On-line Cafés for Heritage Learners
Filipino, Japanese, Samoan, and Chinese
June 17-21, 2008
Furstenberg, Dorothy Chun
The virtual equivalent of the neighborhood coffee
house, the on-line café is a place for people to gather for conversation and social
interaction. The UH NFLRC has been developing a prototype on-line café for
language learning for several years. This distance education project
will enable heritage students of Filipino, Japanese, and Samoan, and
learners of business Chinese, to come together on line with students
having similar profiles at distant locations.
This Summer Institute workshop constitutes a critical phase in project
design for teams working in the four designated language communities
(details below). During the one-week workshop held on the UH campus,
the four teams will meet to define café content rubrics, operationalize
their respective cafés, and discuss other pedagogical considerations.
The cafés will be housed on an NFLRC server. In October 2009, the
NFLRC will convene an international CMC (computer mediated communication)
Symposium in which the four culture cafés, and the exchanges which
have taken place in them over the intervening year, will be showcased.
On-line cafés will be created in four target languages using BRIX
courseware, a dynamic Web courseware system featuring a 3-tier client/server
model using on-line database connectivity and employing widely available
Web technologies including client-side scripting and streaming media.
Members of each café will dialogue on line with peers and facilitators
(instructors) in a learning community via forums or threaded discussions.
The cafés will feature a social area for free chat, a discussion
area for instructor-guided interaction, a grammar clinic for focus on
form, and a gallery for sharing pictures of school and community as well
as other graphics. The four cafés will each have a distinct sub-theme.
Filipino Community Café. Advanced Filipino language
students at UH will meet Filipino heritage students in the University of California
system in an on-line Community Café. UC participation will be coordinated
through the office of the Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching at
UC Davis. The Community Café will create a venue for students to share
ideas and experiences on outreach initiatives in local communities in Hawaii
Japanese Culture Café. Advanced Japanese language students
at Aiea High School in Honolulu will meet English language students at Tezukayama
Gakuin Izumigaoka High School in Osaka, Japan, in an on-line Culture Café.
The café format will be based on the well-regarded Cultura model based
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by the National Endowment
for the Humanities. This project allows students not only to improve their
target language skills but also to compare and contrast their cultural values
with the values of the target culture participants.
Samoan Pathways Café. Advanced Samoan language students
at UH will meet Samoan language students at American Samoa Community College
in Pago Pago and Samoan language students at Farrington High School in Honolulu
in an on-line Pathways Café. The content focus of the Pathways Café will
be to facilitate articulation from high school and community college to university.
Samoan heritage students are significantly underrepresented at institutions
of higher education in the US, and this café project is intended to "demystify" the
university experience for high school and community college students by allowing
them to be exposed to and mentored by successful Samoan language students at
UH, with the heritage language as a focus of interchange.
China-USA Business Café. Adapting
to the culture of one's language of study is a critical ingredient for
successful functioning in the target culture environment. This is doubly
true in the world of business, which is governed by culturally specific
protocols. In the China-USA Business Café, Chinese students of
business English in the US International MBA Program (USIMBA) at Guangzhou's
Sun Yat-Sen University will meet online with American students of business
Chinese in the UH Shidler College of Business' China International MBA
Program (CIMBA) in preparation for and during their study abroad programs
at each others' universities. Using techniques developed in the the acclaimed
Cultura model, students will engage in discussion about similarities
and differences in cultural values and practices in the world of business
in China and in the USA. This exchange will allow both sides to anticipate
and respond to the inevitable culture shock they will experience during
their respective study abroad programs.
This heritage café project is co-sponsored by the three NRCs
at UH. The Southeast Asia NRC will co-sponsor the Filipino Community
Café. The East Asia NRC will co-sponsor the Japanese Culture Café.
The UH CIBER will co-sponsor the Chinese Business Café, and the
Pacific Island NRC will co-sponsor the Samoan Pathways Café.
Partners: UH NRCs for Southeast Asia,
East Asia, and Pacific Islands; UH CIBER