Linguistics and the Teaching of English
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Linguistics 191/291 - CALL Mini-Course
Thursdays 9:00 - 10:30

This mini-course is offered as a 5th unit option for Linguistics 191/291 or a 1-unit directed study for anyone not taking that course. The goal is to provide you with an introduction to CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) so that you can make informed judgments about how to incorporate technology into your language classes to make certain aspects of student learning more engaging, efficient, and/or effective. This overview will cover elements of development, evaluation, and implementation of software, along with information for using the World Wide Web as a learning environment and a resource for both you and your students. Auditors are welcome.

There are three requirements: 1) regular attendance, 2) completion of weekly preparatory material, and 3) a presentation and short writeup of an individual project (due at the last class) Note that weekly preparatory material will usually consist of a reading and exploration of some web links or other material. Auditors are not required to do (3).

There is flexibility in the final project, but some of the options are evaluating a piece of software, evaluating a language learning website, designing a piece of software or a website (just designing it or also programming it), writing a critical review of a CALL book or article, or writing a CALL lesson plan for existing materials or applications. Anyone interested in more than 1 unit for the course may negotiate a more ambitious project.

Tentative List of Weekly Topics.  More information and links are found on the Invitation to CALL website.

Class Topics (tentative) Assignment (assignments are due the week following, but you are encouraged to skim the unit ahead of time)
1 Introduction to Computer-Assisted Language Learning Read Unit 1. Homework -- Do one or both of the following, using the materials at least twice (15+ minutes each time) & come prepared to discuss your experience. In particular, think about what you could learn that would be useful using these materials and how they differ from non- compute alternatives.
1) Try using software for a language you don't know at all--CD-ROMs were passed out in class or you can pick one up from Phil. Note that these are for Windows and will probably not work on a Mac.
2) To get some idea of what it's like to learn a language online, go to, pick a language you don't know well, and try out some of their materials.
2 CALL Software Evaluation, Design and Implementation Read Unit 2. Homework -- Visit the CALICO Review site at Select a review that is relevant to your current or future teaching and read it critically. Think about 1) what useful information is provided, 2) what support the reviewer offered for the judgments made, and 3) what information was not provided that you would have found helpful.
3 Computer Mediated Communication Read Unit 3. Homework -- Visit a discussion board or chat room at or, or a similar site where language learners congregate. Try participating in a chat and/or making a posting to one of the discussion board topics. Examine the language the learners are producing and reflect on your experience, including an assessment of how you think chat or discussion at these sites could be integrated into a class you were teaching.
4 CALL on the Web
Read Unit 4. Homework --  Try at least two of the sites listed there that you haven't visited before. Come prepared to discuss ways you might use them for supporting tutoring or in current or future classes; also, come prepared to discuss the impact of Web 2.0 on language teaching and learning. You should start thinking about your final project if you are taking the course for credit.
5 CALL and Language Skills
Read Unit 5. Homework -- Select one skill area that particularly interests you. After reviewing some of the sources mentioned on the course site, find one or two other web sources on your own and come ready to share them with the class next week. Also, come prepared to describe your proposed final project if you are taking the course for credit.
6 CALL Research
Read Unit 6. Homework -- Go to and select three questions to review that look interesting to you. Once you have found and read them, pick one and see if you can find (using Google or Google scholar) one or more relevant studies on the question. If you find a good one, you can submit the information and I will post it on the site, thus assuring your fame.
7 CALL Learner Training
Read Unit 7. Review previous units and prepare for your project presentation.
8 Student Presentations and Wrap-up Read Unit 8. Note: last class meeting is Thursday March 11 at 9:00 AM.

CALL Project Assignment

Those of you taking the CALL section for credit are required to do a short project and present it in class during the final meeting. You will have 10 minutes for the presentation, so please prepare accordingly. The project should include a writeup, which is a part of your final grade and is due by March 18 (sooner is better)

The project can be of your own choice but should obviously be connected to the theme of the class. Here are some pre-approved options: you may propose others, but if you do, please clear them with me ahead of time.

1) A critical review of a CALL book or article.

2) An evaluation of a piece of software or a website. Be sure to follow the general guidelines described in class (Unit 2) (operational description, teacher fit, learner fit)

3) Design of a piece of software, a website, or a language learning task that employs computer technology. Include a clear justification of the learning objectives and why you think your proposed software, website or task will help meet them.

4) Design and programming/scripting of a piece of software or website. If you actually program create, the design can be simpler than if you're just proposing. Or you can just create some small part of it for demonstration purposes.

I am available by appointment to discuss any and all aspects of your projects. The length of the writeup will vary with the project but should not exceed 8 pages double-space: projects like (3) and (4) involving creative work may have shorter writeups.

Last modified: February 25, 2010, by Phil Hubbard