New SUNY Poly Initiative Facilitates Shared Student Projects with Students at Universities Around the World

New SUNY Poly Initiative Facilitates Shared Student Projects with Students at Universities Around the World

Friday, August 13, 2021 - 13:18
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Melissa Prest and Dr. Thomova COIL

SUNY Poly is introducing a new, global online collaboration component to a number of courses that are offered to students, encouraging global learning by connecting SUNY Poly students with those attending other universities around the world.

Part of the SUNY Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program, several SUNY Poly professors have designed courses that now include a global focus in which students will be able to gain unique perspectives by working with counterparts in other regions of the world to complete a shared project via synchronous and asynchronous virtual sessions.

Notably, the SUNY Poly program kicked off with students who take part in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY Poly being able to work with students from UNIMINUTO, Colombia, and share lessons from their academic journeys, gaining invaluable international experience

“The exciting launch of these collaborative learning programs that transcend national boundaries, especially at a time when travel may still be challenging as a result of the pandemic, is an inspiring way in which we can encourage exposure to new ideas and perspectives while expanding global awareness,” said Dr. Zora Thomova, SUNY Poly Director of Global Programs and Professor of Mathematics. “I would like to encourage even more faculty to consider further opening their classrooms to the world as we provide unique educational experiences that will help students to thrive in our global society.”

International Collaborations Include the Following Courses for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Semesters:

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY Poly with Melissa Prest, Director of EOP and Multicultural Affairs

  • Partner: UNIMINUTO, Colombia
  • Topic: Students are given the opportunity to gain unique perspectives by engaging with students from UNIMINUTO University in Colombia. Students share lessons from their academic journeys and compare what it is like to be a first-year college student in the U.S. versus Colombia and vice versa. Students gain invaluable international experience by sharing their respective countries cultures.
  • When: Summer 2021
  • Program will then extend to Fall 2021 to include FYS (First Year Seminar) students who opt for this opportunity

Art and Culture with Professor Boylan

  • Partner: UDEM, Monterrey, Mexico
  • Topic: Students will examine creative works and cultural artefacts together to collaboratively produce and exchange storyboards or comics that show their own appreciation for cultures’ histories and creative processes, as well as cross-cultural perspectives.
  • When: Fall 2021

Research Methods (Psychology) with Professor Rebecca Weldon

  • Partner: Universidade do Vale do Rios dos Sinos, Brazil
  • Topic:  Evaluating Claims: Critically Thinking About What You Read on the Internet. Is it true? Is it false? How do I know? The increased use of technology in today's society leads to the rapid spread of misinformation. Students will work in small groups to evaluate information they are exposed to online (e.g., on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok). Students will locate and interpret the research on the topic at hand (e.g., what does the scientific research say on "masks help prevent the spread of the virus," or, "vaccines contain a microchip to track you"?). Students will explore how and why conspiracy theories spread, based on what we know about the brain's susceptibility to heuristics and biases.
  • When: Fall 2021

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with Professors Lynne Longtin and Cynthia Grabski

  • Partner: Universitas Area Andina, Colombia
  • Topic: Students will create a public awareness educational program, such as a PowerPoint or brochure, to teach non-health care workers the importance of preventing a disease and some methods to help individuals already suffering from a problem like obesity.
  • When: Spring 2022

Additionally, the following professors are planning a COIL collaborations for Spring 2022 courses:

Science, Technology, and Human Values: Food in Society with Professor Boylan

  • Topic: Students will analyze common foods in their diet, with discussion of traditions, habits, and changes wrought by industrialization, international trade, and climate change. Students can also share experiences in DIY food production across climate ranges and cultures.
  • When: Spring 2022

American Women’s History with Professor Boylan

  • Topic: The course is specifically called “American” rather than “US” to invite hemispheric comparisons (Canada, Latin America, and Caribbean) and involves a module in which students from different regions in the Americas collaborate on projects to explore shared and divergent experiences (e.g. indigenous experiences, racialization of social hierarchies, campaigns for women’s rights, explorations of gender roles beyond binaries, etc.)
  • When: Spring 2022

For more information about these virtual international educational opportunities, including how professors can develop their own international component or how students can get involved, please contact Dr. Thomova at