Global Education

Virtual Programs


What is global online learning?

Global online experiences play an important role in providing students with the opportunity to become more aware. While this can include virtual exchange or COIL (collaborative online international learning), online global learning generally encompasses the many ways that technology can bring people together across borders to learn from one another and gain important intercultural competencies. The key components of high-quality online global learning experiences include intentionality, diversity of voices and mutually beneficial experiences. These virtual experiences can achieve many of the same learning outcomes observed with traditional education abroad programs.

How is global online learning different than other virtual/online courses?

Intentional engagement, interaction with students and instructors and learning with others at a host institution abroad sets the global learning and cultural exchanges modality apart from many distance learning courses. These virtual opportunities provide another path for students to gain intercultural competencies and are featured and, in part, coordinated by the Office of International Affairs.

What are the benefits?

With proper facilitation, both education abroad and virtual exchanges can provide sustained opportunities for students to learn from one another and become culturally engaged. It is well-documented that education abroad fosters increased self-confidence, a high tolerance for ambiguity and intercultural development. Research shows that future employers look favorably upon such experiences. While virtual exchange is a newer way of global engagement, it provides project-based opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions across cultural boundaries, building new intercultural skills and knowledge. Global online learning opens opportunities in and to locations where travel may not be possible due to health or safety concerns.

What opportunities exist?

Similar to education abroad programs, global online experiences can vary in structure and length of time. In some cases, students collaborate through a course experience and/or project with students from a partner institution or organization. In other cases, a faculty member leads a course with virtual international lecturers and online community engagements. Students can also participate in online global courses through approved third-party providers or gain valuable skills by participating in a virtual internship.

How can I find out more about existing courses?

A list of current online global opportunities can be found at Students apply through the Office of International Affairs platform.

How can faculty and staff get started?

The Office of International Affairs provides a wide range of services and support to faculty and academic units who wish to offer online global experiences, including connecting faculty to possible partners and contacts overseas. Contact Jeannie Simmons ( director of Education Abroad for more information about the program proposal process.

What are the specific requirements of creating a global online experience?

This teaching modality offers flexibility as long the virtual course has intentional engagement with people and places abroad.

Is there a sample syllabus I can look at to help me see if my course could translate easily to a Global Online Learning format? Are there other resources?  

The Education Abroad team can provide sample syllabi upon request. Education Abroad is developing a virtual exchange/COIL course development guide which will provide more information about creating a global online learning experience.

Other online teaching resources including Student Interaction Online and Effective Practices can be found at   

What is the time commitment needed to set up a course?

Establishing a global online learning experience depends on many factors, including whether or not the course is new or if an existing course is being adapted.

What are the costs for students?

Students do not pay an application fee. Program costs vary, ranging from $50 to $1,500 on average, plus tuition (if applicable).

Can students use financial aid? What scholarships exist?

If a student has sufficient enrollment at Ohio State to maintain their aid eligibility, it can be used toward a credit-bearing online global experience. A student may submit a Cost of Attendance appeal if they meet enrollment requirements and there are costs for programming which could potentially fall outside of normal expenses. If a student participates in an online experience offered by an approved third-party provider, they will be enrolled in a placeholder course, suppressing Ohio State tuition and potentially allowing access to financial aid and scholarships.

Can students use STEP funds?

Virtual programs may be eligible for use for a STEP Signature Project. Please contact to confirm.

Will students receive Ohio State credit?

Some programs are credit-bearing, while others, such as some internships, are not.

Can students participate in global online learning alongside other Ohio State courses?

This may be possible if the online experience is not full-time.