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CourseShare: Moving Towards a More Balanced Partnership

May 14, 2018

The University of Minnesota has been an active participant in the Big Ten Academic Alliance CourseShare program since it launched in 2006. Our institution was an early adopter, sending an Old Norse course to Michigan that first academic year. However, in recent years we have become primarily a receiver of language courses taught by other Big Ten institutions. The word about this incredible resource has gotten out to students, and they have initiated requests to receive languages like Turkish, Persian, Indonesian, Hungarian and Romanian. We now receive between nine and twelve language and culture courses per semester, and the number of university students registered for CourseShare courses grows every year.

Prior to academic year 2017-2018, we typically shared only one or two courses per semester, one of which was the perennially popular ALL 3576: Lang & Society of Two Koreas taught by Hangtae Cho, and sent to a variety of universities.

In 2017-2018, we shared ALL 3576 again, and launched two new exchanges with the University of Nebraska: Beginning Italian taught by Ornella Lavecchia and Beginning Ojibwe taught by Zoe Brown. Next year, we are scheduled to again share ALL 3576, the two beginning courses, plus Intermediate Ojibwe, as well as Beginning Korean, Swedish, and Akkadian. We are also piloting an inter-system exchange by sending Intermediate Latin to UMN Morris.

This surge in language exchange has been made possible through the generosity of instructors like Hangtae, Ornella, and Zoe, who have been willing to share their language outside Minnesota. Technology has also improved, and facilities will be significantly better Fall 2018 when four fully renovated videoconferencing classrooms reopen on the Minneapolis campus. In addition, this year, a working group comprised of experienced CourseShare instructors, as well as staff from LATIS, CARLA, and the Language Center, have organized professional and curricular development opportunities for instructors, including sending six instructors and a technologist to a two day retreat at the University of Wisconsin this May. Special thanks are due to Finnish instructor Dan Karvonen, who has diverse experience supporting remote students, and who has been uncommonly generous with his time in sharing it with other instructors and advising the working group.

The University of Minnesota may never achieve CourseShare balance (to send as many courses in the Big Ten as we receive), but we’re beginning to close the gap!