Bridging the Gap
Online Modules for Less Commonly Taught Languages
As language requirements burgeon at the post-secondary level in
attempts to create global citizens out of college graduates,
universities nationwide have seen a sharp increase in language
course enrollments, especially in the Less Commonly Taught
Language (LCTL) courses (Furman, Goldberg, & Lusin, 2007).
While this is a positive trend from an intellectual and cultural
point-of-view, the sudden growth presents a unique set of problems
for course implementation. There has been a current trend of
offering language courses online to meet increasing demands for
commonly taught languages (CTLs) (e.g., Chenoweth, Ushida, &
Murday, 2006; Sanders, 2005), but little has been written about
online offerings for LCTLs (c.f., Winke, Goertler, & Amuzie, 2010).
To respond to the need for high-quality pedagogical materials for
LCTLs and to compensate for the lack of face-to-face classroom
settings, the Center for the Study of International Languages and
Cultures (CSILC) at the University of South Florida (USF) has
created lessons in Dari, Pashto, and Urdu for the Global Language
Online Support System website (GLOSS; gloss.dliflc.gov)
supported by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language
Center. This paper is an analysis of considerations that informed
the process and products of these modules. A discussion of
implications and directions for further study concludes the paper.