Russian Language Development and Maintenance At a Distance: Methodology and Technology
Research publication no. 2
AIR FORCE ACADEMY COLORADO SPRINGS CO INST FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS
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This project consisted of research on the use of three common educational and communication technologies -- the internet, compact disk, and email -- to study the feasibility of conducting Russian Language maintenance and development in a distance learning mode. Thirty subjects at bases across the Air Force, including several who were deployed or TDY, participated in the 24-week course. The students used interactive courseware obtained primarily from a CD, were guided by a native-Russian course moderator, and interacted with each other in five-person cooperative teams. The course, which was designed to support the Air Force strategy of Global Engagement by increasing Foreign Area Officer and other linguists Defense Language Proficiency Test scores, was truly virtual and made optimal use of these technologies while reducing the need to send personnel for expensive in residence courses. Due to the onset of Operation Allied Force during the course, participant attrition was high and changes in linguistic capability could not be adequately measured. However, the technology was tested, revealing that CD and email were very reliable and fulfilled their course material presentation and communications functions. The Internet proved less reliable, primarily due to access problems for military users, and bandwidth restrictions. Also measured were subject attitudes on course participation over the internet, which indicated generally positive attitudes. The article closes with recommendations on developing and conducting distance learning courses for military audiences.
- Humanities and History
- Computer Programming and Software