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VDML addresses three problems relating to minority language departments. The first is minority language students' limited exposure to the spoken target language. Secondly, good teaching materials for learners of minority languages are often scarce. Finally, the small size of such departments has consequences for both students and teachers. Students have limited opportunities to work with others and are denied the peer support that students in larger departments can take for granted. Language teachers often have to develop teaching materials in isolation. The overall aim of the project is to develop a framework to support students and teachers of minority languages. It will create new learning materials, adding value to current Internet resources as well as developing new resources. It will also provide students and teachers with a working environment, a 'virtual department', in which to interact. Using Danish as an example, the specific objectives are to: Review the support needs of minority language learners by consulting staff and students; Create new, task-focused resources for Danish language learners using current Internet materials; Develop new teacher-authored material for intermediate and advanced learners of Danish; Create opportunities for students and teachers to communicate informally; Increase opportunities for students and teachers to work collaboratively; Embed the new resources into the day-to-day work of pilot departments; Present the work to the HE community in the form of a framework or model and encourage its adoption by other groups of departments. Project start date: 2000-10-01. Project end date: 2002-09-30. (Excerpt from this source)
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