CityU connects up with SNU for real-time Korean language lessons

Karen Lai

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The start of the 2005 academic year brings with it a brand-new learning experience for undergraduates majoring in linguistics in the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics (CTL). Thanks to high-tech video-conferencing technology, 28 CTL students took part in a real-time Korean language lesson alongside international students at Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea on 7 September.


Dr Jonathan Webster, Head of CTL, said Internet-based technology provided a unique opportunity for scholars and students from around the world to come together for intellectual discussion and cross-cultural exchange. “It is a brand-new learning experience for our undergraduates,” he said. CTL’s collaboration with SNU demonstrates a commitment to realizing the full potential of cutting-edge technology in enhancing students' learning experience, Dr

Webster added.


A semester-long venture with two classes each week, the course provides a general introduction to Korean language and linguistics.  It focuses on the writing system, phonology, morphology, syntax, historical linguistics and dialectology. In addition, students will learn about the sociolinguistic characteristics of the Korean language by examining the use of honorifics and speech styles. All classes will be conducted through video conferencing.  


In the first lesson, Professor Lee Sang Oak, a well-known Korean linguist from the Department of Korean Language and Literature at SNU, gave a lecture in English in real time to international students at SNU and undergraduate linguistics majors at CityU. After the lecture, Dr Caesar Lun and Ms Julia Han Ji Yeon, Assistant Professor and Instructor in CTL respectively, led tutorials using the Blackboard web platform, newly launched by CityU to facilitate online class discussions and assignments.


“It is amazing to meet the Korean professor and the students from SNU in real time,” said Yip Ting-fong, a Year 3 student studying for a BA in Linguistics and Language Technology. “I’m grateful for the new facilities which connect us to the world,” she said.


The course proved exceptionally popular during registration for the start of the new semester. “The quota filled up so quickly we had to increase numbers straight away,” Ms Han said. Students liked the video- conferencing and Blackboard systems, both of which helped teachers and learners explore the means for achieving better learning outcomes. “Hopefully, this video-conferencing course will open up even more possibilities for collaborating with overseas universities,” she said.


The study of the Korean language enhances students’ cultural literacy and their competence in communicating in an increasingly heterogeneous society. The introduction of up-to-date technology adds new perspectives to their understanding of language and culture. Due to the enthusiastic response from staff and students, CTL, which offers a rich array of Asian language courses, is considering structuring the course into a credit-bearing one and looks forward to further collaboration with SNU in the future.



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