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College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Special Education: Collaborative, Multi-Institution Distance Education

The Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities and Special Education Programs lead two innovative collaborative distance education technology based consortia for teacher preparation in Severe Disabilities and for teachers of the Visually Impaired. Faculty from each participating institution teach their share of the courses using live interactive videoconferencing, web conferencing, video streaming and also use a Blackboard course delivery system. The consortia are comprised of five state approved teacher preparation programs in severe disabilities (SD), including George Mason University, Norfolk State University, Radford University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University and five state approved teacher preparation programs in severe Vision Impairments (VI), including George Mason University, Norfolk State University, Radford University, James Madison University and Old Dominion University. The consortium's primary goal is to prepare teachers across the state to be highly skilled at working with learners in low incidence areas. The program is designed to increase the number of fully endorsed teachers by providing training to new full-time preservice personnel and to accelerate the training for those already teaching on conditional licenses.

The consortia are supported by grants from the Virginia Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education. Every semester, the Consortium awards a limited number of tuition stipends to qualified applicants.