FEBRUARY 2010 | VOL. 10 NO. 6  
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Distance Education
Online Dual Immersion Program for Language Exchanges
 Dr. Richard Vigilante, Jesuit Distance Education Network
Carolina Marturet, AUSJAL

The Virtual Global Language Exchange Project is a dual immersion program that incorporates the use of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) into the foreign language curriculum. Through PCs and Internet-based video, language learners participate in an instructional partnership that supports cultural exploration and second language acquisition.

CALL places a strong emphasis on student-centered lessons that support largely-independent learning using structured and/or unstructured interactive lessons. CALL is not a method but rather a tool that helps teachers to facilitate the language learning process. CALL can be used to reinforce what has been learned previously and can assist learners with limited language proficiency.

The project started as a pilot in November of 2006 when Colleen Coffey of Marquette University’s Spanish Department tested a CALL-based global classroom approach to language learning. Together with language faculty at the Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia, over 700 Javeriana students and 1200 Marquette students have since participated in the online language exchanges.

Given this success, the project will be extended as part of the new Online Consortium of Jesuit Higher Education that was formed in 2009 between the AJCU and the Association of Latin American Universities Entrusted to the Society of Jesus (AUSJAL) representing the 31 Jesuit universities in Latin America.

The project will invite faculty and staff from language departments at Jesuit colleges, universities, schools, and community-based organizations throughout the Western Hemisphere to participate in a series of virtual language and cultural exchanges. A Consortium project team will coordinate the language exchanges and generate funding to sustain the project over time, incorporating evolving technology and trends in pedagogy. The project will serve as a model to better the communication and collaboration within the global Jesuit network, and lead to greater participation and innovation of Jesuit collaborative projects.

The project will connect language faculty and learning communities from AJCU and AUJSAL institutions throughout the international Jesuit network by implementing the following:

  • Create a network of language, literature, culture, communication and social justice faculty and staff at Jesuit institutions to facilitate quick and successful collaboration for global learning partnerships and intercultural and language exchanges
  • Provide a medium through which faculty dedicated to working collaboratively on progressive pedagogy and methodologies using technology may convene, present, share, and carry out cutting edge international research projects
  • Share seminars and workshops online that are offered by project members as well as develop new seminars inviting outside experts in the field. Seminars and workshops would include but are not limited to methodology, technology, literature, intercultural research, communication, social justice, and dual immersion assessment
  • Research and pilot international community-based projects with other Jesuit community based networks that will explore intercultural competency, social and economic justice and service to all members of the global community.
  • Develop research and unique learning opportunities for faculty and learners around dual immersion methodology and intercultural community based leadership training during summer months.

For information about participating in the AJCU-AUSJAL Dual Immersion project, please contact Richard Vigilante at vigilante@ajcunet.edu.