Duke University, the University of Virginia, and Vanderbilt University are partnering to offer courses in languages not often taught in the Western academic curriculum through a shared course initiative. Classes are taught to students on all three campuses through high quality video conferencing and telepresence classrooms. These are regular, face-to-face classes (not “online” courses) in which students in one classroom interact with students in classrooms at the respective partner schools, during the same class period. These courses will be offered at the elementary, intermediate, and in some cases advanced levels, and will also count towards the foreign language requirement at each university.
Currently, each university is offering one language, although we hope to be able to offer more languages in the future. Duke is offering Haitian Creole, the University of Virginia is offering Tibetan, and Vanderbilt University is offering K’iche’ Maya. The first (Elementary I) and third (Intermediate I) semester of each language will be offered every fall, and the second (Elementary II) and fourth (Intermediate II) semester courses will be offered every spring. In these classes, students learn to speak the language, and study it in its cultural as well as historical contexts. They are open to both undergraduate and graduate students.