Here's How - Issues and Considerations for Global Learning
According to Dr. Bates, former professor at the University of British Columbia, English is far and away the most predominant language in terms of the international delivery of distance education. There are clear disadvantages of working in another language in online courses, when students have to contribute towards collaborative assignments or participate in discussion forums with those for whom English is their own language (Bates, 1999).
Online courses have some advantages over face-to-face teaching for students working in another language than their own. For example:
- The asynchronous nature of online teaching allows students to take their time in composing responses in another language.
- Students have the opportunity to improve their English in a subject area where English is predominant.
- Some courses come with alien social and cultural contexts. Instructors have to be careful when providing examples or analogies drawn from their own culture.
- Idioms often do not transfer between cultures and the style of writing may be alien. For instance, at the University of British Columbia, professors are encouraged to use a chatty, personal and friendly style of writing, which in some cultures might be interpreted as being of poor academic quality.