Virtual Learning Communities 

Virtual Learning Communities (VLCs) provide a supportive, educational, and exciting experience for students and allow them to make friends who share their passions and interests. With a variety of VLCs to choose from and teams of dedicated staff here to create a positive and supportive experience for the students, VLCs make it easier to find connection to the Mason community.

Each individual VLC is a partnership between at least two campus offices to create a collaborative and holistic environment for the students engaging in that community.


YouTube video

What is a VLC?

A Virtual Learning Community is a group of students from both on and off campus who share common interests and come together in an online format in order to explore those passion areas more deeply. In a virtual setting, the VLC functions a lot like a residence hall floor or building in that students all in the same VLC group have easy access to each other and it makes the larger Mason community feel smaller.

Each VLC has a dedicated team comprised of faculty members, professional staff, and student staff who are invested in the student experience and also share in the passion for the topic area. In addition, VLCs have a connected course around the topic area which allows students to not only interact outside of the classroom but in the classroom as well.

VLCs will have fun and engaging activities that students will enjoy based on the interest of their specific community and will have access to opportunities and elevated experiences, even in a virtual setting.

Benefits of an VLC include:

  • A virtual social lounge and home, curated for students to be fun, engaging, and supportive
  • Connection with other students, both academically and socially
  • Access to academic resources and support from tutors, campus resources, and faculty
  • Connected courses taken with like-minded individuals designed to engage their passion and help them learn outside of the classroom
  • Mentoring from upper-level students in many of our VLCs who have experience in the VLC topic.
  • Events and virtual programming tailored to the VLC by content experts connected to that VLC
In the end, VLCs bring connection to students. It doesn’t matter where you are -- you will find friends, mentors, and support here!

Eligibility

The VLC experience is open to all students including both residential and non-residential students. While the experience is open to all class years, preference will be given to first-year students and upper-level students who were already accepted into an LLC for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Virtual Q&A

On Wednesday, July 15th, the Residential Academic Engagement team hosted a live Q&A about Virtual Learning Communities. You can view that presentation and Q&A here for more information.

At Mason we offer a variety of Virtual Learning Communities which provide a wide-array of different opportunities to connect and engage with students, faculty, and staff. Expand the list below to learn more about each community and their connected course(s).

For reference:

First-Year refers to first time, first year students as indicated by class year, not credit hours. Upper-Level refers to all other students. Unless explicitly states, Transfer students will also fall under Upper-Level.

Explore innovation and creativity across visual and performing arts disciplines, support each other in creative work, and experience deeper connections between the arts at Mason and in the community. Students majoring in CVPA programs students are given priority.

Courses

If placed in the Arts VLC, First-Year students will be registered for one of the following courses based on their major:

Art and Visual Technology Majors - AVT 101: New Majors Colloquium, CRN: 83307
Theater Majors - THR 191: Theater Support/Engagement, CRNs: 71208, 72668
Dance Majors - DANC 190: First Year Seminar, CRN: 71800
Computer Game Design, Film and Video Studies, and Music Majors - UNIV 150: Arts LLC**, CRNs: 76680, 76682

While this VLC is open to Upper-Level CVPA and Creative Writing students, there is no course required for Upper-Level students.

Foster your development of successful business practice through team building, leadership activities, and practice experience with School of Business faculty, staff, and alumni. School of Business students are given priority.

Courses

If placed in the Business & Entrepreneurship VLC, First-Year students will be registered for one of the following courses:

BUS 100: Business and Society, CRNs: TBD
BUS 103: Develop Professional Skills I: Foundational Elements, CRNs: TBD

While this VLC is open to Upper-Level students, there is no course required for Upper-Level students.

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) VLC will assist you with making a smooth transition to the university by providing you with a supportive environment for academic success and a network of other students with an interest in health-related majors and professions. The CHHS VLC will help you connect your interests with the broader field of public health, and engage with CHHS faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Additionally, this LLC will provide you with opportunities to learn about majors in CHHS, opportunities to gain experience outside of the classroom, and help you develop an interprofessional approach to your studies and future profession.

Courses

If placed in the College of Health and Human Services VLC, First-Year students will be registered for one of the following courses:

UNIV 100: Introduction to Mason, CRNs: 81505, 77369
GCH 205: Global Health, CRN: 82724

Join the CHSS Virtual learning community to learn how CHSS faculty, students, and alumni examine ideas, solve problems, adapt, and collaborate to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. Explore the ways you can make a difference in the world through this cohort learning community of first year students from across CHSS majors.

