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French online instructor creates an active, effective learning environment

Oregon State’s Ana-Maria M’Enesti guides ‘deep learning through meaningful interactions’

By Becky Barrett
Jan. 9, 2020

Learning a new language can be a rewarding experience. But it also implies taking risks, being vulnerable and sometimes working through confusion and frustration.

It’s with this understanding that instructor Ana-Maria M’Enesti develops French online courses for Oregon State University Ecampus.

“I create my lessons and assessments with a compassionate approach, aiming to encourage deep learning through meaningful interactions,” M’Enesti says.

She also uses the latest technology and effective teaching methods to help OSU Ecampus students succeed with confidence. These user-friendly resources include cloud-based technologies, allowing anyone with basic computer skills and an internet connection to learn a language online.

M’Enesti’s courses are designed to engage a variety of learning styles – visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic – so learners receive a personalized experience online. Her students report a higher level of language proficiency while earning a degree alongside classmates from around the world.

M’Enesti uses a communicative approach to teaching, where students gain interpersonal, interpretive and presentation skills.

“These are all very important when learning a language,” says M’Enesti, who teaches many upper-division courses that help comprise Oregon State’s online bachelor’s degree program in French. “Students practice with one another. They engage with one another. They engage with the instructor.”

Other aspects of learning a language are social and cultural. By participating in conversations through video, audio and text, her students feel a sense of belonging and community.

“Students who might not otherwise speak up in a traditional classroom setting can express themselves online.”

French and other OSU online language programs and course sequences are offered by OSU’s College of Liberal Arts, ranked the No. 1 online liberal arts college in the nation.

M’Enesti has also taught language courses in a face-to-face classroom setting, where some students might be reluctant to participate. Some people are shy, some lack confidence and others have a disability. Time constraints and the classroom setting can also be impediments.

“Students who might not otherwise speak up in a traditional classroom setting can express themselves online,” she says.

Her teaching role is the same with Ecampus courses, making learning impactful and relevant. She just uses different tools to create an active learning environment online. French students practice speaking and writing, as well as their presentation skills by creating content, she says.

By working independently, a student’s ability to learn French online is not dependent on M’Enesti’s prompting.

“Students take charge of their learning and their progress,” she says. “When they complete their degree, they have the necessary tools to succeed in the professional world.”

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