KMALL 한국멀티미디어언어교육학회

Korea Association of  Multimedia-Assisted Language Learning

Online language teaching at the the UW-Madison Language Institute - Jina Lee (Sangmyung University)

kamall | 2009.03.27 10:34 | 조회 4130


Online language teaching at the the UW-Madison Language Institute

Jina Lee

2006: Ph. D in SLA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
2006-2007: Visiting assistant professor at Indiana University-Bloomington
2007-now: Assistant professor at Sangmyung University

I am pleased to introduce one of online language teaching systems today. Last summer, I visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison and had a conversation with the director of the language institute about the UW online education system of less commonly taught languages. Since it includes Korean language as well as other languages, it was very impressive to me and I, myself, had a chance to experience the system. The engaged language courses are Korean, Czech, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, African languages, etc.
Click ☞ The UW-Madison Language Institute

The courses were developed several years ago, launched in 2005. They now offer teacher training courses as well. They incorporated a software program called WIMBA. WIMBA is an online language learning and teaching server that enables to import voicing tools for teachers and students. Let me introduce some details of the online teaching tool as follows.

1. Synchronous communication: Voice direct conferences

  • Participating in a conference:
    Once you enter the conference, you’ll see the Voice Direct applet in a new browser window below. This is the synchronic chat box.

  • For students: This is an easy way of actual chats for every student, which enables the actual classroom interaction. Everyone can get accessed in the conference. So the participation in the conference can be easy and very active. Because of the clarity of voice quality, peers’ and teacher’s feedback in pronunciation and sentence structure can be made easily as it is in the actual classroom interaction.
  • For teachers: Since a teacher is able to access all the group conferences, a teacher can screen how the class participation goes. This makes the teacher’s control easier than any of the actual classroom environment.

2. Asynchronous communication: Voice boards/presentations & Voice email

Voice board: This is an audio based discussion board. Any topics of discussion can be given to encourage students to participate and thereby to improve their communicative skills. By the simple click of record button in the message box, anyone can create or send own opinion, just as textual discussion board in Web CT. The interaction in the discussion board is as below. The interaction in the board can be made both in textual and in oral.

  • For students: The main benefit of the voice board is that this is an integration of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, which can meet 5 Cs. Depending on the topics, students can experience the variety in culture as well as improve linguistic skills in the target language by using the language.
  • For teachers: Not only screening the discussion board, the teacher also can use this discussion board as a potential oral assessment.
  • General:
    o Easy and simple: If anyone has an experience of web-based textual discussion board, it is easy to participate in the Voice board.
    o The new way of web-based voice discussion may motivate students’ interest in participation. And this encourages active participation.
    o The recorded clips of each student can be used self assessment as well as peer assessment. This may be a different benefit from synchronous interaction. Because each student can listen to his/her own messages over again, the students can provides self-corrections by recognizing own mistakes and errors.

Voice email: Voice email is similar to that of normal textual emails. The only difference is just recording voices as well as writing textual messages (if needed), as shown below.

For students, this is an easy way of interaction as a phone call to each other. The email can be used as an in-class short oral presentation or a reading test, since the recording time can be lengthened to 3 minutes in maximum. It may be used as a discussion board for a preparation of a group presentation, if the group members use it as a discussion tool for each other. For teachers, if the email is to give homework to the whole class, the teacher can upload simple audio files of video clips. It is also easy to provide individual oral feedback to each student’s oral performance.

In sum, these synchronous and asynchronous communication tools create an actual classroom interaction and better teacher-student oral interaction, which can be missed in distance learning program.





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