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Taiwan university puts Chinese lessons online

The National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) has created three online platforms for anyone seeking to learn the Chinese language to do it online and for free. Over the globe, anyone with an internet connection and an interest in the language can log on to any of the three portals to learn different aspects of the language.

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Created by two professors in the Department of Applied Chinese Languages and Literature, NTNU, Second Classroom, ChineseCAP and CHEERS seek to teach cultural understanding, reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

Professor Tsai Ya-hsun, the mind behind Second Classroom, said of the university’s projects: “The premise of e-learning and mobile learning is to bring down spatial and temporal barriers in adaption to individual learners’ needs. Based on these notions, online Chinese language platforms are intended for all individuals around the world interested in learning Chinese despite distance and cultural and national differences.”

The school explained to FutureGov Asia Pacific that the lessons are available to anyone at no charge because Chinese e-learning is still at an early stage and free usage serves as its promotion.

“The platforms are also free for the convenience and benefit of learners seeking suitable Chinese learning materials online and for mobile devices,” said Professor Lan Yu-ju, creator of ChineseCAP and CHEERS.

CHEERS, which teaches Chinese characters to beginners, is available both online and on mobile platforms, making learning a new language on the go easy. Second Classroom teaches four skills—reading, writing, listening and speaking—and provides preparation practices for examinations while ChineseCAP focuses on Chinese culture, providing a wiki, 47 film clips on Chinese culture, and an online chatroom for exchange of cultural experience.

To date, Second Classroom has served 160 teachers from Taiwan, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, the Philippines, the Middle East, and New Zealand; and 170 students from Taiwan, the United States, and Great Britain.

ChineseCAP, launched 20 June 2010, has had 1,963 visitors from 43 different countries so far. All three platforms are part of the COOL Chinese (Competence-Oriented Omniform Learning for Chinese as a Foreign Language) research project, a National Science Council of Taiwan national technology project that has been conducted for nearly three years by NTNU.

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