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ERIC Number: EJ815246
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1094-3501
Measuring Oral Proficiency in Distance, Face-to-Face, and Blended Classrooms
Blake, Robert; Wilson, Nicole L.; Cetto, Maria; Pardo-Ballester, Cristina
Language Learning & Technology, v12 n3 p114-127 Oct 2008
Although the foreign-language profession routinely stresses the importance of technology for the curriculum, many teachers still harbor deep-seated doubts as to whether or not a hybrid course, much less a completely distance-learning class, could provide L2 learners with a way to reach linguistic proficiency, especially with respect to oral language skills. In this study, we examine the case of "Spanish Without Walls" (SWW), a first-year language course offered at the University of California-Davis in both hybrid and distance-learning formats. The "SWW" curriculum includes materials delivered via CD-ROM/DVD programs, online content-based web pages, and synchronous bimodal chat that includes sound and text. The contribution of each of these components is evaluated in the context of a successful technologically assisted course. To address the issue of oral proficiency, we compare the results from both classroom and distance-learning students who took the 20-minute "Versant for Spanish" test, delivered by phone and automatically graded. The data generated by this instrument shows that classroom, hybrid, and distance L2 learners reach comparable levels of oral proficiency during their first year of study. Reference is also made to two other ongoing efforts to provide distance-learning courses in Arabic and Punjabi, two languages where special difficulties in their writing systems have an impact on the design of the distant-learning format. The rationale for offering language courses in either a hybrid or distance-learning format is examined in light of increasing societal pressures to help L2 learners reach advanced proficiency, especially in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). (Contains 4 figures, 2 tables and 7 notes.)
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center. 1859 East-West Road #106, Honolulu, HI 96822. Tel: 808-956-9424; Fax: 808-956-5983; e-mail: llt@hawaii.edu; Web site: http://llt.msu.edu
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A