Sensei On Line Discussion

Going Beyond the Classroom with Videoconferencing and Internet Discussion Forum:

Effective Use of Peer Editing from the Japanese College Students

By Yoko Kano

A course was developed to be offered as an Intermediate Japanese language course at University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) in the U.S. in conjunction with “Elementary English as Foreign Language” at Iwate Prefectural University (IPU) in Japan.  A traditional third-semester level 3-credit Japanese language course was modified to utilize the technology and to enhance teaching pedagogy and to bring authentic Japanese language and culture into classroom.  This also enabled the class to incorporate the goal of “Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home and Around the World (ACTFL Standard 5).”  It was started in the fall semester of 1999 and was conducted between the UNCW and IPU for three years.    The course was successful in a way that it gave unique opportunities for students to develop their Japanese language skills and to learn about the culture through correspondences with Japanese counterparts, using a videoconferencing and the Internet Forum.  Japanese students edited and gave feedback to American students’ writings, and American students gave feedback to their English essays as return.  The peer editing could be risky for the intermediate level of language instructions but it was very fruitful and worthwhile.  Through this experience, the students developed the friendship with their counterparts and were motivated even more to study Japanese and go to Japan some day.  This experience offered the students the first step for developing a better understanding of a different culture through communication with peers of the same age, discussing issues of their interest and developing a better appreciation for other cultures with the careful and open minded attitude toward the information around them.

Students wrote essays on the following given topics:

ˇ        Self-introduction: What do you do for free time, hobbies and part-time job?

ˇ        What do you do with your family for the annual event, birthday, matsuri, or get-together?

ˇ        Pop Culture: what is popular in music, fashion, keitai, etc.

ˇ        Current event: what is going on? Any global issues you are interested in?   

The above topics are chosen since the American students have finished the textbook up to Chapter 5 of “Yookoso” by Tohsaku.  Within two week period, they exchanged the essay on Forum, which is an asynchronous bulletin board on the web, edited partner’s essay, and asked questions about the content.  The partner were assigned and rotated for every topic biweekly. 

The course provided students Virtual Study Abroad:

The next best thing to being there!

More details on class structures, course contents, procedures, pros and cons, ways of technology usage, future recommendation, et. al. are published with feedback from the participated students by The Japan Foundation and 凡人社(Bonjinsha「世界の日本語教育 <日本語教育事情報告編>」第7号 Current Report on Japanese-Language Education around the Globe Vol.7