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COIL: Connecting with Mexico Online and On Campus

COIL visitor from Mexico
October 25, 2016

UMD Students gain international experience without leaving Duluth.

Students at UMD are gaining international experience through Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiatives. This fall, two visitors from Mexico have visited our UMD campus to strengthen their collaborations with UMD faculty and students.

In September, Dr. Marcos Algara-Siller from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, visited campus and gave a talk about a sustainability project in Mexico at an elementary school where he and students worked to create gardens, a rainwater catchment and irrigation system, & make use of alternative sources of energy.  The project provides energy cost savings, food for kids, participatory opportunities for families, curriculum grounded in the gardens, & an irrigated soccer field. Dr. Algara-Siller is engaged in a COIL project on sustainability with Dr. David Syring of the Anthropology Department, utilizing the Participatory Media Lab, a student and faculty resource for social research and activism.

In October, Dr. Damián Martínez Villatoro, an English Professor from the Autonomous University of Chiapas, Mexico, visited our campus as part of COIL project with Professor Andrew Snustad of Hispanic Studies. The two professors (pictured above), who met at a COIL workshop in Cuernavaca in June 2016, hosted a COIL Community of Practice session to discuss the specifics of their cross cultural collaboration, which engages their students in a series of cultural conversations that culminate in a virtual translation project. Professor Martínez Villatoro also gave a talk about the educational system and culture of Chiapas, a strongly indigenous region of southern Mexico.

For more Information about Collaborative Online International Learning at UMD, visit the COIL website (

Contact Professor Syring ( or Professor Snustad ( to learn more about their COIL projects.

Dr. Marcos Algara-Siller with students

Dr. Marcos Algara-Siller with Anthropology student Stephenie Cole and Advanced Spanish students Alex Swenson, Anna Dowson, Kolene Keller, Claire Desautels, Olga Acuna and Weiqing (Vicky) Huang