Designing online assignments for Japanese language teaching

  • Chiharu Tsurutani Griffith University
  • Taeko Imura Griffith University
Keywords: Online assignment, blended learning, first year Japanese, learners’ perception, Blackboard system


An increasing number of language educators are opting to take a blended approach to their teaching in order to enhance their students’ learning experiences and outcomes. During recent years, online tools have become a valuable resource, aiding teachers in their course delivery and assessment. Blended learning, which is campus-based learning supported by online components, has steadily grown in popularity in Australian tertiary education institutions (Ellis, et al., 2009).

This paper reports on a trial program of delivery of online assignments in a first year Japanese language class and the rationale for the program, together with the findings of a survey on students’ perceptions of the online assignment. Our language team began to create online tasks using the learning management system, Blackboard, with the view of increasing online components throughout our program. The advantages and disadvantages of online language tasks from both teachers’ and learners’ points of view will be discussed. Issues specific to the learning of Japanese, and ways in which to incorporate online tasks in future courses will also be explored. The findings of the study will provide language teachers with insight into designing online assignments and will explore effective teaching practices for students of the Japanese language.

Author Biographies

Chiharu Tsurutani, Griffith University
Chiharu Tsurutani is a senior lecturer in Japanese language and linguistics at Griffith University. Her research interests are second-language phonetics and phonology, their application to computer programs for pronunciation training and assessment. She has been leading projects on the development of online assignments and courses for the Japanese language team.
Taeko Imura, Griffith University
Taeko Imura is a lecturer in Japanese at Griffith University. She received her PhD in Applied Linguistics and PostGradDip in Computers, Technology and Language Learning from the University of Queensland. She has an extensive experience in teaching Japanese over 25 years at primary, secondary and tertiary levels in Australia.


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