It seems unnecessary to comment why people are looking for ways to acquire proficiency in a foreign language and why for most of them it is imperative to succeed in learning the foreign language. Through the efforts of universities, language associations and colleges are providing more language courses through alternative modes of instruction for academic purposes. As a result, students have broader access to language study than ever before - and an academic language learning is really essential for them.
Colleges and universities developing alternative language programs play an important role in preparing their students for achieving a successful career n this new global society.
One way to offer quality language instruction in under-enrolled language courses is to pool resources. Summer language institutes, as the name suggests, are summer alternative language programs where instructors and students come together on one campus to teach and learn a language.
These intensive alternative language programs often combine language instruction with cultural and social opportunities, so students can immerse themselves in the foreign language and culture.
In addition to the benefit of several hours of intensive language instruction each day, summer language institutes often provide extracurricular language and cultural events such as guest speaker series, film festivals, music concerts, and social gatherings.
One of the largest and most well-known summer alternative language programs is the summer language school at Middlebury College in Vermont. Middlebury's summer language school offers programs in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Middlebury students experience a total immersion environment at the language school.
All students sign a "language pledge" by which they promise to communicate using the second language in the course of the studies. Students use the language in and out of class to interact and socialize with friends, and to enhance the many cultural opportunities provided for language students.
Distance-learning courses are available in various modes. One of the earliest to be developed, and most common modes of distance learning, is the video conferencing course.
The University of Wisconsin System has developed a large ITV foreign language program through its Collaborative Language Project. It uses ITV to provide instruction to various campuses in the UW system in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian. Other universities that provide language instruction through ITV include Lewis and Clark University, which shares instruction of Nez Perce and French with the University of Idaho-Moscow, and Indiana University, which sends instruction in Uzbek and Kazak to several institutions in the Big Ten.
Another common mode for offering distance-learning courses is the online course. Here, learners study the language online, meet other learners and the instructors in live chat rooms, have discussions on bulletin boards, or communicate with fellow students and instructors through e-mail.
It is clear that colleges and universities through developing alternative language programs aim at only one purpose - preparing the students for achieving a successful career in this new world society.