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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students can now work on part of their foreign language requirements from home.Hybrid courses, a mix of online and in-the-classroom instruction, are being introduced as part of the foreign language department’s 2010 Summer Session offerings.

Catherine Bryan, co-chair of the foreign language department, said hybrid classes combine the convenience of online courses and the personal learning of regular classes.

“We want to offer students an opportunity during the summer to study from home, but we don’t want to lose the in-person aspect of our classes,” she said.

This is the first time the department has held any of its courses partially online.

Two of the courses, Spanish 204 and German 204, are the final classes needed for students to meet the College of Letters and Science (COLS) requirement of four semesters of one foreign language.

The other course, Japanese 360 “Kanji”, is a new course that goes beyond the COLS requirements. The course will teach students Kanji, the graphic characters that are used to write in Japanese.

“In regular Japanese courses, we teach Kanji characters, but it is along with vocabulary, pronunciation and speaking,” Dr. Yoshiro Hanai, who will be teaching the class, said. “In this class we are able to focus solely on Kanji.”

Hanai said students will learn the meanings of Kanji and how to pronounce and read them. Since Kanji is different from an alphabet and each Kanji can have different meanings, the class requires a lot of memorization.

The professors plan to incorporate the online component of the classes by using Web sites that accompany textbooks, D2L, short films, and streaming audio and video.

Richard DCamp, the foreign language lab director, said he hopes these classes help with students’ retention of the languages.

“It is always nice to have continuity in the language,” he said. “The summer is this large block of time that students aren’t engaged in what they are trying to learn, so they can forget.”