Online Turkish Course Gives Duke Students a Flexible Language Option

Duke students will have a new, flexible option for fulfilling their language requirement this summer: an online course in Turkish.

Elementary Turkish 101 and 102 will be offered as fully online, for-credit courses for the first time in Summer 2019. The courses are designed to fulfill two levels of Turkish in two 6-week summer sessions: Turkish 101 in Summer Term 1 (May 15-June 24) and Turkish 102 in Term 2 (July 1-August 8). The courses will be taught by Didem Havlioğlu, a lecturing fellow of Asian and MIddle Eastern Studies at Duke.

With the help of the video conferencing platform Zoom, the courses will be taught synchronously in three evening classes per week. Students can take these classes while traveling or doing an internship program elsewhere. They only need to have a working internet connection and a computer with a camera and microphone.

A Cross-Campus, Hybrid Prototype

Havlioğlu has taught hybrid Turkish classes—which combine face-to-face and online components—for Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill students for the last four years. These classes entail three sessions each week: one face-to-face session in a physical classroom; one online, individual assignment; and one face-to-face session on Zoom.

Havlioğlu says the hybrid format encourages students to explore Turkish in various ways. “Each format complements the other,” she said. “For instance, face-to-face traditional classroom meetings allow students to meet each other and with the instructor. The online sessions allow them to explore the authentic material on their own, which gives them the opportunity to be proactive in their learning the material. The Zoom sessions allow bringing two (or more if needed) campuses together which helps build a diverse community.”

Creating a Flexible Virtual Classroom

The online course Duke will offer this summer is an extension of this hybrid course model.

Havlioğlu wants to use technology to combine the best of face-to-face and online learning in a “virtual classroom.” The video conference sessions will give students the opportunity to interact with the instructor and a small group of classmates. Online assignments and projects will immerse students in real-life situations with interactive dialogs or readings voiced by native speakers. Students will also be encouraged to explore selected authentic Turkish material online independently.

Havlioğlu says the summer course will be the first time Turkish has been taught fully online for college credit in the U.S. “It is only natural that it is offered at Duke,” she said. “Over the last four years, the Turkish program at Duke has been making the best of technology in teaching languages and offering innovative solutions to the ever-changing needs of our students.”

Duke students can learn more about the course and enroll at Duke’s Summer Session website.