Courses

If placed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences VLC, an advisor will connect with both First-Year and Upper-Level students to register them for one of the following courses:

ANTH 114: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, CRNs: 83153, 83154, 78256, 83156, 83328
ARTH 200: History of Western Art I, CRN: 82874
CRIM 100: Introduction to Criminal Justice, CRN: 72501, 71110
GLOA 101: Introduction to Global Affairs** , CRN: 83444
PSYC 100: Basic Concepts in Psychology, CRNs: 72910, 77204, 82370
RELI 211: Religions of the West, CRN: 82681, 82631
SOCI 101: Introductory Sociology**, CRNs: 80375, 75369, 82868

This VLC is open to Upper-Level students.

Engage with COS students and faculty in an interdisciplinary community focused on scientific inquiry, cutting-edge research, and global problem solving.

Courses

If placed in the College of Science VLC, First-Year students must be registered for a College of Science course. Some recommendations include:

Biology Majors - BIOL 213: Cell Structure and Function
Chemistry Majors - CHEM 211/213: General Chemistry/Lab
Neuroscience Majors - NEUR 101: Introduction to Neuroscience
Environmental Science Majors - EVPP 210: Environmental Biology: Molecules and Cells
Geography and Geoinformation Science Majors - GGS 101/102: Major World Regions/Physical Geography
Geology/AOES Majors - CLIM 101: Global Warming: Weather, Climate, and Society, GEOL 101: Introductory Geology
Physics Majors - PHYS 160/161: University Physics I/Lab, PHYS 260/261: University Physics II/Lab, ASTR 111/112: The Solar System/Lab
Computational and Data Sciences Majors - CDS 130/230: Computing for Scientists/Modeling and Simulation I
Mathematics Majors - MATH 113/213: Analytic Geometry and Calculus I/Analytic Geometry and Calculus III, MATH290: Introduction to Advanced Mathematics
STEM Boot Camp - UNIV 108: STEM Boot Camp 2020, CRN: 77373
Others COS 120: Introduction to Research, COS 300: Professional Preparation for STEM Disciplines, COS 400: Problem Solving and Leadership in STEAM

This VLC is open to Upper-Level students and those students are recommended to take COS 400: Problem Solving and Leadership in STEAM in the Spring semester.

Learn about sustainability and make an impact at Mason! Whether you’re just interested or a sustainability activist, join an expansive community of students from all areas of study who are committed to learning and creating positive change for people and the planet!

Courses

If placed in the Environment and Sustainability VLC, First-Year and Upper-Level students will be registered for:

First-Year - INTS 292: Leadership for Sustainability, CRN: 76314
Upper-Level - INTS 395: Leadership for Sustainability, CRN: 76619

Connect with students who aspire to a career in education and foster your personal and professional growth through programming and interactions with CEHD School of Education faculty and staff. CEHD students are given priority.

Course

If placed in the Future Educators VLC, First-Year students must register for:

EDUC 200: Introduction to Education: Teaching, Learning and Schools, CRN: 83665

This VLC is open to Upper-Level students and the above course is recommended but not required for Upper-Level students.

This VLC is for students who are a part of the Global Gateway program. Students in this program will be automatically assigned to participate!

Course

UNIV 108: Mason Transitions, CRN Based on Program

This VLC is not open to Upper-Level students.

Engage with globally minded peers and learn from internationally experienced faculty and staff.

Course

If placed in the Global Patriots VLC, First-Year students will be registered for:

UNIV 150: Global Patriots LLC**, CRN: 76004

This VLC is not open to Upper-Level students.

March onward to victory! The Green Machine VLC is an inclusive environment available for students in all of the Green Machine Ensembles programs.

Course

If placed in the Green Machine VLC, First-Year and Upper-Level students must register for:

MUSI 280: Athletic and Ceremonial Ensemble, CRNs: 79259, 79451, 79452

Build a network of friends in the Honors College to learn and grow with in and out of the classroom. Explore your passions and develop new interests through access to workshops, guest lecturers, group discussions, and more events that will complement your classroom experience and enhance your social experience. For Honors College students.

Course

If placed in the Honors College VLC, First-Year students must register for:

HNRS 110: Research and Inquiry

While this VLC is open to Upper-Level students, there is no course required for Upper-Level students.

Examine local and global issues through academic study and activism, with an emphasis on leadership, positive change and active citizenship.

