Implementation and Evaluation of a Curricular Framework for Online Language Courses




online courses, curricular framework, online learning, oral proficiency, Speak Everywhere, Computer-assisted language learning


Constraints caused by the Covid-19 pandemic led to a spike in courses originally designed for in-class instruction being delivered online. As the pandemic wanes many courses will return to in-class instruction while other programs will look to develop post-pandemic long-term online courses, indicating a clear need for an effective curriculum for online foreign language classes. This article describes the implementation and evaluation of a newly developed curricular framework for online language courses at university level. Primarily, this framework is designed to foster oral proficiency. The technology used to implement the framework was also developed specifically to facilitate speaking practice. We have used the framework at Purdue University to develop a curriculum for Japanese online courses Levels 1–4 (i.e., semesters 1–4). Japanese Level 1 is used in this article to illustrate the features and effectiveness of the framework. The framework has three major components: asynchronous self-learning modules, weekly small-group synchronous sessions, and performance-based assessments. Each component involves a pedagogical innovation, a technological innovation, or both. This study’s main research question was, “Do students in an online course designed using the new framework develop a degree of oral proficiency comparable to that of students in a classroom?” An oral test administered at the end of the course showed that the online students performed comparably to their classroom counterparts on question and answer and picture description tasks and outperformed them on an elicited imitation task. The results of a questionnaire also indicated participants’ positive perceptions of the technology used and the online course itself. These findings serve as further evidence for the effectiveness of the proposed curricular framework.


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Author Biographies

Mayu Miyamoto, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

Mayu Miyamoto (PhD, Purdue University) is an Assistant Professor at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. Her research interests include Japanese pedagogy, language testing, pronunciation teaching, computer-assisted language learning, and teacher training.

Jeff Peterson, Brigham Young University

Jeff Peterson (PhD, Purdue University) is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Japanese at Brigham Young University. His research interests include Japanese pedagogy, extensive reading, computer-assisted language learning, pitch accent training, and corpus research.

Atsushi Fukada, Purdue University West Lafayette

Atsushi Fukada (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is a Professor of Japanese and Linguistics at Purdue University. His research interests include pragmatics, Japanese linguistics, computer-assisted language learning, and foreign language education.


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