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New Distance Learning Initiative for Foreign Languages at UCLALena Udall teaching with DL Technology

New Distance Learning Initiative for Foreign Languages at UCLA

New Distance Learning Technology links students at UC campuses who want to learn less commonly taught languages.

By Vera Wheeler

Students needing or wanting to study less commonly taught languages have often found it difficult or even impossible to do so, even at campuses with the most diverse offerings like UCLA. This year through a pilot Distance Learning Initiative among UCLA, UCB, and UCSD, courses in Danish, Swedish, and Finnish have students from different campuses enrolled and studying together in real time. Sophisticated but compact, mobile, and simple-to-use video-conferencing equipment, requiring only a video monitor and a network connection - available in the vast majority of UCLA classrooms - makes it possible for a Danish student at UCLA to attend class at Berkeley with her Berkeley classmates, or a UCSD student to enroll in Beginning Finnish at UCLA. Besides the real-time interaction among instructor and students at both ends during class meetings, course Websites hosted by the UCLA Humanities Division's eCampus provide everyone with the digital means to communicate, exchange materials, and explore resources.


This quarter, UCLA is delivering Beginning Finnish and Beginning Swedish to UCSD, and UCB is delivering Beginning Danish and Advanced Finnish to UCLA.


Professor Timothy Tangherlini, Chair of UCLA's Scandinavian Section, initiated the pilot program. The Language Resource Center is currently supporting the project, with current plans focusing on getting less commonly taught African, Eurasian and Slavic languages up and running between campuses for 2003-04, e.g. Swahili, Uzbek, Azeri, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, and Ukrainian. The distance learning classes for these languages are being supported by the International Institute's African Studies Center and European & Eurasian Center, with funding from the US Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Title VI
program.

Click on the link below to see and listen to a Quicktime movie of a Beginning Finnish class taught at UCLA and delivered to UC San Diego.

Download File: Elementary Finnish W03.mov

Center for European and Eurasian Studies