Office of Language Assessment

Online Language Course Development

Building on the success and impact of the LPII, the UChicago Language Center is offering a comprehensive pedagogy, curriculum, and professional development program that helps language instructors create online courses for select language curricula. This program would be similar to the Language Pedagogy Innovation Initiative in its focus on reverse design and its highly-structured methodology, but would be more limited in scope to language courses that would be most effective in online delivery. Online course formats would also make it possible for the University to offer specialized, high-quality, and in-demand language courses to a broader population of students.

For this program, an “online course” is a course where:
  1. all course content and tasks are delivered via an online learning management system (Canvas).
  2. the course contains both synchronous and asynchronous elements, but is delivered within one academic quarter.
  3. students must be enrolled at the University of Chicago, but do not need to be present on the Hyde Park campus to participate.
Only language courses that can demonstrate the following criteria would be eligible for this program:
  • Suitability for delivery in online environments. Conventional “four-skills” (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) language courses require face-to-face interaction, but some specialized courses (such as those that are focused more towards literacy and advanced language abilities) are better-suited to take advantage of the affordances of online delivery (i.e., individualized content-based instruction).
  • Unique expertise and specialization at the University of Chicago. This program seeks to capitalize on the University’s strengths to design innovative language courses that help advance the field of foreign language education.
  • Limited offerings at other universities. Delivering these courses online makes them available to students at other universities who do not have access to such specialized courses.
How is this different from teaching online during the Covid-19 pandemic?
  •  The driving question behind teaching online during the Covid-19 pandemic is “How am I going to teach my existing course remotely?,” while the LPII’s Online Language Course program combines significant curriculum DEVELOPMENT (tied to specific outcomes and LPII proficiency tests) with online course DELIVERY. Optimal online teaching and delivery is built into each step of the course and materials design process.
  • These courses must be conceptualized for long-term online delivery (see criteria in preceding section). Therefore, when writing a proposal for an Online Language Course Development grant, the argument for why this course is suitable must be made independent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Participants will apply in the fall, attend various training sessions during the winter and spring, and develop the course over the summer.

Proposals for Online Language Course Development grants are due November 6, 2020. More information on the timeline, procedures, and application process will be discussed at the LPII Info Session on Monday, October 19, 2020 and will be released on the LPII Canvas site that same day.