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Assessing a virtual course: development of a model

The growing trend toward reliance on the computer for language teaching demands serious assessment to determine the efficacy of this electronically mediated instructional tool. During a piloted on-line course offering, an assessment model comprised of multiple measures was developed and tested. Focusing onan upper-division university French Civilization course, the model was applied to examine the effects of this instructional mode on teaching and learning, noting opportunities for faculty-student contact, speed and type of feedback, time on task, and concerns with learning styles. Characteristics of student participants were also analyzed to recognize degrees of required technological skills, structured environment preference, and active learning initiative. In addition, the model was applied to assess the demands on faculty in terms of workload, technological ability, and pedagogical reflectivity practices. The findings of the multiple measures are discussed, and implications for pedagogy, curriculum, and future research are presented.

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