Asee peer logo

Can the COVID-19 pandemic boost collaborative online international learning (COIL) in engineering education? – A review for potential implementations

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Division Poster Session

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Erick Vasquez University of Dayton

visit author page

Erick S. Vasquez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Dayton. His educational research interests are community-based learning, open-ended laboratory experiments, teamwork, collaborative and active learning, and Transport Phenomena computational modeling. Erick was born in El Salvador and there received his BEng in Chemical Engineering at UCA. He obtained his MS from Clemson University and his PhD from Mississippi State University, both in Chemical Engineering.

visit author page


Erick Ramos

visit author page

Erick Ramos a professor in the Department of Processes Engineering and Environmental Sciences at the Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” (UCA), El Salvador. He received his BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the UCA and his MS and PhD in research in chemistry and chemical engineering from The Instituto Químico de Sarrià, Barcelona, Spain. His research interests are related to fixed bed separation processes and use of biomass to obtain products with high added value. He has taught the Unit Operations I, Thermodynamic of Processes, Separation Processes and Unit Operations III courses.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Several adverse consequences resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. These have affected academia at many levels, including mandatory requirements for educators and students worldwide to switch to remote online learning or blended learning. This need exacerbated new technology and software learning to maintain proper communication and student engagement during online lectures. For instructors, these demands included learning how to use software to produce high-quality lessons, either in a pre-recorded format for asynchronous learning or through live online lectures for synchronous learning. For students, it meant rapid adaptability to learn video teleconferencing communication tools and a demand to keep up with multiple courses and learning management systems (LMS). Nonetheless, this accelerated learning of online communication tools bridges a technology gap that previously limited online international education.

Students and instructors worldwide are now familiar with online connectivity tools; thus, it is essential to review potential opportunities to increase collaborative learning and education, particularly at an international level. In the past, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) programs provided stewardship to global learning experiences at many universities worldwide. Broadly, these should cover four significant aspects: (a) collaborations with students in other countries with other backgrounds and cultures, (b) engagement through online interactions for assignment completion or lectures, (c) development and assessment of students’ global perspectives and competencies, and a (d) reflective aspect of learning and education.

This study reviews previous COIL implementations in the literature, emphasizing chemical engineering and other STEM courses. To our knowledge, COIL implementations are widespread in social sciences; however, few reports highlight these practices in engineering courses. We review perspectives, methodologies, challenges, and resources needed for positive and long-lasting COIL implementations here. In addition, we offer a plan to implement a short-term COIL-based project in a chemical engineering course with faculty participants from the US and El Salvador. Any engineering educators planning to implement COIL activities can use these suggestions. Ultimately, this low-cost pedagogy could significantly aid in promoting cultural, technical, and global competence in engineering students in the next post-pandemic years.

Vasquez, E., & Ramos, E. (2022, August), Can the COVID-19 pandemic boost collaborative online international learning (COIL) in engineering education? – A review for potential implementations Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015