STARTALK: Transitioning to
Teaching Language Online (TTLO)

Help Wanted!

Do you have 3 or more years of successfully teaching a language in a completely online environment?
Do you also have experience in coaching or teacher training?

We are looking for small group leaders to share their experience with the participants in this program.

Pending grant funding - we'll know in March 2019

This STARTALK program is for K-16 teachers of critical languages who want to teach their language online. Offered completely online, this 3-5 week, intensive program will give teacher participants the experience of being an online learner. Course content will focus on many different facets of a successful online language program, such as creating community, time management strategies for teachers and students, choosing appropriate technology tools for communicative-based activities, and developing a variety of online activity types. In addition to exploring these aspects of teaching online, participants will see these concepts in action in model online language activities. By the end of the program, participants will have a portfolio of activities ready to be incorporated in an online program. Teachers will be awarded a certificate of completion upon finishing program requirements (optional graduate credits available for a fee - see below).

Course Content

Week 0
  • Pre-course module for selected participants - most will need to take this.
  • STARTALK principles
  • STARTALK learning plan template
Week 1
  • Intro to the Course: 
    Virtual Classroom Orientation, Definitions, and Tech Check
  • Determine teacher and student readiness to work online
  • Evaluate online program design using quality checklists
  • Identify best practices and differences between F2F and online teaching
  • Investigate resources at your school and beyond
Week 2
  • Participate in model TTLO language lessons, evaluate existing materials
  • Discuss presentation of vocabulary and grammar in an online program
  • Consider the use of authentic materials and copyright
  • Focus on oral production in the online class
  • Assess online learners
Week 3
  • Interpretive mode activities
  • Interpersonal mode activities
  • Presentational mode activities
  • Presentation of instructional materials
Week 4
  • Optional week for those completing the ePortfolio

Who may apply

This program is open to teachers who:

  • teach K-16 critical language teachers ("critical" = Arabic, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu*). We're sorry, but we are not allowed to accept Chinese teachers for 2019.
  • teach those languages in the United States to US students.
  • are experienced classroom language teachers
  • teach using a student-centered, proficiency-based, communication-oriented methodology.

Teachers who have taught in, or attended, a previous STARTALK program on methodology or technology are especially encouraged to apply.

* Do you teach a language not listed here? Check out the 3-week CARLA:TTLO program! Similar content.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: Applications accepted until midnight, May 13, or until the program fills. You must have all materials submitted by May 13, 2019. There are a limited number of seats available - apply early!

Acceptance notification: You will be notified by May 15.

Course dates:

Unit 0 - June 13-19 - pre-course module (most will need to take this)
Unit 1 - June 20-26
Unit 2 - June 27-July 3
Unit 3 - July 5-14
ePortfolio - July 15-21 (optional)

Course format and technology requirements

This program is an intense program, delivered entirely online through an online program management system. The program is mostly asynchronous, but there will be 3-4 synchronous activities during the program. You will also be expected to coordinate group and partner work, sync and async at self-arranged times. You should expect to spend approximately 6-8 (or more) hours daily on this program.

You will need an internet connection with a good, reliable connection in order to watch and create videos online. You will need a headset with microphone and a webcam for your computer in order to participate fully in the program. All of the applications we use online will be free or demonstration sites to try out activities.i

Time Commitment

This intensive program will take 6-8 (or more) hours daily, M-F with sometimes work on weekends. Do not plan to work or teach anything else in addition to this program!

The main part of the course consists of three modules that are completed in about 3.5 weeks. In addition, there is a pre-course module (Unit 0) on the STARTALK principles and learning plan template, that most participants will need to take the week before the course starts.

If you choose to complete the ePortfolio, there will be additional time and help to complete it, the week after the course finishes.

If you do all of the units and the ePortfolio, the program is about 5.5 weeks total.


There is no cost for program registration for teachers selected for this STARTALK program - this is a FREE, government-funded program. As the program is completely online, there are no costs for transportation or housing!

There are 2 recommended books for the program, but not required to complete the program.

Optional: 3 Graduate Credits Available

For those not enrolled in degree programs at the University of Minnesota, the additional tuition cost is $711 per credit for this 3-credit program, PLUS approximately $100 in registration fees for three credits (total approx $2233.00). You can find a chart of tuition and fees for non-degree-seeking students or refer to the University's OneStop website for more complete information. Cost for those who are University of Minnesota students will be based on your status at the University.

A limited number of scholarships will be available for $1422.00 to help pay for the tuition of 3 credits. You pay for all of the tuition up front, and upon completion, the scholarship will reimburse the amount of 2 credits.

Process for credit: Registration for credit will take place in June, just prior to the beginning of the STARTALK program. You will be billed the cost of University tuition and fees by the University of Minnesota Registrar’s Office in July. Your bill will be due in full by the end of July.

How to Apply for the TTLO Program

Acceptance to the program is dependent on receiving grant funding (March 2019).

*** You will need to complete the Teacher Participant Application. ***
Click the link above for the application instructions.
Your application is not complete until we have all 3 parts!

Application Deadline: May 13, 2019

Thank you for your interest in our program!
Questions? Please contact Marlene at

Program Instructors and Staff

Xiaowei Hunt (Instructor) started teaching Chinese online in 2006 for the virtual high school Nevada Learning Academy. Since then, her online teaching has also benefited Beacon Academy of Nevada, Sevenstar Academy, Pearson's edTPA, and especially the STARTALK:TTLO program where she served as a Mentor Teacher and Instructor (2013-2018).

Ritu Jayakar (Instructor) is an adjunct lecturer of Hindi language and User Experience Analyst of Outreach and Online Education of Pennsylvania State University. She is interested in Language pedagogy and use of technology for second language acquisition.

Frances Matos-Schultz (Instructor) is Senior Instructor in Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Minnesota. She developed and taught a hybrid Spanish institute at the University of Minnesota that has been offered successfully since 1997 and designed, developed, and revised the fully online first-year Spanish institutes for the University's College of Continuing Education, which she has taught for 3 years.

Marlene Johnshoy (Program Director) is the Online Education Program Director and Web Manager for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. A former Spanish instructor, she has given numerous workshops across the country on many aspects of web-based language teaching and learning, with a special interest in the professional development of online language teachers.



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