Courses

If placed in the Leadership through Community Engagement VLC, First-Year and Upper-Level students will be registered for:

First-Year - INTS 291: Leadership & Community Engagement, CRN: 75314
Upper-Level - INTS 395: Leadership & Community Engagement, CRN: 75315

Engage in a community built on care, support, and trust; both within LGBTQ+ communities and across lines of gender, sexual and/or romantic orientation, race and ethnicity, culture, religion, ability, and other identity groups.

Course

If placed in the LGBTQ+ VLC, First-Year students will be registered for:

First-Year - UNIV 150: LGBTQ+ LLC**, CRNs: 76005, 78982, 83816

While this VLC is open to Upper-Level students, there is no course required for Upper-Level students.

Engage with students and faculty of the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution through interdisciplinary study and discussion of justice, peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Gain skills that will help you succeed as a leader in any field. Together, we will seek to understand and creatively address real world problems whether they be polarized social and political issues, arguments within families and workplaces, limited resources, or complex issues of violence, inequality, and justice.

Course

If placed in the Peacebuilding, Justice and Conflict Resolution VLC, an advisor will connect with First-Year students to register them for:

CONF 101: Conflict and Our World, CRN: 70247

While this VLC is open to Upper-Level students, there is no course required for Upper-Level students.

The Pre-nursing VLC will assist you with making a smooth transition to the university by providing you with a supportive environment for academic success and a network of other pre-nursing students. You will learn more about the field of nursing directly from CHHS advisors, current nurses and nursing students. Additionally, this VLC will provide you with opportunities to learn about the full scope of healthcare professions which will help you explore other health-related opportunities at Mason and develop an interprofessional approach to nursing.

Course

If placed in the Pre-Nursing VLC, First-Year students will be registered for:

UNIV 150: Pre-Nursing LLC, CRN: 78732

Build a network of professional policy makers and influencers early! Learn how to be an innovative problem solver and change agent both domestically and internationally.

Course

If placed in the Schar School of Policy and Government  VLC, First-Year students must register for:

GOVT 101: Democratic Theory & Practice, CRN: 76192

While this VLC is open to Upper-Level students, there is no course required for Upper-Level students.

Engage with peers who share academic goals and interests in kinesiology while fostering your personal and professional growth through programming and interactions with CEHD School of Kinesiology faculty and staff. CEHD students are given priority.

Course

If placed in the School of Kinesiology VLC, First-Year and Upper-Level students will be registered for:

KINE 100: Introduction to Kinesiology

Are you the first in your family to attend college? If yes, join a community of first year, first-generation students who are trailblazers, just like you to learn about how to navigate college while forming a strong community of support from your peers, faculty, and staff.

Course

If placed in The First VLC, both First-Year and Transfer students will be registered for:

UNIV 150: The First LLC, CRN: 76009

This VLC is not open to new Upper-Level students. Only Upper-Level students admitted into The First LLC and new transfer students are eligible to apply. There is no course for the previously admitted Upper-Level students.

Explore technology and engineering through enhanced virtual experiences while networking with faculty and staff. For VSE students.

Course

If placed in the Volgenau School of Engineering  VLC, First-Year students will be registered for:

COMM 101: Fundamentals of Communication , Lecture CRN: 82854 , Lab CRNs: 83707, 83708, 83709, 83711, 83713, 83714, 83716, 83723, 83722

This VLC is not open to new Upper-Level students. Only Upper-Level students admitted into the Volgenau School of Engineering LLC are eligible to apply and there is no required course for those students.

The Well-Being VLC is strengths-based, values-guided, and emphasizes inclusive well-being. We strive to create an inclusive community where students are encouraged to explore well-being topics through reflective learning and shared experiences. This holistic experience includes traditional academic study, experiential learning, personal practices, and opportunities for students to learn about themselves and how they relate to others.

Course

If placed in the Well-Being VLC, First-Year students will be registered for:

INTS 291: Explorations of Well-Being, CRN: 75881 (1 credit), 80054 (0 credit)

This VLC is open to Upper-Level students.

**Additional sections may be added to certain VLCs. Please check back here often for the most up to date course information.

The VLC application is now closed. Please email LLC@gmu.edu with any questions.

On Wednesday, July 15th, the Residential Academic Engagement team hosted a live Q&A about Virtual Learning Communities. Please view that presentation and Q&A here as well as the FAQ below for more information about VLCs.

Spring 2021

No. VLCs are an academic year experience so you do not need to reapply for the Spring.

