Author’s note: for examples of routine language practice and its application on Extempore, scroll down…
The Collaborative Language ProgramIn May, Extempore was invited to present at a workshop organized by the Collaborative Language Program at the University of Wisconsin System. The Collaborative Language Program (CLP) is a cutting edge way for UW System to staff and support language programs at schools that would otherwise not be able to maintain them. Through an active use of technology and blended-learning methodologies, UWS instructors teach less commonly taught languages across the network. Currently, the system offers classes in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hmong, Japanese, and Russian. The CLP uses a web-based course management system to provide structure and tools such as blogs, wikis, voice technology and webcams for further developing language proficiency. Courses are taught 3-4 days per week in a traditional classroom setting that has been modified for interactive two-way videoconferencing (ITV). Through the use of this technology, UW Faculty work closely with students locally and on receiving campuses. Native speaking facilitators aid students at receive sites. CLP courses average over 70% retention from semester to semester, which is higher than the national average for these languages. Additionally, when comparing outcomes between students who are in the same school as the instructor, with students who are remote, their scores as as good, or better.
Assessment-Focus on Proficiency: When You’re There & Even When You’re Not…The workshop, held on May 30th at the UW Madison Campus, consisted of two well-attended sessions. The first was led by Kate Grovergrys, Spanish Instructor at Madison College. Titled “Flow Like a River: Reimagining Online Assessment”, it covered best practices, common myths, useful tools and real-life scenarios where attendees had to think through different types of assessments in an online setting. Particularly interesting and eye-opening was Dr. Grovergrys’ debunking of some common myths about online teaching that we, at Extempore, often hear:
- Studies show that students are not more likely to cheat in online courses than face to face.
- Outcome of online classes are often better than F2F, and retention rates are the same, or higher, as traditional courses.
- Authentic Assessments ARE possible in an online setting: plenty of examples were provided, for reading, writing, listening and, naturally, for speaking, where Extempore provides the market-leading solution for authentic, spontaneous assessment.