives
Critical reflection on how various participants view the world
Providing or receiving international peer mentorship
Serving as cultural informants
Addressing and receiving feedback from international peer audience
Writing collaborative academic papers
ST MIRA’S COLLEGE STEPS INTO THE FUTURE WITH ITS VIRTUAL INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The Department of English, St Mira's College organised an FDP on 6th July 2020 at 6.30 pm (IST) titled "An Introduction to COIL-Collaborative Online International Learning" along with LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York to begin the process of training its staff for collaborative international online learning (COIL) with faculty across the world.
COVID-19 may have brought in its wake closing of borders but in the virtual world it opened up wonderful possibilities. Due to the success of its COIL project on the partition of India, the English department has taken the initiative to form a virtual learning centre for the college. The first step is this webinar to introduce the staff to the process of collaborative learning. It will be followed by several more interactive workshops and training sessions.
Dr Olga Aksakalova, COIL Co-ordinator City University of New York that has 17 colleges under its purview, spoke on the purpose, scope and objective of COIL. She covered topics like course content and teaching methodology, intra and interdisciplinary collaborations, student-generated learning and the use of technology for brainstorming, getting to know partners and to execute a programme of about 12-15 weeks. She said that one of the advantages of COIL is that, “it provides readiness for a globalized workforce by imparting 21st-century skills like the ability to communicate with or for a global audience via digital means.”
Dr Tuli Chatterjee (LaGuardia Community College) explained the difficulties of the Partition of India COIL programme and its aims which was to craft narratives of healing out of narratives of partition by educating students to work together and build bridges that remind us we are all human.
Dr Maya Avva and Dr Alice Baldwin- Jones explained their various COIL projects. Dr Avva is from the Department of Education and wishes to explore the parallels between Spanish and Hindi whilst Dr Baldwin-Jones a social anthropologist is researching food and the politics of hunger.
The staff at St Mira’s as well as the students are all fired up to share and learn and in the process hopefully contribute to a more peaceful, tolerant and inclusive world.
La Guardia Mira COIL: The Partition of India
On the 10 th of September, 2019, St Mira’s College Pune and LaGuardia Community College New York embarked on a path-breaking pedagogical experiment and they were joined by the Department of English and Humanities, University of Liberal Arts, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Institute of Communication and Cultural Studies, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan.
In a world that seems to be building walls, these four educational institutions collaborated on a shared syllabus to understand narratives of partition and explore narratives of healing. The students studied Ice-candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa, Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, “Toba Tek Singh” by Manto, “Rabeya Apa” by Ashraf Siddiqui and the article “The Great Divide” by William Dalrymple. A total of 90 students from Pune, Lahore, Dhaka, and New York collaboratively read partition literature to celebrate both differences and commonality between diverse cultures and backgrounds..
Ummesalama Karu, a second year student from St Mira’s College, says the reason she joined COIL or the collaboration was, “to know about the diversity and how people in the world are different and similar to Indians.” To which the students at LaGuardia Community College responded, “We value diversity and look forward to discussing everything.” What a wonderful way to celebrate difference!!
Brainstorming between LaGuardia Community College and St Mira’s College: In search of future collaborations, 25 th June and 4 th July 2020
Webinar: “An Introduction to COIL: Collaborative Online International Learning” For St. Mira’s College Faculty interested in participating in COIL, 6 th July 2020:
End July: Workshop on match-making teachers across the world
September and October: Workshops by Dr Olga Aksakalova
Hands-on training by MILE (St Mira’s college) and COIL (LaGuardia Community College) faculty respectively
December: MILE Webinar- Participating Teachers and Students to present their various Virtual collaborations, the hurdles and achievements