Tips and Resources for Remote Foreign Language Teaching
This blog post provides additional suggestions for course continuity, tailored specifically for foreign language courses. We also suggest reviewing the general guidance for remote teaching provided in the Academic and Course Continuity guide, related to using course technologies and best practices for communicating with students, setting expectations, and more.
A number of language learning activities can be conducted in a self-study capacity — activities such as online games, exercises that are auto-graded, and work that is completed independently of the instructor, allow students to work at their own pace, asynchronously, and when they are able. See the Online Resources section below for some existing resources that you may be able to use, rather than starting from scratch.
Even when language learning has been structured in a self-study capacity, accountability is still helpful to encourage/inspire students to complete work for your course. Deadlines, clear descriptions of expectations and assignment goals, structured work and defined pathways through content all help provide accountability within the online language learning experience. Consider compiling a list of existing online resources for students to utilize and provide a “recommended pathway” through materials (see below for resources)
If you have existing assignments that can easily be transferred to Canvas (such as written assignments, oral interviews, presentations, tests), consider using Canvas as a “home base” or guide of sorts through the content you set up, whether you are providing links to existing external online resources with a guided pathway through content, or whether you are creating/uploading your own learning materials directly to Canvas. In either case, create a clear set of deadlines for completed work so that students have a solid understanding of how to proceed through your class.
Some assignments and coursework are more difficult to transfer to Canvas without significant alterations (such as live, synchronous class discussions or debates). In the latter case, consider revising or altering those assignments. If not possible, consider using Zoom for small group or whole class synchronous video chat (taking into account student time zones and access to the Internet).
For conversation courses or activities that require real-time interaction, Zoom offers a real-time video conference option. Zoom supports both whole-class and small-group conversation; the breakout room feature allows you to put students in small groups, and you as instructor can drop into the groups. We ask faculty to consider using this option sparingly if possible, given the challenges of coordinating across time zones, and possible issues with student Internet connectivity.
Mango Languages (contextualized, communicative-based online language learning exercises)
Quizlet (self-study language learning exercises and games)
H5P (free, open-source quizzing platform where you can create your own exercises with visual/audio support)
Canvas Commons (click on “Commons” in your Middlebury Canvas menu and type the words “language learning” or the name of your language in the search field to find existing courses available for your use)