Article published in:Asian Languages and Computers
Edited by Debra Hoven and Jeong-Bae Son
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Series S 17] 2003
► pp. 111–124
Avoiding the ‘virtual’
Building learning communities in off-campus language learning
This paper explores current arguments on the virtual nature of experiences in learning via the Internet and the World Wide Web in the context of the design and recent implementation of an off-campus distributed language course in Indonesian developed by the author. The establishment of the course has been in response to the demand for more flexible modes of delivery that are capable of assisting learners to accommodate language study with the demands of employment and family commitments. It would appear, however, that for some language learners the remoteness of learning in a virtual classroom is in conflict with their ultimate goal of interpersonal communication within a new cultural context. While on-line or CD-ROM tasks are reflective of those encountered in on-campus language learning, for some learners the unfamiliarity of negotiating through an electronic medium gives little sense of a shared experience. The paper argues that these activities can only be exploited to strong effect when integrated within an approach that constantly seeks to link the learner to a community of learners with whom they share common goals, and to the wider native speaker community whose culture they wish to interact with.
Published online: 01 January 2003
Cited by 1 other publications
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