This past semester, Mason faculty hosted classes in both Korean and Persian providing students at Virginia Tech and James Madison access to these courses. Additionally, Mason students benefited from the opportunity to take a deep dive into the legacy of France’s colonies through HIST 535 and 636 hosted by Old Dominion University.
“The shared courses are truly illustrative of the 4-VA premise -- work collaboratively to look for greater access to higher education while at the same time realizing cost savings for our students and the Commonwealth,” explains Janette Muir, Mason Campus Coordinator for 4-VA. “Time and time again, we hear from our students here at Mason as well as our partner schools that they truly value the opportunity to access a class not previously available on their campus.”
Each semester, the 4-VA schools meet to discuss what classes each school will offer and the specific requirements necessary. Then, the courses are plugged into each school catalog.
Ester Hallerman, a VT faculty member who shared her Hebrew course with Mason students last spring, found the telepresence room connection uncomplicated, easily shifting back and forth between Blacksburg and Fairfax. During the semester, however, Hallerman did make a surprise visit to the Fairfax class during Tech’s spring break. The students were clearly delighted to see Hallerman in ‘real life’ instead of on the screen. Their reaction? “It was like having a celebrity here!” they all agreed.
Hallerman is very positive about the 4-VA course sharing program noting, "Thanks to the 4-VA shared courses, we do not have to limit our Hebrew language classes to the students at Tech -- this is an effortless and effective way to broaden a knowledge base."