CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Process Model for the Development of a Culture Learning and Improvement Portal to Enhance the Foreign Language Curriculum

Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Margaret M. Thombs

Abstract

The inclusion of culture as an element in a foreign language program is pivotal to the achievement of the proficiency levels defined by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Language and culture are inseparable; integrating culture into the foreign language curriculum can lead to greater cross-cultural understanding. Many foreign language programs, however, still have not adequately incorporated components that promote communication and cultural awareness in an authentic social setting. Deficient resources available to language instructors and learners constitute an effective barrier impeding the inclusion of cultural content. The advent of the Web has opened lip a new world for language instructors seeking to broaden the exposure of their students to foreign cultures; however, the chaotic nature of the Web, the sheer enormity of available data, and the corresponding lack of organization of data have presented another effective barrier. Moreover, many educational Web sites are not based on established pedagogical theories; hence, they have failed to promote learning. Portals have the potential to solve the intrinsic data-overload problem created by the Web, while retaining all other good features of Web technology. They provide the user with an effective and efficient way of accessing needed information.

This study investigated appropriate methods for the development of a pedagogically sound culture learning and improvement portal (CLIP) that could be utilized to enhance the curriculum in foreign language classes by improving students' cultural awareness. The study employed a developmental approach, which entailed four phases: criteria establishment, criteria validation, product development, and product evaluation. A review of similar products and a literature search were conducted to produce a list of criteria for a process model. The resulting criteria were presented to a panel of experts for assessment and validation. A Likert-type scale was used to rate the criteria and a modified Delphi Process was applied to develop group consensus among experts on the panel. A prototype was developed to solidify ideas and procedures proposed in the process model. Finally, a summative committee was assembled for the purpose of product evaluation. The Committee unanimously agreed that the process model met the criteria established for it.

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