to AL 8460 on the Web
Welcome to AL 8460
English Grammar for ESL/EFL Teachers—on the web.
The course is designed
to increase your understanding of English grammar and of the teaching
of English grammar to ESL and EFL students. Detailed information about
the course is given in the syllabus. Please study that document carefully
and email your questions to me as soon as possible. My email address
For most of you,
taking a course on the web will be a new experience. Since I've been
teaching this course on the web since the spring of 2000, I'm starting
to feel a little bit like an "expert"! Based on the work
that has occurred before, I know that we can work together this semester
to take full advantage of this new environment.
I have put the text
as well as the spoken version of these lectures on the web as an aid
to visual learners who might not benefit from just listening to the
spoken version. Also, I have been told that non-native speakers
of English like having both the spoken and the written versions of
the lectures given together on the website.
of the Web over the Conventional Classroom
you and for me, I find the web offers
many advantages over the conventional classroom setting.
can study the materials at the time of day—or night—that fits your
life and personality. Thus, you're in more personal control of your
time for working with the materials and the tasks for the course.
can approach the materials in many different ways. You control which
parts of the materials you do in which order. You can do the reading
first--and then the lectures and quizzes. You can do the quizzes first--and
then the reading and the lectures. You decide how you want to arrange
your encounters with course materials.
- You can review
the materials whenever you want to. For example, my lectures and lecture
notes remain on the website all semester. You can go back to them
whenever you need to--for example, when you are working on one of
grading system allows me to give you grades as we go along. At every
point in the course when we finish a required task, I put points into
your grade section. You can have detailed information about how well
you are doing in the course as we go along.
can be more certain that I’m presenting the course materials in ways
that meet the learning styles of different students.
Problems for a Class on the Web
- I can provide some
multimedia presentations, too. For example, the PowerPoint presentations
involve some animation and some music. And, the lectures are provided
in text and audio versions.
The downside for
some people will involve these aspects of working on the web:
need the self-discipline to get on the web, connect to the site,
and do the work on a weekly basis. I’ve tried to help by providing
a highly structured grading system the requires participation in
an ongoing way to pass the course. You need to look carefully at
the grading section of the syllabus. It’s not like anything you’ve
problems are going to cause frustrations for us all. That’s just
guaranteed. About 9 years ago when I first required graduate students
to send me email messages, the experience was terrifically frustrating
for some people. It’s true! Some students back then just couldn't
see how email could ever be useful--and learning was just too hard!
I expect to see a similar curve with the web-based course. Those
of you who are pioneers are going to have problems and need to learn
new skills very fast. In a couple of years, all of this technology
and teaching environment will be “old hat” for most graduate students
and faculty members. And the advantages of learning to learn in
this environment will become clearer as time goes along and web-based
learning becomes more common.
Lack of clarity about course requirements can be a problem on the
web, too. I can’t easily make the kinds of adjustments that teachers
make when the syllabus doesn’t quite work. So, I’ve planned out
this course in more detail than usual—trying to anticipate problems.
But, I’m sure that I’m going to learn quickly that things that are
crystal clear to me are not so clear to some of you.
of the Course
The course has these
The course involves study of English grammar—based
on a reference grammar called the Longman Student Grammar of Spoken
and Written English. This section of the course involves
the lectures, PowerPoint overviews of the assigned reading, and activities
that you can do to learn about teaching and learning grammar on the
web. Quizzes are also included that you can do to check your comprehension
of the material. While you get scores for the quizzes, the quiz scores
that you see when you complete each quiz are not counted in the
grade for the course: those quiz scores are just for you to check your
understanding of the content and to have the experience of doing quizzes
on the web.
However as a reward for doing the quizzes, you get 1 point for completing
each set of quizzes for each chapter. For example, you get 1 point for
completing Quiz Set 1...the set of quizzes for chapter 1 in the Longman
Grammar. The quizzes are on the web outside of WebCT at http://www.gsu.edu/~eslhpb/quiz.
The second feature of the course is study and discussion in
small groups about teaching English grammar—based on an assortment
of additional readings provided through the GSU library's e-reserves
is, we won’t just be studying English grammar in the abstract—or just
because it is a fascinating topic! We’ll be keeping our eye always
on our ultimate goal of becoming better ESL/EFL teachers.
