Synchronous Facilitation in Distance Foreign Language Teaching

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1 Synchronous Facilitation in Distance Foreign Language Teaching Nilay Girişen, Nurdan Söker, Sevgi Çalışır Zenci, Olcay Saltık, Ferdi Bozkurt, Hülya Pilancı ; ; Anadolu University (Turkey) Abstract The Internet provides the facilities for listening, speaking, reading and writing which are four basic abilities for remote learners to acquire. On the other hand the auditory and visual content provided by the Internet makes the language a socio-cultural entity besides being only a system of structurally related elements. Internet based remote language teaching offers significant chances to improve communicative competence as a result of rapid developments in Internet audio and video technologies in recent years. In this study, Turkish Language Certificate Program (TSP), which is applied completely via the internet, is discussed. The main topic of this poster is the contribution of synchronous facilitations, one of the most important tools of the program, to distance language teaching. The technical structure of the program has been prepared by the Anadolu University Open Education Faculty, Internet-based Education Unit. The program is the first Turkish teaching program the exams and asynchronous - synchronous facilitations of which is implemented fully via the Internet. The paper is designed to determine that the synchronous facilitations have great contributions to distance language teaching. In synchronous facilitations webcam and microphone are used; besides there is also a possibility to communicate by writing. It is possible to make pronunciation practice with students individually. Students prepare for the class by studying that week s subject, e-lesson, e-book, e-study, e-exercise book and the exercises in the program. Instructor starts the lesson by asking a question related to that week s subject. In the following part of the class, Instructor answers student questions. A personnel providing technical support also participates in the class in order to solve participants problems related to the Internet, webcam and microphone. 1. Introduction In recent years developing technology has brought new opportunities into education with the Internet and computer. The speed of information age and developing educational technology have changed the ways of instruction and the level of knowledge gained during instruction. The development beginning with distance education turned into computer-assisted education, and then web-based education. Finally came the electronic learning, which is a subcategory of distance learning using the information technology. E-learning has many uses for instructors and learners in terms of the quality of education and has a profound impact on in-class instruction. [1] The fast developments of the new technologies and the Web-Based Education Systems have increased the importance of giving courses especially to university students. Nowadays, Distance Learning has been identified with the effience of support system. It can be said that one of the

2 advantages of the web-based support system is to include learners whenever and wherever they want to. [2] Learning a second language at a distance poses a tremendous challenge to learners. Physical distance from teachers and peers coupled with possible isolation from the relevant language community makes language learning extremely difficult. However, live interaction supported by synchronous learning management systems (SLMS) over the Internet holds great potential to address various difficulties facing distance language learners. [3] Online teaching can be asynchronous-based or synchronous-based; the former provides learning activities such as surfing web contents, participating in forum discussion, and completing online quiz and homework assignments, while the latter provides learning activities which are similar to those conducted in traditional face-to-face classroom. [4] By allowing students and instructors to negotiate linguistic issues together in real-time virtual settings, the interactive functions of such systems online chat, whiteboards, and videoconferencing technology can help foster vital learning communities in second language instruction. [5] Turkish Language Certificate Program (TSP) is a distance language teaching program which is applied completely via Internet (www.tsp.anadolu.edu.tr). The technical structure of the program has been prepared by the Anadolu University Open Education Faculty in The Turkish contents of the program has been prepared by the Anadolu University TSP Turkish Language Instructor Team (Fig.1). TSP received European Language Label Award on September 26, 2009 which is the day celebrated as Language Festival. Fig.1. TSP Page

3 The users who will register for Turkish Certificate Programme must have some technical requirements (Fig.2.). Fig.2. Technical Requirements The students have a chance to choose the language to read the rules and the usages of TSP pages: in Turkish, in English (Fig.3.), in German (Fig.4.) or in French (Fig.5.). Fig.3. in English Fig.4. in German Fig.5. in French

4 The program has A1, A2, B1 and B2 levels. The production studies of C1 and C2 levels are still continuing. The users must choose and login to their level. All the students and intructors who have already registered in TSP can login to Turkish Language Certificate Programme Portal with the "username" and "password" they obtained during their registration process. Each level consists of twelve units (Fig.6., Fig.7., Fig.8.). Fig.6. Username and Password Page of TSP Fig.7. Page of A1 Level Fig.8. Units of A1 Level TSP provides services to foreigners who live in Turkey, Turkish people who live in abroad and want to develop their native language, people who have labor relations with Turkish people, people who want to learn Turkish as a foreing language.

