Minna Holopainen and COIL

Minna Holopainen received her Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts at San Jose State University, located in San Jose California. Minna J. Holopainen has worked as a communication practitioner, trainer, and lecturer with various organizations and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pakistan, and in Finland since 2008. Her work focuses on the practical application of dialogue, intercultural communication, leadership, and organizational change on diversity issues.

Holopainen  has been actively involved in the Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program(PDEEP), in particular with Collaborative Online Intercultural Studies (COIL).  COIL is a teaching and learning activity that promotes the development of intercultural competence and web based skills across shared multicultural learning environments-for any course. Holopainen will be presenting a talk on COIL at San Jose State University for the Innovation and Collaboration Expo for Teaching and Learning. Holopainen’s talk will being from 11:00AM -Noon on Thursday Oct. 1st in the Ballroom.

Below is a tidbit about Minna’s thoughts on the effects of COIL and what all those who attend her talk should expect from attending.

In your opinion what effects of COIL activities are the greatest?

“Breaking down stereotypes is, no doubt, the most obvious effect of COIL. When you don’t know anyone from a certain group of people, you have to lean on stereotypes. These stereotypes are challenged and modified when you meet and learn about individuals from this group. Students are very curious about their peers in Pakistan: what will they look and sound like? what do they study? what are their lives like? It’s also interesting to compare academic concepts, their application, and how they are taught in another country”.

What should those who attend your talk expect ?

“A brief introduction of COIL at SJSU, overview of the COIL projects between SJSU and Allama Iqbal Open University, and COIL stories from participating instructors and students. There will also be time for questions”.

Why should people support COIL activities?

“Because of the many benefits it offers: (1) experiential, intercultural learning, (2) deeper understanding of oneself and others in a globalizing world, (3) broader disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning, (4) online (team)working skills, (5) intercultural communication skills, (6) global networks for academics and professionals, and many more”.

What was your most memorable COIL experience?

“The moment when SJSU students saw, for the first time, their AIOU peers on a Skype conference call in Dr. Jason Laker’s and Dr. Munazza Ambreen’s classes. The anticipation, excitement, and elation on students’ faces was moving. Students’ curiosity about each other is the positive energy that we can use to build better intercultural and -personal relationships with people who are seemingly very different from us”.

Minna, PDEEP thanks you for all your contributions and we are forever indebted for all you have done with COIL.