What You Have to Do
Here are the things
that you are required to do for this course:
- Read assigned
materials in the book--using the PowerPoint overviews to help you
understand the materials in the Longman Grammar.
- Attend each web-based
"session." I expect you to listen to and read my lectures—and
to email questions and comments to me about the content of those lectures
with a focus on the grammar that you find confusing. I also expect
that you will try out the system of self-testing that is provided
with quizzes for each section of the course. These quizzes help you
check your knowledge and the quiz scores will not be included in the
grade for the course.
- Participate in
discussions on assigned readings and topics with a small group of
other ESL/EFL teachers.
You do NOT Have to Do
- Lead your small
group to in a two-week discussion
- You do not take
any tests as part of the course grade.
- You do not have
to be on your computer at any set time. All work is asynchronous with
no scheduled meeting times.
I have attended
several conferences on web-based distance learning. All of the experienced
teachers advised using a project-based approach to courses in this
environment. As a result, the course is designed so that you will
be evaluated on the basis of your participation in the discussions
of your small group and the quality of the papers that you write.
and AL 8460 On the Web
This course is designed
to meet the 3-semester hour curriculum at Georgia State University.
Generally, we expect that graduate students will do a minimum of 2 hours
of work outside of class for each hour in class. The minimum
then is 9 hours a week during a regular semester. Naturally and
horribly, that number doubles for the summer term!
assignments are given with required deadlines—as part of that system
to encourage you to keep up with the course as we go along. Again, please
study the grades and grading and the timeline very carefully!
of the WebCT Site for AL 8460
The opening page for
the AL 8460 site on WebCT provides links to the major subsections of
- The syllabus
along with calendar that outlines the reading in the Longman Grammar
and the readings on e-reserves and discussion topics for the small
- The sessions—links
to the individual class sessions for the semester
you can check your grade as the term goes along
resources for this class and for grammar teachers
to the small group discussions. I do not provide a class list of telephone
numbers or email addresses as a way to protect your privacy as required
by GSU regulations. You can share that information if you like but
you do not have to.
includes the following resources:
- A PowerPoint overview
for the assigned reading in the Longman Grammar
- Lectures on the
grammar that expand from the content in the Longman Grammar
on the grammar that you do for your own information to check your
understanding of the grammar
in your small group to talk about teaching English grammar
To access all of the
materials provided in our WebCT site for this course, you need a computer
that is connected to the Web (by modem or otherwise) and that has a
sound card and speakers. Most current computers come with multimedia
capacity (sound cards and speakers). If you use the computers at GSU,
you’ll need a headset to plug into the front of the computer to hear
the lectures. Something cheap like the one on a WalkMan will do just
If you use a computer
at home, you need to load some free software if you do not yet have
it on your computer.
- To access the course
on GSU’s WebCT site, you need Netscape Navigator or Microsoft’s Internet
Explorer. You'll see more of the special features of the course if
you are using the latest version of Internet Explorer.
- To hear the lectures,
you need the latest version of the RealAudio Player. You can get the
latest free version at http://www.real.com/
Be sure to look carefully and get the free version (unless you want
to pay for the additional features in the full version).
- To see the PowerPoint
slides, you need the PowerPoint Viewer. Even if you have PowerPoint
on your computer, having the Viewer makes seeing the slide shows for
the class a lot easier. You can download the PowerPoint
Viewer from the Microsoft website by following this link. Read
the instructions carefully.
I encourage you to use the computers in the various GSU
computer labs. These are up-to-date computers that will give you fast
access to the course materials than most of you will have at home. You
can also get staff help if you are having trouble with accessing the
materials! However, moving the course on the web means--giving you the
freedom to make these choices for yourself!
How to Get Technical Help
Your best resources
for getting the software loaded properly on your own computer will be---friends
and relatives who know your computer! I can consult but I don’t know
You can also get help in understanding the WebCT system
by going to the Student Lounge on the WebCT site. Also, GSU has very
experienced and very helpful WebCT staff who can be emailed through
the link on the Student Lounge.
You can also make an appointment to meet me in my office
to learn more about the website.
That’s enough for
this segment of the first lecture. I want to try to keep these segments
to less than 5 minutes. Please email your questions to me at email@example.com.
Thanks! And I really look forward to working with you this semester
to find out about teaching and learning English grammar and about
teaching and learning on the web.