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Saturday, March 17 • 10:30am - 11:30am
From Steamrolled Projects to Streamlined Assignments: How A Philosophy of “Less is More” Can Lead to More Effective International Collaboration

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Four experienced COIL faculty members invite you to a hands-on workshop for streamlining courses and activities to maximize conversation and collaboration and to minimize frustration for faculty and students.

Ice breaker activities are often highly successful at engaging students and helping them get to know one another. Yet, they don’t require much international collaboration, and are frequently little more than social exchanges. Nevertheless, the beginning week of a COIL project is sometimes the most successful week.

By contrast, group projects can easily become very complex, in an effort to produce results and products. The result is often a “Frankenstein Collaboration,” in which students have done individual work and then sewn the pieces together somewhat haphazardly. Or, it might be a “Steamrolled Collaboration,” appearing to reflect consensus, when in fact it was dictated by one or two heavy-handed students.

Both of these approaches hinder true international conversation, collaboration, and consensus building, since they emphasize product over process. This can lead to frustration, and COIL faculty and students can struggle with assessing what the students learned from the collaboration.

We will invite faculty members to work with a case study--an amalgam of our experiences -- to examine how a philosophy of “less is more” can lead to more effective international collaborations. Rather than focusing on the end product, students and faculty can redirect their efforts and focus instead on the process of international collaboration.

Ultimately, when streamlining COIL modules, weeding out the extras and simplifying assignments can often result in a stronger end product. This workshop will focus on streamlining the design of COIL courses and assignments, in order to maximize student conversation and collaboration and to increase the likelihood of building true consensus.

This workshop will help faculty help students focus on the process of collaboration, instead of finding themselves placing too much emphasis on producing an end product with or without true collaboration.


Marcia Blackburn

SUNY Broome Community College
Marcia Blackburn, SUNY Broome Community College, Binghamton, NY. Marcia studied communications. She teaches in Communications and History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences. She teaches History and Theory of Architecture, History and Theory of Photography and Media and Society. She... Read More →

Roberto Orozco Bush

Roberto Orozco Bush, Universidad de Celaya, Mexico. Roberto studied economics, finance and business administration. He teaches Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Financial Markets. He is Universidad de Celaya COIL Coordinator. He was part of COIL Latin America Academy in 2016

Lynda Carroll

SUNY Broome Community College
Lynda Carroll, SUNY Broome Community College, Binghamton, NY. Lynda is an anthropological archaeologist, with a background in historical archaeology of the Middle East an d North America, and Cultural Resource Management. She teaches Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Cultural... Read More →

Kathleen McKenna

Faculty member and COIL Coordinator, SUNY Broome Community College
Kathleen McKenna, SUNY Broome Community College, Binghamton, NY. Kathleen studied law and international relations. She teaches Political Science, Criminal Law, and Effective Speaking. She is also the campus COIL Coordinator. She has COIL-ed with Roberto Orozco for 4 semesters in public... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:30am - 11:30am EDT
Room 8 FIT Conference Center