SOAS University of London

Online Dutch

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Overview

The project as a whole aims at assembling and delivering a comprehensive and commercially viable online package for learners of Dutch.

Details

The project builds on a substantial range of online learning materials developed, tested and used with students in the context of Virtual Dutch since 2001. Its longer-term aim is to feed into the creation of a UCL-based distance-learning facility for Dutch in the form of a graduate Diploma or Certificate.

Aims and Objectives

The project will:

  • provide a comprehensive online tool for Anglophone learners anywhere in the world wishing to learn Dutch at either beginners or intermediate level;
  • provide an instrument for independent or remedial learning for UCL students of Dutch and for students in the Virtual Dutch partner institutions;
  • create a model for a comprehensive online language-learning environment for other CETL LWW languages;
  • demonstrate that CETL is capable of delivering commercially viable language-learning products;
  • mark an essential step in the development of a distance-learning programme for university-level Dutch studies.

Rationale

Language-centred Dutch studies at universities in the UK and in the Anglophone world generally have traditionally had very modest student numbers. These numbers have, if anything, declined in recent years.

There are however substantial numbers of adult learners of Dutch outside the universities. Evening courses in Dutch across the UK attract hundreds of learners every year, at a variety of levels. The Education section of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London, which monitors the situation closely, estimates around 700 learners at the present moment.

Offering a comprehensive package of online Dutch language courses starting at beginners’ level will allow the UCL Department of Dutch to reach Anglophone learners not just in the UK but across the globe. For university-level study of Dutch there is a major opportunity here to promote the language and attract students.

Products, Outputs & Outcomes

The project will deliver the following:

  • An up-to-date online tutor-supported course for learners of Dutch at beginners level;
  • An accompanying set of self-correcting exercises incorporating a self-scoring facility;
  • The integration of the above products into a comprehensive package containing also an online course at intermediate level and two learners’ grammars (beginners and intermediate), together with two further online courses teaching specialised reading skills in seventeenth-century Dutch and in Business Dutch.