Dr. Linda Gallasch,
head of the foreign language department for the Volkshochschule Norderstedt, Germany

It was challenging to try something new. It gave me an opportunity to improve my computer competence and at the same time discover how exciting this form of learning can be. As a learner, I enjoy working independently; on the other hand, I consider discussing topics and problems with others an absolutely essential part of a successful learning experience. I got all this and much more in the course.

As I work with with foreign languages, it is essential to make contact with people in the target culture. This is hardly possible in the f2f language classroom. Online learning can open the door to the world and bring the language learner/teacher into contact with people and cultural issues. As we experienced in both courses, it is an "invitation" to make contact with others through chats, language icons, etc. I think a well-designed language course, delivered online, using all the possibilities available (including f2f) could be the most effective way to teach foreign languages.

Tutor Support
The success of an online course, in my opinion, depends on the quality of tutor support. tutors must be present; they must be available, especially in the beginning, to help people find their way into the system and feel at home working online. They have to co-ordinate work, give support when needed, make sure tasks are running smoothly, etc. This means putting in many, many hours of online work. And, this is exactly what you get on an Abacus course, it seems. And, for exactly this reason, the course was very successful.

And, in addition to this direct support, you can expect excellent technical support. Direct, personal support when something goes wrong, is excellent and written technical instructions in the Help function have been so clearly written that one can help one's self.

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