Some VLCs have required courses for the Spring while others do not. Currently, the following VLCs have a required course in the Spring:

  • Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Green Machine
  • Leadership through Community Engagement
  • Well-Being

If you have further questions about the course requirement for you VLC, please reach out to your VLC Coordinator.

Yes! The VLC Application is currently open in the StarRez Housing Portal. Students who are accepted into a VLC will be notified on a rolling basis and then formally added to the VLC starting in January.

General

Yes! The VLC experience is open to all Mason students regardless of if they live on or off campus.

Yes, the connected course is required for all first-year students who are admitted to a VLC as it provides students with further connection to their peers as well as valuable academic and study skills. Some VLCs may require upper-level students to take a course as well. New admitted upper-level applicants will be notified of the course prior to being registered.

The only extra work is being a part of the connected course. However, in many cases this is a course that students would be taking anyway as part of their major coursework or Mason Core. There are also additional programs and experiences that are hosted for VLC students that are strongly encouraged so that students can get the most out of their VLC experience.

No, there is no additional fee or cost for being in a VLC. The only cost would be for the credits associated with the connected course. However, in many cases this is a course that students would be taking anyway as part of their major coursework or Mason Core.

Unfortunately no, you are only able to participate in one VLC. When you apply you will preference your top 2 VLCs and be assigned to one.

No, we will not have any physically co-located LLCs for the 2020-2021 academic year. Housing & Residence Life made the decision to transition from physically co-located LLCs to Virtual Learning Communities for three key reasons. First, to prioritize the health and safety of our residents. Living Learning Communities thrive on physical interaction and engagement outside of the classroom and with the need to have higher standards around health, safety, and social distancing within the halls due to COVID-19, we could not deliver an LLC experience within these parameters while maintaining the safety of our residents. We believe the VLC structure will allow us to deliver the key components and benefits of the LLCs while prioritizing the health and safety of our residents. Second, COVID-19 impacted HRL by needing to reduce occupancy which resulted in a smaller residential population. To provide the benefits of the LLC experience to a larger population of students, some of whom will not be able to live on campus, we created the VLC experience where a student could participate regardless of their residential location. Third, we transitioned to VLCs because we wanted to create a cohesive community for as many students as feasible while maximizing resources and existing partnerships. The VLCs will allow us to work with each academic unit and our passionate and trained HRL student staff to create a community that supports the transition to and through college for all VLC students while providing a cohesive experience and community, regardless of residence. While VLCs are different, the benefits remain as we are working to provide a holistic student experience with a connection to other students, faculty, and learning outside the classroom.   

Yes! Every VLC will have at least one, sometimes more, VLC mentors who are upper-level students selected to support you in your transition to college, to help build community, and to connect you to resources to help in both your social and academic success. These are dedicated, passionate and well-trained students who can provide you with their first-hand experience and support through the virtual setting.   

No, since VLCs are open to both residential and non-residential students, they can live in any building on campus and still take part in the experience.  

The specific courses are listed in the dropdowns for each VLC on the “List of VLCs” tab. Some VLCs may add additional sections and those will be updated on the website on a regular basis. 

You must select 2 VLCs in order to submit your application. With some of the academic VLCs preferencing majors and some of the interest-based VLCs being smaller, we want to place as many students in the VLCs they are interested in as possible. If you do not want to be in the VLC you are placed in, you are able to withdraw by emailing LLC@gmu.edu from your Masonlive email address by August 1st. 

Application

The application will open on June 19th. Please see the "Application" tab for a link to the application.

Yes, all first-year students who applied to a traditional LLC will still need to fill out the VLC application in order to be considered. However, they do not need to apply to the same VLC as they indicated in their LLC application.

Yes, all upper-level students who were admitted and placed in a traditional LLC will need to fill out the VLC application in order to confirm their interest. These students are only guaranteed a spot in the LLC they were placed in and must include that LLC as one of their top two preferences in the VLC application in order to be guaranteed their spot.

Yes, you are eligible to apply. However, preference will be given to first-year students and each VLC will have its own size limitations.

No. The transition from an Honors College LLC to an Honors College VLC does not impact your status within the Honors College. If you applied to the Honors College LLC, you will need to reapply to the Honors College VLC in an effort to confirm interest and ensure you would like to participate in this experience. 

You must select 2 VLCs in order to submit your application. With some of the academic VLCs preferencing majors and some of the interest-based VLCs being smaller, we want to place as many students in the VLCs they are interested in as possible. If you do not want to be in the VLC you are placed in, you are able to withdraw by emailing LLC@gmu.edu from your Masonlive email address by August 1st. 

