Technology and Language Learning Courses

Technology and Language Learning Courses in the Applied Linguistics and Technology Program

ENGL 510 Introduction to Computers in Applied Linguistics
ENGL 512 Second Language Acquisition
ENGL 514 Sociolinguistics
ENGL 524 Literacy: Issues and Methods for Nonnative Speakers of English
ENGL 525 Methods in Teaching Listening and Speaking Skills to Nonnative Speakers of English
ENGL 526 Computer-Assisted Language Learning
ENGL 528 English for Specific Purposes
ENGL 530 Technology and Oral Language
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Automated Writing Evaluation
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Corpus Linguistics for Teaching and Assessment
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Development of Language Assessments
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Evaluation in Technology for Language Learning
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Systemic Functional Linguistic Analysis of Learner Language
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Intelligibility and Perception
ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Technology and the Teaching of Pronunciation and Oral Skills

Students interested in technology and language learning can also choose from other courses in applied linguistics and from other departments including curriculum and instruction and human-computer interaction.


ENGL 510 Introduction to Computers in Applied Linguistics
Use of applications software for language teaching, linguistic analysis, and statistical analysis. Issues and problems in applied linguistics related to computer methods. Students will interact with a variety of computer applications and web resources including mobile and social computing applications to a) increase their familiarity with computers in general, b) explore and describe current and potential applications of technology for teaching, testing, & research, c) conduct basic statistical and linguistic analysis of various data, and d) locate, evaluate, create, and implement computer-assisted language learning activities.


ENGL 512 Second Language Acquisition
This course introduces students to the objectives, methods, and findings of research investigating how people learn a second (or additional) language. It will help to orient students to the perspectives of those who investigate questions about second language acquisition (SLA) and help students to examine the published research on topics such as the role of linguistic input for acquisition of vocabulary, the value of conversation for language development, individual differences in SLA, and SLA in the classroom and online. The course will include topics such as SLA research questions, methods of data elicitation, linguistic data analysis, research on interaction, and the theory-practice interface. Perspectives to SLA include cognitive, linguistic, interactionist, sociocultural, and emergentist, and the role of technology in shaping current issues will be discussed. Students will have an opportunity to work on projects focusing on their interests.


ENGL 514 Sociolinguistics
This course covers major sociolinguistics topics and their implications for language learning, teaching, and research. The topics include traditional and virtual language variation and use; traditional and virtual code switching and code mixing; language and power; discourse communities and practices; social class, gender, and identity; virtual and World Englishes; etc. Topics will be explored theoretically and empirically with examples from various regional, virtual, and global contexts through lectures, discussion, hands-on activities, and research assignments. Traditional and digital sociolinguistics research methods and ethics will also be explored.


ENGL 524 Literacy: Issues and Methods for Non-native Speakers of English
This seminar course begins with an exploration into the definitions of literacy and continues throughout with a discussion of the socially situated views of literacy. The course responds to issues, both theoretical and practical, in teaching English literacy skills to people learning English as a second or foreign language, either children or adults. Theory-related matters include cultural factors influencing literate practices, politics surrounding the teaching of reading and writing, differences in oral and written language development, and the cognitive and social development of first and second language reading and writing processes. Practical issues include exploring home environments and strategies that promote second language literacy, matching students and materials, and developing strategies and materials that enhance academic literacy learning. Through writing assignments, discussions, and projects, we will analyze, adapt, and apply theories, methods, and techniques for second language learning situations with a focus on academic literacy needs.


ENGL 525 Methods in Teaching Listening and Speaking Skills to Non-native Speakers of English
Research and teaching of L2 pronunciation, with opportunities to examine research into L2 pronunciation and intelligibility; ways in which pronunciation, listening and speaking interact in research and practice; the ways in which the teaching of pronunciation is reflected in materials development for technological and classroom environments, and in teaching in a tutorial context.


ENGL 526 Computer-Assisted Language Learning
Provides an overview of computer-assisted language learning (CALL), the use and study of digital technologies in second language instruction and research. Participants learn about the historical and cross-disciplinary foundations of CALL as a pedagogical practice as well as the theories and methodologies that underlie it as an area of inquiry. The course samples empirical studies across a range of influential topics in the field, and participants take turns presenting these studies to the group so as to sharpen their ability to understand and critique CALL research. This developing understanding is then deepened as participants carry out their own empirical studies, whose separate components constitute the course’s assessment plan. In addition to developing knowledge of the field and bolstering research skills, ENGL 526 aims to help TESL MA and ALT Ph.D. students identify possible topics for theses and dissertations. The course will appeal to anyone interested in the myriad ways that computer technologies have been harnessed for purposes of learning and teaching language.


ENGL 528 English for Specific Purposes
Addresses theories of specific purpose language use, major developments in ESP/LSP research, and methods of teaching and assessing context-specific language needed to successfully engage in target social practices. Topics include various approaches to the analysis of learners’ current and desired competencies, as well as principles for the development and evaluation of materials for specific-learner-centered instruction. Additionally, the roles of genre analysis and corpus-based technologies in ESP/LSP are closely examined from the perspective of linguistic and communicative conventions established by different academic and professional discourse communities. Students will have the opportunity to apply key concepts and methodologies in a small-scale needs analysis that will inform a proposal for an ESP scenario of their choice. While of immediate interest to students in applied linguistics and teaching English as a second language, the course is relevant to students in other areas because LSP is a domain that draws from multi-disciplinary cultures and epistemologies. Also, LSP has bourgeoned into numerous branches nested under English for Academic Purposes and English for Occupational Purposes. The former may appeal to students interested in written and oral communication in different educational contexts, and the latter may appeal to those who want to learn more about various professional and vocational contexts (e.g., English for Business Purposes, English for Medical Purposes, English for Legal Purposes). ESP has also expanded to include language for sociocultural purposes, which is pertinent for students focusing on the needs of socially or physically disadvantaged learners.


