• Part of a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project between the CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia and Universidad Santo Tomás in Bucaramanga (Colombia)
  • Students from both universities  have formed mixed teams to undertake and present studies on the prevalence of malignant and pre-malignant oral diseases
UCH lecturers María Lloria and Celia Haya, pictured with one of the studies undertaken by students from both universities.

Students from both the Spanish and English streams of the Bachelor’s Degree in Dentistry programme at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia (Spain) and the Universidad Santo Tomás in Bucaramanga (Colombia) have taken part in an international project, coming together to study the incidence, prevalence, aetiology, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the oral mucosa in both countries.

This educational experience formed part of a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project undertaken by both universities – the first of its type for the Bachelor’s Degree in Dentistry programme.

The project has enabled the students to improve their knowledge of oral medicine,while also giving them a first taste of international research teams.It has been a true opportunity for development and learning, using digital tools to connect online in real time, and taking advantage of new approaches to collaborative learning.

Experience of international scientific collaboration

Pathologies of the oral cavity include diseases affecting the mouth, the oral mucosa, the jawbones and related structures, such as the saliva glands, the temporomandibular joints, facial muscles and the perioral skin (the skin around the mouth).

Over the course of three months, 2nd and 3rd year Dentistry students from CEU UCH and Universidad Santo Tomás studied the prevalence of malignant and pre-malignant oral diseases (oral lichen planus, actinic cheilitis,  leucoplakia, and erythroplasia) and detection and treatment procedures in Colombia and Spain.

Despite the time differences, the students and lecturers from both universities were able to follow joint lectures and online sessions for group work. The students were distributed into mixed groups of four or five students, who then undertook a study together which they had to present in English in the form of a poster.

This experience enabled the students both to apply the knowledge they had learnt about oral medicine and to improve their communication skills, as they shared information and ideas and discussed problems and solutions.  

Brice Bouchet and Aroa Bote, Dentistry students at CEU UCH, both feel they benefited from the project.

The activity has enabled them “to share knowledge and expertise with students from other countries and other cultures


The Dentistry student also highlighted the value of this educational activity, as it enables students “to consolidate what we know and experience other cultures at the same time”.  

Future international alliances

This COIL project has been coordinated by María Lloria and Celia Haya, lecturers at CEU UCH, and Sandra Juliana Rueda and Patricio Javier Jarpa, from the Universidad Santo Tomás in Bucaramanga.

This activity enriches the students’ education and enables them to both gain intercultural skills and learn how to work in multicultural international teams

The CEU UCH lecturer María Lloria remarked that this project “has enabled students to gain their first experience of the research process, working autonomously with students from other countries”.

María Lloria and Celia Haya agreed that the students’ generosity with their time stood out – they all volunteered for this educational project – together with their commitment to the dentistry profession that they showed over the course of the project.

“I think it truly has been a collaborative international learning experience, and it could be replicated with a greater number of students and learning contents in the future,” said Celia Haya.

The lecturers from the Universidad Santo Tomás in Bucaramanga also highlighted the determination to promote closer links between the two institutions and carry out further joint projects.

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