Bridging the Gap: Online Modules for Less Commonly Taught Languages

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As language requirements burgeon at the post-secondary level in attempts to create global citizens out of college graduates, universities nationwide have seen a sharp increase in language course enrollments, especially in the Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL) courses (Furman, Goldberg, & Lusin, 2007). While this is a positive trend from an intellectual and cultural point-of-view, the sudden growth presents a unique set of problems for course implementation. There has been a current trend of offering language courses online to meet increasing demands for commonly taught languages (CTLs) (e.g., Chenoweth, Ushida, & Murday, 2006; Sanders, 2005), but little has been written about online offerings for LCTLs (c.f., Winke, Goertler, & Amuzie, 2010). To respond to the need for high-quality pedagogical materials for LCTLs and to compensate for the lack of face-to-face classroom settings, the Center for the Study of International Languages and Cultures (CSILC) at the University of South Florida (USF) has created lessons in Dari, Pashto, and Urdu for the Global Language Online Support System website (GLOSS; gloss.dliflc.gov) supported by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. This paper is an analysis of considerations that informed the process and products of these modules. A discussion of implications and directions for further study concludes the paper.

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IALLT Journal of Language Learning Technologies, v. 42, issue 1, p. 1-29