Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL): Humber-Fontys Pilot Project

By Michallia Marks

A group of four students from Humber College, along with Professor and Program Coordinator, Hanadi Alnawab, commenced a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) pilot project between the following two programs/schools:

  • Bachelor of Commerce, Faculty of Business, Humber College
  • Digital Business Concepts Program, Fontys Academy for Creative Industries, The Netherlands

The main objectives of this pilot project include:

  • Explore international collaboration opportunities
  • Engage students in new digital technologies, and
  • Foster inquiry-based experiential learning

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May 25, 2019: The Humber team first met with the Canadian client, who is the owner and personal trainer at Core Fit Training, a small business that provides personal training for older adults (ages 50+). The client is in the process of launching a new online fitness program, and needs help to effectively market the program.

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After collecting information about the client’s business, a Project Brief was created by the Humber team, and shared with the Dutch team.

June 4, 2019: Both teams met via Skype, alongside the Canadian client, to further discuss the project and its deliverables. The excitement was palpable on all sides, as questions were eagerly asked and answers given. As the project continued, the Humber students worked closely with the Fonty students, via Skype meetings, to provide information about the Canadian business environment and additional information about the client’s business, as needed.

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Throughout the week of June 10th, both teams worked together to gather information in order to meet the deliverables of the project. The time difference was a huge factor as The Netherlands is 6 hours ahead of Canada. It became difficult at times to set up a meeting between the teams, therefore, we opted for the most effective medium of communication: creating a WhatsApp group. From there, the Dutch team requested the information they needed and the Canadian team would conduct their research to provide the required information. With only 3 and a half days to prepare a report and a presentation for the client, the teams worked tirelessly.

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On June 14, the day finally came for the presentation. When asked if he was excited about the presentation, our client shared that he was really curious to see what they came up with. The Dutch team, worked in two groups, presented their action plan. Many questions were asked by our client. At the end of the presentations, when asked about the ideas presented, our client admitted that he is pleased with the results. He went on to say that suggestions were made that he previously did not consider but will do further research on how to implement them into his business.

Both teams and the client shared that the experience was an interesting one. The Canadian team later confessed that it was a great learning process and even shared some funny moments during the experience. They admitted that they were unfamiliar with the models that they were asked by the Dutch team to provide information on. “Google was our best friend,” Darius and Michallia jokingly said. They went on to share about the language barrier. “In the whatsapp group, the Dutch team started having a conversation in Dutch, forgetting that we are not familiar with their language. We had to jump in, ‘Hello! Please remember us!’ ” The scenario brought so much humor, they recalled.

Relationships were built, connections were made, and an invaluable experience outside of the classroom was gained.  We look forward to continue building the relationship we have formed with Fontys, and eagerly await future international partnerships.

The meeting took place at Humber’s Lakeshore campus, and was followed by a brainstorming session to identify possible future projects with CoreFit Training.

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