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Cultural knowledge, authentic language key to Oregon State’s new online French bachelor’s degree program

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France glows gold against a dark blue night sky.

July 11, 2016

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has launched an online bachelor’s degree program in French that will provide students with a high level of proficiency in developing speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, with an emphasis on cultural competency.


Heather Turner


Elaine Hayashi

“You cannot truly learn a language without also learning the culture,” said Elaine Hayashi, who serves as the French online program coordinator. “Our goal is to provide students an in-depth knowledge of language within a cultural context in order to gain a competitive advantage in today’s global workforce.”

In the French program – delivered online by Oregon State Ecampus – students will immerse themselves in the cultures of various Francophone (French-speaking) countries through exploring customs and history, studying cinema, researching fashion and glamour trends, and reading and discussing classic and modern literature.

With the use of interactive tools such as videos, Skype, online textbooks and audio software, students will receive extensive face-to-face, dedicated time with Oregon State faculty, all of whom are native or near-native speakers and have received specialized training.

“In this program, faculty members seek out up-to-date technology and online resources to enhance the student experience, making the courses interactive and dynamic,” Hayashi said.

For example, through programs such as TalkAbroad, Oregon State students are matched with French speakers from different Francophone countries, mostly in West Africa, to meet online to exchange ideas on different topics such as food, family life and educational systems. The idea, program coordinators say, is to expose students to different accents, cultures and ways of thinking.

Following the five C’s of the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages – communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities – courses are developed and taught by the same renowned faculty in OSU’s School of Language, Culture and Society in the College of Liberal Arts who also teach on campus.

The personalized, engaged learning environment will provide students with an enriching experience, preparing them to succeed in a variety of rewarding careers.

“Employers want candidates who stand out against their peers,” said Sebastian Heiduschke, an associate professor in OSU’s School of Language, Culture and Society. “Knowledge of at least one other language is what they want. Given the global nature of many jobs, being aware of other cultures is crucial for success in business and for personal gain.”

French is the official language in 29 independent nations and is also an official language of the United Nations, NATO, the European Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross – making it a key language for professionals interested in international affairs, political science, economics and global business.

OSU Ecampus, a national leader in online education, will launch the program – and a new undergraduate minor in French – this fall. Students may apply now and find more information online. Fall classes at Oregon State begin Sept. 21.

“Oregon State has been a pioneer in online language education,” Heiduschke said. “We have the knowledge of theory and praxis, we are aware of the research and we embrace the way people learn in the 21st century. We apply the values of a land-grant university to language-learning online.”


About the Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts strongly endorses the vision and mission of Oregon State University to serve the people of Oregon and beyond as one of America’s top ten land grant universities and to contribute to the civic, economic, and social foundations of society. Above all, the College of Liberal Arts will maintain commitments to ensure excellence in teaching, scholarship, outreach and service, creative activities and to protect academic freedom and program integrity in the liberal arts disciplines.

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