American Collegiate Live’s Virtual Classroom Is the Better Method of Digital Learning

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By Selene Angier
Last updated on August 8, 2023

Not just another online course, American Collegiate Live combines a cutting-edge digital classroom experience with support services that help international students find success.

American Collegiate Live

A female international student wears headphones and studies online while enrolled at American Collegiate Live

There has been no shortage of new digital learning programs since COVID-19 interrupted higher education across the globe. While instructors are beginning to embrace online teaching and virtual classrooms, 55% report their institutions do not create an ideal digital learning environment. But that is not the case with American Collegiate Live: This award-nominated digital classroom experience was built specifically for international students, with live-to-device classes featuring world-class instruction, collaborative learning with other classmates, and personalized guidance to help transition to in-person classes in the United States. 

“I never imagined it would be so easy to interact with teachers and students while sitting across the world,” said Wajeeh, an American Collegiate Live student from Pakistan. “It has been phenomenal, and … classes [have] been amazing.”

What Is American Collegiate Live?

American Collegiate Live is a cutting-edge digital learning environment created specifically for international students starting their higher education journeys from home. American Collegiate Live’s classes are tailored to first-year international students’ needs and are taught by faculty from the nationally ranked University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston). After they complete classes through American Collegiate Live, students receive credits widely recognized at institutions across the US, including 14 top-ranked Shorelight universities. 

“The atmosphere is very surprising; it actually makes you feel as if you are attending a physical class—everything is very similar to on-campus classes,” said American Collegiate Live student Prapti. “Also the support system—being online I personally didn’t expect them to be so punctual and quick, but they are very supportive and respond so quickly.”

In addition to earning credits toward a degree, students also benefit from Shorelight’s student services offerings while working with advisors in their time zone who speak their language. Advisors can help with everything from acquiring a student visa to settling in on campus once it is safe to study abroad again. 

“My application process was really smooth,” said fellow student Manishi. “I got a lot of support from the team, so I never faced challenges.”

What Is It Like to Take an American Collegiate Live Class? 

Students and professors agree—American Collegiate Live is not just another online course. Many online courses consist of pre-recorded videos, unengaging multiple choice or short answer questions, and very little written interaction between classmates—and not much more. American Collegiate Live’s total learning environment engages students and professors, no matter where they are in the world. 

“I was never fond of online learning and live-to-device classrooms, [where] I always thought there is no learning and it’s just a formality,” said Wajeeh. But American Collegiate Live changed his mind.

Joining American Collegiate Live has changed my perspective and allowed me to think outside the box. … I feel like I’m sitting right in the chair in a real class… It’s a complete and amazing way to learn.”—Wajeeh, American Collegiate Live student

Since American Collegiate Live was built using the classroom experience as its model, students are much more engaged and challenged—no matter if they are connecting from home, an office, or a school halfway across the world. Students interact with their teachers in real time, asking and answering questions, and can even carry out a virtual dialogue with their fellow students. 

“I’m used to teaching in a classroom with students live right in front of me, and the technology was very similar to that,” said UMass Boston professor Russ Tessier. 

Whiteboard notes and diagrams are projected on students’ screens to view, interact with, and save easily. Got a question? Students can virtually raise their hand and get an answer in real time. Taking a large survey course with a lot of students? Extra teaching assistants are available in each class to make sure each student is getting personalized attention and understanding the material. 

“Right from the start, I was surprised with how much interaction is present with American Collegiate Live,” said Jasir, a student from India. “Not only because of the lectures being completely live, but the usual activity of putting a couple of students together in a breakout room for discussions on topics and projects. This makes sure that you are present—not only physically in front of your device, but mentally as well. This course requires complete participation.”

Students participate in group projects and experiential learning exercises, both in the virtual classroom and in small breakout sessions, just as if they were on campus. 

It’s a great opportunity to learn as well as get closer to new technology. Also we get to socialize with students all over the world.”—Prapti, American Collegiate Live student

From American Collegiate Live to the Program of Your Dreams

Students enrolled in American Collegiate Live courses are getting a head start on their education, despite the current restrictions and limitations resulting from the pandemic. That’s because they are taking the core first-year classes that are required at almost every university offering a liberal arts education, no matter what a student’s field of study will eventually be—from STEM to social sciences to humanities. 

“Just a few days after the pinnacle of COVID-19, when I thought my summer would be filled with boredom, I heard about the live in-class experience that is being offered by American Collegiate Live from my counselor,” said Indian student Dharineesh. “The biggest factors that caught my attention were that we [could] earn college credits while at home and that we need not spend a lot of money for the living expenses, which would almost be equal to 50% of the tuition fee.”

Students earn credits that can be used at many universities across the United States and will receive support finding their best-fit school and transitioning to that program when the time is right. Students can receive academic tutoring and English language support, visa and travel assistance, and campus-specific guidance from advisors that work on the students’ schedules. 

“I would highly recommend my peers to take these classes because they are equal to on-campus classes in all terms,” said Dharineesh. “They are very interesting, fun, and also time saving in these unprecedented times.”

Learn more about American Collegiate Live