Apr 29, 2020

Vancouver, BC – Social distancing and COVID-19 haven’t prevented students at Langara College from collaborating with their peers at Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento (UNGS) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Langara is introducing cutting-edge pedagogy by supporting faculty to introduce Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning - Virtual Exchange (COIL-VE) to the classroom.

Under the tutelage of Langara’s Latin American Studies instructor Jessie Smith and Antonella Romiti (UNGS), students in Latin American Cultural Perspectives created photo galleries that reflect on interculturalism and art for social change from a gender perspective.

The student projects are:

  • Femicides in the Americas: how media coverage of femicide shields the aggressors

  • Abortion in Canada and Argentina: a photo-gallery comparison about abortion rights in Argentina and Canada

  • LGTBIQ Rights in Canada and Argentina

  • Indigenous Women Under Attack in the Americas

  • Me Too/Ni Una Menos: how the Me Too movement has involved in each country

  • Musicians for Change: Women Rising

“This was an exciting opportunity for Langara’s students to interact with and exchange mutual ideas with their peers from Argentina,” said Smith. “Their final projects exhibited insight and creativity that far exceeded our expectations. It was a joy to collaborate on this creative project with Antonella, my counter-part in Argentina.”

COIL-VE intentionally fosters the development of the intercultural competencies that are needed for success in today’s world and work force. Student groups from two or more institutions work together virtually to complete a project.

"This experience has been absolutely mesmerizing and new to me,” said Sole Castenada, a Langara student taking Latin America Studies. “I feel so privileged to be able to be a part of such an innovative learning process where multiple cultures have the opportunity to mesh into one virtual dimension of academic nurturing and creative collaboration."

Langara's Centre for Intercultural Engagement (CIE) has developed a COIL-VE Community of Practice to support Langara Fellows engaged in virtual exchange. CIE additionally offers COIL-VE workshop training sessions to Faculty partners from external institutions to support development of joint virtual student learning projects. Following these workshops participants become part of the Langara COIL-VE Community of Practice, gaining access to discussions, peers, and resources.

“Virtual learning is a relatively new program at Langara which started in 2019 with the objective of helping students gain intercultural and global competencies. We’re encouraged by the results we’ve seen from the first couple of projects,” said Natasha Mrkic-Subotic, Intercultural Engagement Consultant, Langara College. “Given the challenges with in-classroom learning we’re facing, this delivery method is an ideal way to engage our students and build relationships nationally and around the world.”

More about COIL-VE

Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning, also called Virtual Exchange, is a method for connecting faculty and their students with peers in other countries via the internet. The model involves in-depth cooperation between paired faculty co-designing parts of courses (to entire courses) and students collaborating in small groups to complete shared projects. COIL-VE produces meaningful, authentic intercultural experiences for faculty and students without the cost and extensive time away from home. For students, COIL-VE increases interest in study abroad. For faculty, COIL-VE increases international faculty collaboration and future short-term exchanges.

About snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓, a name given to it by the Musqueam people on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located. Langara is celebrating its 49th year on West 49th Avenue with Beyond 49, an integrated celebration, alumni engagement, and fundraising campaign to reconnect with alumni, and raise funds for student support and important College initiatives.

Learn more.
Mark Dawson
Manager, Public Affairs 



Photo: Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa