Can Language Programs Be Saved...Online?
Higher education institutions always seem to be facing budget cuts, which can mean tough choices. When it becomes necessary to eliminate degree programs, those in foreign languages might be among the first to go since they typically attract fewer students compared to fields like business or education. But, through online learning, there could be a way for students to still earn these degrees.
How Can I Learn a Language Online?
It can be hard to imagine learning a foreign language online since such a big part of it is being able to hearing and converse in that language. But technology has come a long way and there are several functions that can help with language learning. Students don't necessarily need a classroom setting anymore.
How am I supposed to learn a new language if I can't hear how the words are supposed to be pronounced? That's big a question for people thinking of studying a foreign language online. Websites can have audio or video clips so that you can actually hear the words or sentences, alleviating the stress of trying to figure it out by just reading words on a screen.
What if I want to be able to actually interact with others? Web cams and online video conferences could make it possible for you to have conversations with your teachers or other students. You don't have to be in the same room to interact with each other. Students who want another way to perfect their language skills might want to participate in an internship or even study abroad. These situations could give you additional opportunities to use and practice your skills.
Online Language Degree Programs
Currently, it can be very difficult to find online degree programs in a foreign language, but there are some schools that already have them. The University of Florida offers an online master's degree in Latin. However, students must still participate in summer institutes taken on campus. During these institutes, students take a couple of comprehensive exams. In the beginning of April 2011, California University of Pennsylvania, which is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, announced it will offer an online bachelor's degree in Arabic. Although it will be taught by California University faculty, the course will be available to students at all 14 of the system's schools. This program is designed to teach students reading, writing and, yes, speaking skills.
The Future of Online Language Learning
There are several benefits to offering language degree programs online that could result in increased availability. First of all, it's cheaper to offer a program online than on campus. By eliminating the need for a classroom, schools can save on costs associated with a physical space, ranging from utilities to computer equipment.
In addition, distance learning could give colleges and universities the opportunity to increase the amount of students taking their programs. Currently, schools could be limited to applicants who live near their campuses or are able to relocate. However, by offering a program online, they might be able to extend their reach, making their foreign language programs more popular.
There are already many foreign language courses available on the Internet. And there are many institutions of higher learning providing degree programs online. So it only makes sense that more language degree programs will eventually be offered online.
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