Escaping the large lecture hall: how to turn a large enrollment third-year Spanish grammar class into a hybrid / online class

AUSÍN, ADOLFO
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
RUIZ-SÁNCHEZ, CARMEN
AQUINAS COLLEGE

BIODATA
Dr. Adolfo Ausín got his BA in Spanish Philology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and his MA and PhD in Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. Since 2002 he has been teaching upper level undergraduate and graduate classes on Spanish Linguistics at Michigan State University. Since 2007 he has been designing and teaching hybrid and fully online classes for the Spanish Department and for the Center of Integrated Studies in the Arts and Humanities. His research currently focuses on online teaching, Spanish syntax and Linguistic Theory. Right now he is part of the “Web 2.0 technology and instructed language acquisition” grant funded by the International Research and Studies Program.
 
Dr. Carmen Ruiz-Sánchez got her BA in English Philology at the University of Seville, Spain. She came to the United States to do her graduate studies. She completed her MA in Teaching English as a Second Language and her MA and Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University. Her areas of interest are Sociolinguistics, Second Language Acquisition and Spanish Phonology, and she has published a book and several articles in these areas. She teaches Spanish lower and upper level courses and coordinates the first-year Spanish program in the Department of World Languages at Aquinas College. Before joining the faculty at Aquinas College, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Michigan State University.

RESUMEN

El propósito de este estudio es mostrar que un curso híbrido y/o completamente online puede ofrecer una alternativa eficaz para las clases con un alto número de estudiantes, para cursos de verano y/o para estudiantes no tradicionales. En nuestro caso, intentábamos escapar el formato de clase-conferencia y los desafíos que tal formato presenta como encontrar una manera de transmitir el material de clase a un número elevado de estudiante con éxito, mantener la interacción entre profesor-estudiante y entre estudiante-estudiante, y promover el aprendizaje activo. Este artículo describe y explica los pasos para desarrollar y enseñar las versiones híbridas y online de una clase de gramática de español del tercer año. Para ello se emplearon múltiples recursos tecnológicos, como Adobe Presenter, para transformar las presentaciones de PowerPoint en Flash, CLEAR Conversation y Skype para hacer video-conferencias asincrónicas y sincrónicas, Googledocs para la tarea en grupo, y la plataforma de la universidad para las actividades de práctica y las pruebas online. El programa Jing también se usó para caputar la imagen de la pantalla y hacer tutorías. Este ensayo incluye información detallada para que se puedan crear cursos similares.

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to show that a hybrid and/or a fully online course can be an effective alternative for large enrollment classes, summer courses, and/or for non-traditional students. In our situation, we were trying to escape the big lecture hall and the challenges that such a format presents, like finding a successful way to deliver the material to a large number of students, keeping teacher-student and student-to-student interaction, and promoting active learning. This article describes and explains the steps involved in developing and teaching a hybrid and a fully online versions of a third-year Spanish grammar class. Multiple technological resources are employed: Flash Learning objects, such as Adobe Presenter, to transform PowerPoint presentations into Flash, CLEAR Conversation and Skype to have asynchronous and synchronous video conferencing, Googledocs for group homework, and the university’s Course Management System for practice activities and online quizzes, some of them including spoken language samples. The screen capture program (Jing) was also employed to create video tutorials. Detailed information is provided so that similar courses can be created.

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