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John Brezinsky
Integrating Online Components into Your Curriculum — Practical Advice
John Brezinsky, Higher Education Marketing Manager

In my conversations with instructors and administrators about online ESL software, a few issues are on many people's minds. One is how to take online software and make it part of the overall ESL curriculum. While there are no one-size-fits-all answers, several steps will help make this successful.

Step 1: Start with Your Learners

It seems obvious, but many people don't use their students' goals as a starting point. Your existing curriculum already takes their needs into account, and this additional component should as well. If you've never done a formal survey of your current students’ goals and objectives, you may want to consider administering one.

Step 2: Look at the Software's Scope and Sequence

Once you have a list of your learners' goals, you should look at the scope and sequence of the software. Keep in mind that just because the software covers particular language points in one sequence does not mean that you have to teach them in the same order.

Step 3: Map the Scope and Sequence onto Existing Objectives

In your current curriculum, each course and/or each proficiency level comes with its own set of learning objectives. Take the units of the online course which meet your learners’ goals and place them with the corresponding sections of your existing curriculum. This will make it easy to see which units of the software work with which units of the textbook you are using.

Step 4: Write it Up!

All that's left is to put the plan into written form. Take whatever chart you currently use for your textbook(s) and just add in the activities that will be completed in the online course. Here is an example of how one college in New Jersey integrated Longman English Interactive onto their existing curriculum which used Center Stage as the primary textbook.

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