Phnom Penh International University and De La Salle University Collaboration in the SHARE VE / COIL Scholarship Batch 6
The SHARE Programme is pleased to announce the completion of three series of COIL collaborations developed and implemented by Phnom Penh International University (PPIU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) under Batch 6 of the SHARE VE / COIL Scholarship Programme. The courses covered a range of subjects, from Introduction to Asian Culture (led by Ms Rowena C. Sodela of PPIU and Mr Jose Ma. Arcadio Malbarosa of DLSU), Economics (led by Mr Chuk Chamnan of PPIU and Dr Jason Alinsunurin of DLSU), and Introduction to Operating Systems (led by Mr Y. Sokha of PPIU and Engr. Michael Manguerra of DLSU).
Held between January 29th and February 25th, 123 students from the two universities participated in the three courses. Over the course of a month, the students of each institution could engage in various cross-cultural learning activities with their counterparts.
In the Introduction to Asian Cultures course, the COIL activities exposed students to both traditional and contemporary Asian cultures that enabled them to discover existing cultural similarities and historical bonds, ultimately leading to stronger solidarity between the two cohorts. Students in this course worked on a video blog (vlog) as their final assignment, entitled “My Country, My Identity”, to showcase their own cultures, beliefs, tradition, and interesting facts about their countries. Making these vlogs helped them realize that they are part of a wider Southeast Asian culture that makes for a greater whole and encompassing identity despite their national cultural differences.
Although language can sometimes become a barrier when conducting international collaborations such as COIL, the lecturers and students could overcome this barrier by finding common cultural references between Cambodia and the Philippines. For example, when discussing the term ‘kernel’, which is also a technical term used in Operating Systems, they picked a known reference to understand better as in kernel of corn found in street food. Students from this course were then able to summarise their learnings by creating a group presentation and report on Introduction to Operating Systems and VMware, presented by a mixed group of PPIU and DLSU students.
Groupwork was also an essential component in the Economics course, where the trainer assigned the students to eight groups consisting of equal numbers of students from PPIU and DLSU. In this course, students were encouraged to explore how cultural practices and traditions in the region can shape and influence their economy. The COIL format allowed them to engage in learning the course content both through their unique cultural lens and also by exchanging their cultural and experiential perspectives as they moved through the learning material together.
Overall, the COIL format enriched many of the students’ learning experiences for these courses. Nasher Deron, a DLSU student in the Economics course, remarked, “In an era of physical division, opportunities that allow us to mingle with people from different parts of the world scale us back to reality—and that is what the COIL course made me feel... Moreover, I found no geographical barriers, it made the experience authentic. It even felt like my group—composed of Cambodian and Filipino students—were all in just one city, separated only by the COVID-19 safety measures.”
Whereas Keo Amporpich, a PPIU student from the Introduction to Asian Cultures course, particularly enjoyed the parallel group activities, which allowed him to learn and have fun with his fellow peers, “We were easy-going to set up a plan and discussion. We took an hour to ask each other about hobbies and exchange ideas on the intercultural encounters topic. While discussing, we laughed, and we made the best memories on the first day we met.”
The COIL courses provided a unique learning experience for the students and the lecturers involved. Engr. Michael Manguerra, DLSU lecturer for the Introduction to Operating Systems course, remarked, “COIL gave us a much-needed change of class environment and a broader perspective of ASEAN.”
Ms Rowena Sodela of PPIU echoed this sentiment, “I’ve been teaching Introduction to Asian Cultures for many years, but I am so lucky this year because my course was turned 360 degrees… It became more interactive, emphasized experiential learning and provided my students with a chance to collaborate with other lecturers and students abroad.”
The SHARE Programme currently supports two more COIL courses in Batch 6 of the SHARE Scholarship. The upcoming batch 7 and 8 of the SHARE VE / COIL Scholarship will provide an innovative and rewarding experience to the students, lecturers, and International Relations Offices involved by broadening their networks and allowing for opportunities for cross-cultural interactions and teamwork through digital modalities. (***)