Community-oriented teaching


Graphic design of diverse people holding one another in a circle to signify unity and community

Community-Oriented Teaching is an online asynchronous professional development opportunity for language teachers teaching in any modality. The class focuses on engagement within our classroom communities and beyond with the target language-speaking community locally and globally. We first explore what makes our language learning class communities special, review various community building efforts (e.g. extracurricular experiences) and reassess what realistic expectations for community engagement in various modalities may be.

The course will also invite participants to consider the affordances and constraints of virtual exchanges between learners and target language speakers. Setting up a successful exchange, whether a two-way or a one-way learning experience, requires careful consideration of learner comfort, language proficiency, and cultural contexts.

The course intends to provide background for incorporating engagement with the target language community into the curriculum, and for instructors to develop an exploratory project/plan that fits into their curricular context, e.g. tasks, projects, proposal for technology/community engagement integration.

Course goals

Week 1

  • Identify communities as a world-readiness standard in current curricular contexts
  • Develop strategies to connect formal language learning to available real communities
  • Describe challenges of community building and engagement in different modalities

Week 2

  • Evaluate a selection of local and regional community project descriptions

Week 3

  • Explore the affordances and limitations of one-way and two-way virtual exchanges
  • Synthesize results from various studies on the benefits of virtual exchanges for intercultural communicative competence, speaking, and motivation

Course Details

  •  Length: 3 weeks
  • Delivery: online, largely asynchronous
  • Small, seminar-style cohort-focused curriculum similar to what you’d find in a graduate course, with extensive and personalized instructor feedback and interaction
  • Weekly expected workload: 5-7 hours + 1-2 hours of synchronous sessions (TBD)
  • Learning Platform: D2L (MSU’s Learning Management System)
  • No required materials other than those provided within the learning platform
  • Technology Requirements: computer with stable internet connection; webcam and microphone; mobile device (recommended)
  • Not for credit; a certificate will be provided to participants upon successful completion of the course.
  • Please note: we reserve the right to cancel or postpone a course session if the minimum enrollment number is not met.

schedule and application information

Our courses are currently offered on a rotating schedule and are free of charge thanks to funding from the National LCTL Resource Center. To view the latest schedule and apply, please visit the NLRC website.