PSB partners with Swiss university for collaborative online learning

By Wayland Chau

This fall marks the beginning of a COIL partnership between the Pilon School of Business and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). 

COIL is a collaborative online international learning experience. PSB professor Wayland Chau and Dr. Nikolina Fuduric of FHNW designed a four-week program on ethics and sustainability.  

In the first COIL class, Canadian and Swiss students engaged in an insightful and lively discussion on the ethics of mandatory vaccination at colleges and universities. 

“It was fascinating to explore the differences and commonalities of ethical viewpoints based on culture,” said Professor Chau. 

BBA Finance student Kinthuyaliny Uthayabaskaran particularly enjoyed “learn[ing] the differences of the communities, especially when we discussed about whether the COVID-19 vaccination procedures should be mandatory or voluntary.”

In the next two COIL classes, students worked together online to manage simulated fishing companies. Through the game-based exercise, participants experienced firsthand the “tragedy of the commons” in which individuals’ pursuit of short-term gain leads to long-term loss for everyone. 

In the final COIL class in November, Dr. Fuduric will build upon the learning from this simulation by exploring how systems thinking can help us understand sustainability challenges.

“This has been such a great opportunity for everyone involved — students and faculty — to learn from each other,” said Professor Chau.  

Professor Stan Kamzol, PSB’s international student exchange coordinator, describes COIL as “a journey that will not only broaden students’ understanding of how their international contemporaries think, but will help students build bridges to colleagues and partners across the world.”

Wayland Chau is a professor of business law and ethics at the Pilon School of Business.

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