As pioneers in Cal State Fullerton's first-ever degree program abroad, Peruvian students are sitting in a Lima classroom, listening to and asking questions of a professor lecturing in a classroom thousands of miles away.
They are taking their first step toward earning a master's degree in business administration, via the technology of distance learning.
A joint agreement between Cal State Fullerton and St. Ignasius of Loyola in Lima is allowing Peruvian graduate students to study for an M.B.A. at Cal State Fullerton, while enrolled in the bulk of the necessary classes in Peru. Faculty office visits are handled through e-mail and chat rooms.
This is the university's most ambitious distance-learning effort to date and utilizes state-of-the-art, two-way audio and video equipment to help deliver course sessions to Peru. In addition, CSUF faculty members will travel there to conduct some courses.
The program began in earnest with the start of the fall semester as students from Peru "met" their Fullerton classmates in a macroeconomic theory and policy course taught by Dr. Morteza Rahmatian, professor of economics.
"The first class sessions went very well," noted Rahmatian. "The connection and communication were excellent, and all the students seemed to be comfortable. Feedback was positive."
Ma Thaung, who is beginning her third semester in Fullerton's M.B.A. program, agreed. "This is an interesting and easy-to-follow class," she noted.
"It is like being there, especially if you sit in the front (of the class)," said Patricia Stuart of Lima. "You are even teased by the professor."
"I think it is a great idea to have televised courses," said graduate business major Neil Ratwani, who previously took an accounting class televised to CSUF's Mission Viejo Campus. "It is more convenient for students."
Peruvian student Jhony Lionel Ostos is motivated in the class by the accessibility-talking to professor Rahmatian during the class, as well as later, online. "These points are very important to me."
By taking courses through videoconference, "Peruvians have the high opportunity to share experiences with other colleagues in California and learn directly new ideas and trends," said Wilfredo Rodas from Lima. "I am absolutely motivated-for me to be a student of Cal State Fullerton's M.B.A. program is an honor.*quot;
The macroeconomic theory course, one of the first that M.B.A. students tackle at Cal State Fullerton, is taught on Wednesdays from 4-6:45 p.m.
"Our college is at the leading edge of the digital technology innovations in education," said Dr. Anil K. Puri, dean of the College of Business and Economics. "This is a great opportunity for our students and faculty to gain international experience. Latin America offers a big opportunity for us; it's a natural partner."
Students in both countries not only attend courses together, they will work on joint projects and network through virtual chat rooms and other means, explained Dr. Thomas W. Johnson, associate dean for the College of Business and Economics, noting that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has approved the program.
The South American students will complete most of their M.B.A. courses in Peru, then come to the United States for the final two degree courses at Cal State Fullerton.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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