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The DVC Teaching and Learning: Professor Nomthandazo Gwele and the Directorate of International Education and Partnerships: Dr Lavern Samuels, awarded certificates to 64 DUT students for the completion of the first General Education (Gen Ed) Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Project at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), on 8 October 2018.

Dr Samuels welcomed the student award recipients, adding that it was the first time that students were being presented with certificates for the completion of the COIL module, making them COIL pioneers.

“Teaching and learning at a University is something that you (students) have to constantly reflect on. We (DUT) should always be striving for excellence and looking at better ways of doing things. We want you (students) to be better equipped with all skills to make a change, not only to your lives but a change to society and the communities that we live in.

Programmes like Gen Ed and COIL help enrich the curriculum in a way that equips you (students) to be better members of society and to drive change in our society which is needed at the moment,” he said.

Dr Samuels also said that COIL is an activity that had started at DUT three years ago. He said it was founded in 2006 by the State University of New York Professor Jon Rubin, as a model for fostering cross-cultural student competence through the development of multicultural learning environments that links universities or college classes in different countries online. He added that COIL provides innovative cost-effective internationalisation strategies, fosters staff and student interaction with peers abroad, through co-taught multicultural online and blended learning environments emphasizing experiential student collaboration.

At the forefront of the first COIL project were COIL project facilitators, Dr Temitope Adekunle, Mrs Sumboornam Moodley (DUT) and Professor Susan Belair (MCC). The project was overseen by the HoD of General Education, Dr Delysia Timm.

Giving more insight about the project, Gen Ed’s project facilitator, Dr Temitope Adekunle said the COIL project was embedded in cultural diversity, a general education module in collaboration with the Monroe Community College in USA. “We had 64 DUT students (Environmental Health -second year students and Food Technology- first year students) and 23 MCC students (Sociology department). The experience was worthwhile as it enabled barrier breaking cross-culturally and interdisciplinary. Students were able to interrogate issues of stereotypes and prejudices about their self and others and this provided access to diverse means for knowledge seeking and the acknowledgement of more ways of knowing, learning and unlearning,” she said.

Dr Adekunle also added that the project was successfully designed and implemented in the first semester of 2018 at DUT and it had yielded incredible outputs- such as paper presentations and publications in local workshops, as well as local and international conferences, one of which is in November 2018 in Spain.

DUT COIL students Zizipho Mini and Nokothula Qwabe said they had thoroughly enjoyed the COIL project and learnt so much about the diverse cultures that exist on campus, the usage of technology as well as how to communicate more effectively and think in a more critical manner.

Giving the vote of thanks, Dr Timm expressed her gratitude to the students for their dedication and their perseverance to complete the COIL module. She also thanked the IEP and the Gen Ed staff for their commitment and all that they have done to ensure that the project was a great success.

Pictured: Some of the DUT COIL recipients, along with DUT staff, at the COIL awards ceremony.

Waheeda Peters

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