Evaluating the Role of On-line Multimedia Teaching Materials for Upper-level Chinese Courses
While the lack of the target cultural environment is one of the most challenging situations for the professionals who teach Chinese as a second language in the U.S., many of us have tackled the situation by employing technology and multimedia teaching materials in curriculum development and classroom instruction. In order to create a meaningful social-cultural context for learners of Chinese, the author will assess the potential of web-based teaching materials by evaluating a series of on-line video modules which were created for upper-level Chinese language courses in 2000 (http://www.duke.edu/ kslee). Based on evaluations and notes from interviews of colleagues and students who have used these online video modules, I will examine the role of these multimedia materials in teaching the Chinese language and culture. The pros and cons of creating teaching materials of this kind will also be discussed. Initially created to enhance listening and speaking skills of advanced Chinese language learners by introducing major social phenomena and changes in modern Chinese society, the design of these online teaching/learning materials has also raised other issues in foreign language education. By incorporating the China-related subjects taught by faculty from other departments into the topics of the video modules, the process of making these teaching materials created a connection between the language program and the faculty who usually teach content courses on campus. The learners are able to apply knowledge gained from learning the materials in the language class to the China-related courses they take in other departments, and vise versa. The incorporation of the inter-disciplinary approach has, in turn, made the learning experience of Chinese language in a non-target cultural environment less marginalized or isolated. Appealing to the social-constructivist theory, the author will examine such an approach in terms of the teacher’s practice, the learners’ perspective on the online multimedia teaching/learning materials and the result of learning with regard to aspects of linguistic and cultural acquisition in CSL.