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One of the requirements for interior design students by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) is to be “prepared to work in a variety of contexts as well as across geographic, political, social, environmental, cultural, and economic conditions.” To help with this preparation, faculty partners from two institutions- the University of Minnesota Interior Design and the Architecture Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria- created unique learning experiences for their students by using Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). The main goal of this teaching methodology is to develop students’ cross-cultural competence by linking university classes in different countries. Two COIL projects were chosen to help students practice solving design problems while responding to specific socio-cultural contexts. Students from both countries seemed to greatly benefit from this learning experience. Findings from students’ reflections after the learning experiences indicated deeper intercultural sensitivity in their design solutions and appreciation of technology and collaborative teaching in developing this sensitivity. Overall the framework of COIL strengthened the integration of multicultural learning experiences in both settings.
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