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CCCC first to offer online Chinese language course

Click to enlarge CCCC first to offer online Chinese language course

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Central Carolina Community College's Chinese instructor Ling Huang administered the aural component ... (more)

Click to enlarge CCCC first to offer online Chinese language course

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On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Central Carolina Community College students David Patrick Arp, of Fuquay-Varina, ... (more)

01.31.2013College & CommunityContinuing EducationCurriculum Programs

SANFORD - Beginning February 2013, Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) will become the first community college in North Carolina to offer an online-only Chinese language course: CHI 111 Elementary Chinese I.

"We are excited to extend the unique instructional services of CCCC's Confucius Classroom to distance education students," said CCCC Dean of University Transfer and Health Science Jon Matthews.

"CCCC was the first community college in the nation to have a Confucius Classroom, and now it will be the first in the state to provide a solely online course offering of Elementary Chinese I. It is one more example of how CCCC is a leading force for educational opportunities, economic progress and cultural enrichment in the communities it serves."

CCCC plans to submit the course for acceptance into the online databank of touchstone courses housed by the Virtual Learning Community (VLC), a collaborative distance education resource developed by the 58 community colleges this state

Begun in 1999 to enhance the quality and accessibility of online education, the VLC houses a repository of distance courses considered to be the instructional standard of online education for each specific course.

If accepted, CHI 111 would be the first Chinese language adopted by the VLC.

Offering CHI 111 online should benefit those students and members of the community who are interested in learning the Chinese language but who may not be able to attend a seated course.

CCCC Confucius Classroom Chinese instructor Ling Huang explains the advantage of the online course format for distance students: "We have found that more and more people are interested in the language and culture but have to give it up because of their work schedule or address. With an online course, people will have more opportunities to learn language and culture."

Huang continued: "This course will also be beneficial for people looking for jobs: With a second language, people will have more chances to find jobs, especially these days when America and China have more business cooperation."

"Most of all, meeting different cultures is fun and beneficial to your own life. It is helpful to understand others and to become broad-minded," she concluded.

A three-credit-hour course that is transferrable to universities across the state, CHI 111 introduces the fundamental elements of the Chinese language. Upon its completion students should be able to demonstrate a basic level of written and oral communication skills.

Students will participate in a variety of learning activities, from traditional reading assignments and discussion boards to MP3 listening exercises and voice-recording assignments. Topics addressed in the course include syllabic structure and pronunciation with attention given to communicating greetings; dates and time; hobbies; and social scenarios.

Huang has developed the online course, patterning it after the seated version of the course she has taught for four semesters at CCCC. Haung will be the instructor for the Spring 2013 term and has included in the course site video recordings emphasizing pronunciation and tone and explaining in detail important language points.

The online course will feature live chat, giving students the ability to interact directly with Huang, not only for the purposes of student-instructor communication but also for the opportunities to listen to Huang speak the language, to practice their own pronunciation and to perform assigned dialogues.

Huang explains that assigning dialogues is one of her most effective teaching methods; she says that it is also the most enjoyable, both for her and for her students. For a dialogue performance, Huang provides students with a situation that they then must act out using the Chinese vocabulary they have already learned.

"In this way, students have a chance not just to recite but a chance to perform, to really put into practice what they have learned," Huang said.

"Language is flexible," Huang continued, "and the more familiar students are with words and sentence patterns, the better they can understand native speakers. This is what we are doing in class, and every time the students do this, they have a great sense of accomplishment."

Huang explains that the biggest difference between the Chinese and English languages is that Chinese has two separate systems, one for characters and one for phonetics. This separation means that, unlike English, a person cannot look at a Chinese word and determine its pronunciation.

Additionally, Chinese is a tonal language--that is, that a word has different meanings depending on its pronunciation.

Huang says this tonal quality can take students by surprise but that it is this quality that is the "most beautiful thing" about the language.

"It makes speaking Chinese something like singing. I love it," Huang said.

CCCC has offered seated courses in Chinese language instruction for over three years as part of the college's Confucius Classroom. In partnership with the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Confucius Institute, the CCCC Confucius Classroom promotes an intercultural exchange of language and culture through a range of educational and outreach activities.

With over 335 Confucius Classrooms in 94 countries, the Confucius Classroom at CCCC was the first in the nation to be sponsored by a community college.

The next CCCC Confucius Classroom event will be a musical celebration of the Chinese New Year to be held on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.

For more information about CCCC's Chinese courses and the Confucius Classroom, visit