Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Online Language Learning's New Model

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Online Language Learning's New Model

Article excerpt

Most classroom models for world language instruction inherently limit the amount of exposure and immersion available to students. The result is frustration coupled with a fundamentally limited world language experience. Armed with a new model for online language courses, BYU Independent Study (BYU-IS) has set out to change that.

The international online course provider offers both high school- and university-level Courses, and is associated with Brigham Young University (UT), which has one of the largest university language centers in the world.

After research and experimentation, BYU-IS developed a model that relies heavily upon student-teacher interaction as well as peer-to-peer interaction. Course material consists of a combination of content from leading publishers and locally available native-speaking instructors. Students are presented material in an engaging, interactive manner, much like many online courses. The difference is the emphasis on written and speaking assignments.

Students are required to submit written assignments in every lesson, which receive instructor feedback and comments. Students also complete one-on-one speaking assignments with instructors, preparing oral presentations that receive immediate feedback, correction, and instruction for improvement. A non-scripted dialogue with the instructor completes each speaking assignment.

To practice their language with fluent or native-level speakers, students are required to attend Conversation Cafes, virtual "rooms" that are facilitated by the instructor or teaching assistant (TA). The Conversation Cafes are open 20 hours a week and afford students the chance to interact as peers, providing feedback, practicing together, and completing assignments. …

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