5 The program is the first Turkish teaching program the exams and asynchronous - synchronous facilitations of which is implemented fully via the Internet (Fig.9., Fig.10.). Fig.9. Asynchronous Facilitation 1.2 Synchronous Facilitations in TSP Fig.10. Writing Exam Distance learning can be roughly divided into synchronous or asynchronous delivery types. Synchronous and asynchronous facilitations are carried out by a facilitator assigned for students. Synchronous facilitations mean that the teacher and the student interact with each other in "real time". These real time facilitations are offered twice a week, one hour each day. Each of TSP levels continues three months. Between this time intervals students communicate with the facilitators. Virtual classrooms are occurred with maximum 10 students who are adults and early-adults. In the program there are some processes for users to enter the virtual classrooms (Fig.11., Fig.12., Fig.13., Fig.14.). Fig.11. Process 1 Fig.12. Process 2

6 Fig.13. Process 3 Fig.14. Process 4 Every week students prepare for the class by studying that week s subject, e-lesson, e-book, e-study, e-exercise book and the exercises in the program. Instructor starts the lesson by talking about the topic and asking a question related to that week s unit. After students answers the lesson continuous with some exercises such as fill in the blanks, make a dialog with your classmate, make a dialog with the tutor, use the structure in a sentence. In the following part of the lesson, instructor answers students questions (Fig.15.). Fig.15. Synchronous Facilitation

7 Virtual classrooms are instructed by a native speaker instructor who teaches Turkish language to students. It is possible to make pronunciation practice with students individually (Fig.16.). Fig.16. An Example of a Lesson In synchronous facilitations webcam and microphone are used; besides there is also a possibility to communicate by writing (Fig.17.). Moreover in virtual classrooms the students can write their questions and answers to everyone or privately (only to instructor). A personnel providing technical support who is called TSP Gözlemci also participates in the classroom in order to solve students problems related to the Internet, webcam and microphone (Fig.18.). Fig.18. An Example of a Lesson with Technical Support

8 In synchronous facilitations the instructor can use different tools which are listed below to teach the language. Sharing files Sharing videos Sharing links Sharing grammer tables Sharing photos Sharing comics Writing notes Painting (Fig.19.) Fig.19. Different Tools in Synchronous Facilitation

9 In TSP there are two kinds of examinations, writing and oral exams. The oral exams are being applied in virtual classrooms. In this part there is only one student and the instructor. During these examinations videoconferencing is being used. In these exams writing is forbidden, student and instructor can only talk (Fig.20.). Fig.20. Oral Exam Conclusion It is seen that technology occurs different facilities in distance language teaching. One of the most important tools of distance foreign language teaching programs are synchronous facilitations. Synchronous facilitations bring the instructor and students together at the same time even if they are in different places. In synchronous facilitations tutor has visual and audial opportunities to teach the foreign language via the Internet. References [1] ÜNSAL, Haluk (2005). Web Destekli Eğitim, Elektronik Öğrenme ve Web Destekli Öğretim Programlarındaki Çeşitli Ders Modelleri, Türk Eğitim Bilimleri Dergisi, Vol. 379, P. 388 [2] ÇAVA, B., ÇAVA HUYUGUZEL, P. (2004). "Web Destekli Eğitim: Teletop Yaklaşımı", Buca Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, Vol. 16, P [3] WANG, Y. & CHEN, N.S. (2007) Online Synchronous Language Learning: SLMS Over the Internet,Innovate,3,retrievedOctober15,from [4] HASTİE, M., CHEN, N.S., KUO, Y.H. (2007), Instructional Design for Best Practice in the Synchronous Cyber Classroom, Educational Technology & Society, 10 (4), P [5] WANG, Y. & CHEN, N.S. (2007) Online Synchronous Language Learning: SLMS Over the Internet,Innovate,3,retrievedOctober15,from

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