Any Time, Any Place, Any Path, Any Pace:” A Curricular Design for the Teaching of Languages for Specific Purposes in the Pandemic Era and Beyond

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Global Advances in Business Communication


As US universities face unprecedented financial challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, university officials have begun reducing and even eliminating foreign language programs. NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway is even predicting the demise of dozens of US colleges and universities as they depend almost exclusively on tuition (Galloway, 2020). Public health officials question whether pre-pandemic educational conditions will resume even after the end of the pandemic. Costly safety measures at schools and universities will have to be implemented. To safeguard the teaching of LSP courses, this essay proposes the adoption of a Center for LSP Studies, preferably anchored at a current U.S. Department of Education Title VI CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research) or at a dynamic World Languages Department. Our recommendation is for LSP courses to be taught using a self-paced, mastery-based model of instruction designed for use during the pandemic and beyond. The model is based on two programs in operation, one at The Ohio State University’s Individualized Foreign Language Program (established in 1978), and the other at The Florida Virtual School (established in 1997). Specifically, students throughout the US would start and finish any one of a slate of online LSP courses at any time during the school year at a pace that best suits their needs. The Center would hire experts to design and manage the courses while students nationwide would pay tuition to the providing institution.