COIL – Collaborative Online International Learning / Virtual Exchange

Especially within Europe, the term "Virtual Exchange" is also used for COIL.

What is COIL?

Constituent elements of Collaborative Online International Learning are:

  • Collaboration between teachers at universities in different countries: Teachers consult with colleagues at the partner university within their own, thematically similar course and plan joint online teaching units; courses do not need to be completely digital and can be combined with face-to-face teaching.
  • Interactive tasks for students to work on in internationally mixed teams - "Students engage in collaborative online work with students from other universities as part of their studies at their local institution"
  • Students receive credits for the course at their home university


  • Unbureaucratic implementation - no bilateral agreements or authorisation required
  • International & intercultural experience for students, often also acquisition of foreign language skills, acquisition of digital competences
  • Enabling international experience also for non-mobile students (care obligations, employment); climate-friendly

Resources for COIL at the University of Vienna


Financial support
With which universities can I do COIL?
Example for COIL at the University of Vienna

Element in new Erasmus+ programme generation (2021-2027): Erasmus+ Blended Intensive Programmes

The combination of short, intensive physical mobility for students (5-30 days) with virtual components before, during and/or after the period of physical mobility.
The virtual component will essentially involve collaborative online learning exchange and teamwork.
  • Joint courses from at least 3 universities from 3 programme countries
  • Combination of COIL elements and short-term physical mobility (e.g. joint summer school, project week)
  • Physical mobility is funded by Erasmus+ grants (for students and teachers)
  • Mandatory award of ECTS
  • Specific programme guidelines are pending
  • First round of application in April 2021 (in the course of the Erasmus+ mobility application of the International Office, no separate project application)