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Languages and Literatures


Ensuring that students spend time preparing for class has always been one of the challenges of teaching. Indeed, when students are given an assignment that they are required to do before coming to the next lecture—whether it be written exercises or just studying—one wonders how often they are actually doing it. There are many ways in which teachers can evaluate whether or not students are prepared for class (i.e., have done “their reading”). Some of these methods to promote more out-of-class studying have included collecting written homework, giving quizzes, and even extra credit. This paper discusses the role of technology in the classroom as an alternative means to ensure student preparation for class lectures. In particular, this paper reports on a particular hybrid Spanish language program which was implemented at a large university in the United States. In this program, in addition to spending the traditional class time with an instructor, students are engaged in on-line, out-of-class activities related to the immediate subsequent class lecture. Solidly grounded in contemporary theories of second language acquisition, this program has shown that students are not only more prepared for class, but that the instructor is able to devote more class time to practice meaningful communicative activities in Spanish with the students. This paper ends with a section reporting opinions and testimonials from instructors and students of the Spanish hybrid language program.


This article was originally published in College Teaching Methods & Styles Journal, 4(6): 41-50. © 2008 The Clute Institute. Reproduced with permission.