On April 10th, 2014, as part of the PDEEP April 2014 Faculty Exchange Professor Minna Holopainen of the Communications Studies Department San Jose State University conducted a web-seminar open to the faculty and students on AIOU’s main campus and broadcast to two of AIOU’s Regional Centers in Omerkot and D.G. Khan. This seminar entitled “Collaborative Online International Learning: Connecting you to the World” described the importance of cultural understanding and introduced the various opportunities for cross-cultural study between SJSU and AIOU faculty and students. In introducing the topic of cultural understanding, Professor Holopainen opened the field for discussion by relaying her own experiences as a native of Finland coming to the United States for the first time. Using the playful example of different techniques making a bed she noted that though she had obvious preferences for her own sensibilities and ways of doing things that she had been brought up with, she grew to understand the value of cultural understanding in her life and in the world in general especially for things that lead to similar results.
In regards to cultural understanding in the field of education Professor Holopainen used her own experiences as a professor at SJSU in collaboration with JAMSK University in Finland she stated “Academic institutions need to provide students opportunities to learn and practice working in international online teams in order to prepare students for success in today’s global marketplace.” COIL, short for Cooperative Online International Learning, is a methodology originally developed by the SUNY(State University of New York) Center for Collaborative Online International Learning to provide “innovative cost-effective internationalization strategies”. Having already begun implementing her strategy to raise awareness about COIL at SJSU, Professor Holopainen then showcased some of the videos of SJSU faculty excited to take part in cooperation with AIOU professors and students to conduct research and experience first hand the thrill of cross-cultural learning. For more information on COIL and the other ideas introduced in this brilliant lecture we invite you indulge in the full captioned videos below along with written transcripts.