Planning for authentic language assessment in higher education synchronous online environments
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The teaching of some languages in Australia is under threat due substantially to small enrolments. There is considerable need to preserve Australia’s community languages as part of the country’s cultural and linguistic diversity. However, it can be difficult to generate sufficient numbers to sustain the provision of a specific language course in any one location in Australia. Online technologies can provide a solution to this problem. According to the New Media Consortium Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition “education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborative models”. Models such as these present a possible solution to the problems associated with providing small enrolment language topics such as Modern Greek. The Logos Australian Centre for Hellenic Language and Culture was established at Flinders University in 2011. Promotion and preservation of Greek language and culture is the focus of the centre which is funded by the South Australian Government with support from the Greek Government. In 2012 the centre moved towards enhancing the delivery of Modern Greek by developing and delivering four language topics and two culture topics online. The delivery of these topics identified assessment as an area which needs further investigation. This paper describes the importance of an assessment strategy for foreign language (FL) learning which is based on the principles of authentic assessment and describes how synchronous technologies can support this strategy.