Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

Online learning has become a commonly known phenomenon. Whether you are home schooling or taking some online classes to accompany your regular teaching, a wide variety of classes have been designed. This does not exclude exceptional students. In another one of my blogs, I discussed how blind people accessed the internet and how they had surmounted their disability to use this form of communication. Today, I will present to you online classes for the deaf and the hard of hearing.

At the University of Pennsylvania, History, Education, and Guidance of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Introduction to Instructional Methods for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing are the two classes offered on this special online method (Slike et al., 2008, p.304). It works like a regular online class, with Powerpoint and a live video feed. The only difference is that the feed in done in sign language with a voice over for the hearing students in the class.

In order to evaluate students’ fluency in American Sign Language, some universities adopt an interview method. They would rent video cameras from their department and create a 15-20 minute interview with a teammate. Although this method worked, it was very time consuming and proved to be more work for the evaluators since students did not edit their work before submission (Miller et al., 2008). Professors are still trying to find the best way for evaluating their students in a fair and just manner; nonetheless some trial and error will be involved.

I think that online learning is a phenomenal tool for deaf / hard of hearing students. American Sign Language is the third most used language in the world (Miller et al., 2008) and “Currently, more than 500 colleges and universities in the USA offer ASL instruction as a world language” (Wilcox 2004). It is important for students who use sign but equally as important for the students who are studying sign and how this language can be further facilitated. Just as it was important for blind people to overcome their disabilities through a speech reader, it is an important step for the deaf community to have online classes offered as well.


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Blogging is in a way the freest form of online speech. It is an outlet expressing personal feelings, sharing news or other information. In China, where the internet is patrolled by the government bloggers must be careful not to express oppositional political views. The Chinese according to a survey done by Chinese researcher Guo, use the internet primarily for “general browsing… reading national and local news, downloading or listening to music, and sending or receiving instant messages” (2007).They also use blogging as a means of “news and information gathering, entertainment, and interpersonal relationships” (Hong & Wong, 2010)

Also in Guo’s survey,

more than 80% of the respondents considered the control of online information very or somewhat necessary and believed government (84.8%) and Internet companies (78.8%) should play the most important role on it. In terms of specific forms of content that should be controlled, about 44% of the respondents said politics” (2007).

According to Guo’s survey we can infer that the government in this case could be considered like a mass corporation in the Western countries. They will do whatever it takes to cover their own necks and will try to control the population to conform to their beliefs. If they do not or have not conformed, the public will keep their mouth shut in fear of serious repercussions. I find it interesting that the public says that the government should play the most important role on the internet. Perhaps it is because they were concerned that the information they gave the researchers would be sent to government officials or perhaps that is their true belief. However, either way it is evident the mark that the Chinese government has had on its population. In a sense this is a form of cultural branding. If you are from here you must behave THIS way and not THAT way. Through some of these stats, I see the correlation between the two.

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