Linguistics and the Teaching of English
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Linguistics 191/291 - CALL Mini-Course
Winter 2017
Wednesdays 5:30-6:30; 200-107

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. Interested auditors are welcome, regardless of whether you are taking the 191/291 course.

There are three requirements: 1) regular attendance, 2) completion of weekly preparatory material, and 3) a presentation and short write-up 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 -- Try learning a new language through web-based or mobile app software. Spend at least one hour divided across 2-3 sessions. Come prepared next class to discuss your experience as a learner--what are you learning and how are you learning it?
2 Finding and Evaluating CALL Resources Read Unit 2. Homework -- Visit the CALICO Journal website at The reviews can be found by issue in the archives, but many can also be located using the search term "software review" or just "review" on the journal site. Find an interesting-looking piece of software and read the review, noting 1) what you can learn from it and 2) any questions that arise that might help inform your own evaluation process. Come prepared to discuss your "review of a review" for the next class. Alternatively, look elsewhere for a review of Duolingo (a full review, not just a short post) and do the same.
3 Computer Mediated Communication Read Unit 3. 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 such sites could be integrated into a class you were teaching.
4 CALL and Language Skills; Read Unit 4. Select one skill area that particularly interests you. After reviewing some of the sources mentioned on the course site, find at least two other web sources on your own and come ready to share them with the class next week.
5 Environments, Materials, and Activities Read Unit 5.

   Take a look at two or three of the lesson plans/activities/projects on the Web (Use Google to find more if none of the sites in Unit 5 has what you're looking for). Do you think they represent activities that are consistent with your language teaching approach? Is there anything obvious you could do to improve them?

    Fill out the self-evaluation (can-do statements) for the TESOL Technology Standards and come prepared to discuss it next week. Be sure to make a note of any that are unclear or don’t apply to you.

6 CALL Theory and Research Read Unit 6
1.Come prepared to discuss project (introduction and progress report)
2.Go to and select 3 questions to review that look interesting to you. Once you have found and read them, pick one and see if you can find one or more relevant studies on the question OR using a keyword search on Google Scholar locate and skim two or more relevant research articles for a specific CALL area you are interested in.
7 CALL Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Learner Training Read Unit 7.
Go to a website like or First, familiarize yourself with the main parts of the site. Then try to determine 1) what basic technical training students might need to use the site effectively; 2) what more advanced technical training would be helpful; 3) how pedagogical training would connect to this, both site-specific and generalized; 4) finally, how might you "teach" this information to them?
8 Current Trends and Future Directions Read Unit 8.
8 Final Project Presentations (as needed)

CALL Project Assignment

If you are taking the CALL section for credit, you 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 21 (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 write-ups.

Last modified: February 22, 2017 by Phil Hubbard