ENGL 530 Technology and Oral Language
Structure and description of oral language and discourse. How spoken language is linguistically described, analyzed, and taught for research and for education. Using acoustic software and transcribing technology to record, transcribe, and analyze spoken language at all levels of linguistic structure (sound, word, phrase, sentence, discourse).


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Automated Writing Evaluation
Automated essay scoring (AES) and automated writing evaluation (AWE) are topics that have generated significant commercial, scholarly, and pedagogical interest (and controversy) in the last decade (and more). In this seminar, we will explore in some depth the history of approaches to automated essay evaluation and critically examine current research into issues related to automated writing evaluation such as practicality, reliability, and validity. We will also investigate pedagogical applications of such AWE systems in secondary and post-secondary education in the U.S. and elsewhere. While the focus will be second language writing, we will review studies on L1 writing as well and learn more about their implications on approaches to second language writing. Students will be required to contribute to the class through presentations of research papers and technical manuals reporting on AWE studies as well as their development of an empirical study in an area related to AWE research.


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Corpus Linguistics for Teaching and Assessment
This seminar focuses on corpus linguistics and its applications to language teaching. Students in the course will explore theories and principles for applying corpus linguistics findings and methods to language teaching and learning, as well as gain practical experience in creating corpus-based materials and activities. The course will center on four main topics: applying corpus-based research to classroom materials development, the use of corpora in the language classroom (data-driven learning), the role of learner or corpora analysis, and research and evaluation of the effectiveness of corpus-based materials and corpus use in the language classroom. The course will consider the range of ways that corpus linguistics is applied to language teaching, including for L2 learners, for L1 and L2 academic writing, and for English for Specific Purposes.


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Development of Language Assessments
This course provides students with training on how to develop a language assessment. Students are introduced to a number of task formats, including multiple-choice, matching, true/false, short answer, oral interview group discussion, summary, and email. Students areintroduced to various types of rating scales, including analytic and holistic. Test development frameworks, including Mislevy’s Evidence-centered design, Davidson and Lynch’s Test Specification approach, and Bachman and Palmer’s Test task characteristics approach will be discussed. Students will use one of these frameworks to guide the development of their own assessment instrument. The design and development of surveys will also be covered from the point of view that surveys are a type of assessment instrument.


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Evaluation in Technology for Language Learning
New technologies create an unprecedented opportunity for innovation in second language teaching, but with innovation comes the need to evaluate success. This seminar explores the intersection of evaluation with language learning and technology. Evaluation refers to assessment of student learning through the use of online tools materials and courses as well as the broader role of evaluation in the development and appraisal of all types of computer-assisted language learning. The former has an intellectual basis in “assessment for learning” or “learning-oriented assessment,” which provide some foundational concepts for incorporating assessment and testing into learning in a manner that serves the needs of learners, teachers, and researchers. The broader role of evaluation encompasses the design-based research integral to the design and development of technology-mediated learning, traditional comparisons of outcomes attained by students using new interventions for language learning with a control or contrast group, and theoretically-motivated evaluations guided by frames of reference other than comparison. This course examines the options available to researchers wishing to evaluate technology for language learning through all of these avenues. Topics include how evaluators ground their evaluations in social science research methodologies and second language acquisition theory as well as the scope of interpretations for results. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own projects evaluating technology for language learning.


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Systemic Functional Linguistic Analysis of Learner Language
This 630 seminar introduces Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as a discourse analytic approach to exploring the development of learner language. The course will address the basic theory of SFL and will provide practice analyzing learner and non-learner texts (including literature), with the goal of understanding how SFL can be used in formative/summative assessment of oral and written discourse, and how it can help describe differences in texts in terms of the content, the organization, and how relationships are established between the speaker/writer and the listener/reader. The course will also introduce an SFL-based corpus tool.


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Intelligibility and Perception
This seminar explores research on intelligibility. Intelligibility is the study of how speech is produced so that it is understandable, and more importantly, how speech is perceived by listeners. In this seminar, we will give special emphasis to the perception of intelligibility in L1 and L2 speech. Spoken perception research crosses the disciplinary boundaries of phonetics and phonology, second language pronunciation, speech sciences, engineering, computer science and psycholinguistics.


ENGL 630 Seminars in Technology and Applied Linguistics: Technology and the Teaching of Pronunciation and Oral Skills
This seminar explores important concepts in phonology/phonetics and examine some tools that teachers need to know to successfully use computer-based applications to address oral language proficiency. We will explore programs and tools that allow us to understand and exploit basic elements of the technology used in phonetics research, learning the uses and limitations of measurement tools such as spectrograms, waveforms, and fundamental frequency contours. We will examine the strengths and limitations of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology. We will also examine and critique exercises that are commonly used in computer applications and develop and test computer-based pronunciation and oral communication activities.