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Building a Model for Online Distance Courses Through Social Media and Networks

, University of Pennsylvania, United States

IJVPLE Volume 3, Number 3, ISSN 1947-8518 Publisher: IGI Global


This article describes the affordances of social media and networks for online Elementary German courses that have been taught at the University of Pennsylvania since 2010. These online courses were created to provide students the opportunity to take Elementary German as part of the language requirement for Penn credit during the summer months when students are away from campus. Like their face-to-face counterparts, the online courses are grounded on the principles of communicative language teaching and learning but clearly reveal the potential of these principles to maximize participation, promote learner autonomy and influence student outcomes when applied to collaborative online learning spaces. This paper explains the pedagogy behind the online courses, outlines their relationship to the face-to-face language classroom, and describes how student interactions are key to the learning process. It considers the importance of electronic and digital literacy (Warschauer, 2006) to the growth of new methodologies, materials development, assessment, articulation, intercultural competence, and student progress. This paper also compares the instructor’s experiences of teaching in the online environment with those of the face-to-face classroom and discusses how these distinct and separate learning spaces are in many ways related and can inform each other. Finally, the author considers new possibilities for language learning through emerging technologies.


Dixon, E. (2012). Building a Model for Online Distance Courses Through Social Media and Networks. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 3(3), 81-94. IGI Global. Retrieved April 23, 2019 from .