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COIL Best Practices


“International Pest and Pollinator Management”

Faculty of the Enivornment and Natural Resources, Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein

Partner institution(s): Penn State University, USA

Course characteristics: In small teams, students from both universities jointly prepare virtual sessions with international experts, moderate the plenary discussion, and thus discover similar or different approaches in pest and pollinator management as well as the protection of livestock in landscape ecology from an international perspective. Teaching staff of this course received the Freiburg-Penn State Virtual Classroom Award 2020-21-

What teaching staff said: „With the Virtual Classroom we succeeded in learning from each other and building bridges: In terms of content in the field of landscape ecology and associated subjects that are central to the module's questions, as well as in intercultural, global exchange. The insight into a different academic working context and an unknown discussion culture was exciting; not only for the students, whose feedback was more than positive, but also for us teachers at the partner universities." (Prof. Dr. Alexandra-Maria Klein)

"Pandemics in History"

University College Freiburg, Dr. Simon Büchner

Partner institution(s): Stony Brook University (NY, USA), University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Centre for Medicine and Society, University of Freiburg

Course characteristics: In this joint course, around twenty students from three partner institutions study the outbreak detection and the management of pandemics. Building on previous digital collaboration in a global context, teaching staff created a more advanced course set-up (including an e-learning module) that also fits to different institutional needs of all partners involved. Specific student-centred virtual learning formats focus on students’ work in mixed teams. This course received funding by means of the DAAD’s “International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC)” programme.

What teaching staff said: “COIL is great to bring students together, who share a common interest, but are located in different places.” (Dr. Simon Büchner)

What students said: "Working in groups with people from different backgrounds was really amazing." (Anonymous student in the student evaluation)

“Aging in Globalized Societies"

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, PD Dr. Ingo Rohrer / Prof. Dr. Judith Schlehe (emerit.)

Partner institution(s): Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia), Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Course Characteristics: The joint learning and teaching project on “Aging in Globalized Societies was based on an already established programme where a large number of students gained their first field research experience in tandems or teams in Germany and Indonesia. Building upon this tried and tested learning environment,” students from Indonesia, Argentina, and Germany conducted their own field research exercises and engaged in an academic and intercultural exchange with partners in the respective countries about approaches, academic methods, results, and digital evaluation methods. This course received funding by means of the DAAD’s “International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC)” programme.

"Solar Energy Integration and Economics"

Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering – INATECH, Prof. Dr. Anke Weidlich

Course characteristics: In this course on “solar energy integration and economics”, faculty teams from Penn State and University of Freiburg partner to explore the technical and economic aspects of integration of renewable energy systems into modern grid networks. This idea is built upon the leading position of University of Freiburg in solar and grid technologies and renowned expertise of Penn State in energy and grid economics. The course has been be integrated in two existing online Master’s programs - Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (Penn State) and Solar Energy Engineering (Freiburg).

What teaching staff said: “This course offered great learning opportunities, not only for students. As a teacher, I gained many insights into how online teaching at Penn State works and what we could take as inspiration for our courses in Freiburg. The students were exposed to new teaching styles, which was a great experience for both student groups.” (Prof. Dr. Anke Weidlich)

What partners said: “While working with our Freiburg colleagues on this project, we realized that our approaches to online teaching are quite different, so we built on our strengths to develop a synergy that will hopefully lead to a richer learning experience for everyone involved.” (Assistant Teaching Professor Mark Fedkin, Penn State University)