Students who apply on or before the June 28th priority deadline will be notified of their placement by July 1st. Students who apply after the June 28th priority deadline will be notified on a rolling basis beginning July 13th.

Yes! The application will remain open until August 1st and students who apply will be admitted and notified on a rolling basis beginning July 13th.

UNIV

UNIV 100 offers over 70 sections of small experiential learning and discussion-based classes with approximately 20 students. This course is designed to give students a snapshot of how to be successful at George Mason University and supports first year students’ transition from high school to college life. It covers topics including resources and engagement opportunities at Mason, connecting to faculty and your Academic Advisor, how to register for classes, study skills, time management, and overall strategies for a successful first-year experience.

No, this course is not required, but strongly encouraged for all first-year students.

Yes, this class is a 1 credit elective course that will count towards your degree. Students who enroll in a UNIV 108/150 special program course have the option to take the course for 0 or 1 credit. And yes, students will receive a grade for the course using an A-F grading scale. Please note that if a student decides to take UNIV 108 or UNIV 150 for 0 credit they will still earn a letter grade for the course, but it will not be calculated into the GPA. Also, the course and grade will appear on your transcript.

Students who include UNIV 100/108/150 in their schedule which brings them to a total between 12-15 credits will not incur any extra cost beyond the full-time tuition fee. If this class is taken in addition to 15 credits, the price will be based on the cost per credit. For more information on tuition cost, visit: https://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/tuition-fees. 

  • UNIV 100 - Introduction to Mason focuses on academic skill-building, educational planning, career preparation, and much more.
  • UNIV 108 - Mason Transition is the same as UNIV 100, as it introduces you to Mason, but is identified for special populations (Global Gateway, STEP, EIP, Out of State students).
  • UNIV 150- First-Year Virtual Learning Communities (VLCs) are for students who participate in this program. This course mirrors UNIV 100, however, it is specifically taught in the theme and/or academic discipline of the various VLCs.

Students learn what to expect as they begin their transition into college; how to navigate and utilize resources on campus (e.g., the Writing Center, the Student Advocacy Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, Library Services, etc.); how to connect with faculty and campus staff; how to manage their time effectively to be successful, not only in college, but for their lives; how to get involved in campus life, especially student interest groups and clubs; how to manage stress for those inevitable stressful times in college; drug and alcohol safety; resumé building; how to manage and resolve conflict with peers, and so much more!!

Students are afforded the opportunity to have a Peer Advisor who offers relevant, real-time advice and guidance through the college experience. These Peer Advisors have gone through the initial transition to college, sometimes within months of teaching the course. Research shows that taking UNIV 100 means a more seamless college experience, in that you are given critical tools to navigate college and life beyond college. There is essential practicality in the way the class is taught and in the information that is shared in the course. So, not only will students learn how to be successful during their time at George Mason, they will have the chance to meet and build community with a diverse group of their peers.

This course is co-taught by a Peer Advisor (PA) who is a current undergraduate student leader at George Mason, and a faculty member who works as a student Affairs professional at Mason, Mason alumni, or community member.

For more information, visit: transitions.gmu.edu or email us at univcp@gmu.edu.

ENGH 101

English 101 is a required first year writing course; unless you are in the Honors College or have AP, IB or Dual Enrollment credit in English you will have to take the class during your first year. 

The two VLC English 101 sections have a focus on writing about great moments in the history of technology, business and the imagination. As part of the VLC experience, these sections make it possible for you to study and write about subjects of interest to you with other VLC students.  Writing tutors will be available to help you with your papers and there will be exciting and educational co-curricular activities for you to participate in. 

These sections are open to any student who is part of a VLC. However, due to the focus of the topics, preference will be given to students in the Volgeanu School of Engineering, Business & Entrepreneurship, Arts, and College of Science VLCs. 

The two VLC sections of ENGH 101 will be offered synchronously online: 

  • English 101 section 131 (CRN 78966) will meet Mon & Wed 12:00pm-1:15pm 
  • English 101 section 132 (CRN 79658) will meet Mon & Wed 10:30am-11:45am 

Registration for these ENGH 101 sections is controlled so you will not be able to enroll yourself. If you are interested, you must email the Learning Communities team at LLC@gmu.edu and provide your name, G-Number, the VLC you are in, and the preferred section of ENGH 101.    

For any other questions related to Virtual Learning Communities, please contact llc@gmu.edu.