Transitioning to Teaching Language Online (TTLO)

January 6–April 20, 2020 (15-week online program)

This unique 15-week professional development program is for experienced classroom language teachers who want to transition to teaching their language class online. Offered completely online, TTLO will give teachers the first-hand experience of being an online learner while focusing on the important elements of a successful online language class, such as online course design guidelines, best practices for online teaching, comparing online to traditional language teaching, and incorporating appropriate technology tools for communicative-based online activities. In addition to delving into these aspects of online teaching, participants will see them in action by taking part in model online language activities as language learners. By the end of the program, participants will have a portfolio of activities ready to be incorporated in an online language course. Teachers will be awarded a certificate of completion upon finishing program requirements.

Program Topics
Unit 1
  • Introduction to the Institute, Virtual Classroom Orientation, Definitions, and Tech Check
  • Determine teacher and student readiness to work online
  • Evaluate online institute design using quality checklists
  • Identify best practices and differences between F2F and online teaching
  • Investigate resources at your school and beyond
Unit 2
  • Participate in model TTLO lessons, evaluate existing online language materials
  • Discuss presentation of vocabulary and grammar in an online course
  • Consider the use of authentic materials and copyright
  • Focus on oral production in the online class
  • Assess online learners
Unit 3
  • Create activities for interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational modes of communication
  • Choose online tools to target lesson objectives
  • Engage students with online instructional materials
  • Give and receive feedback on activities and ePortfolio

During this institute, you will:

  • Experience being an online learner and see model online language activities and tools in action;

  • Explore differences between teaching in the traditional classroom and teaching online;

  • Apply guidelines, best practices, and readiness quizzes to prepare for teaching and learning in an online environment;

  • Review and revise traditional language lesson plans and assessments for online teaching; and

  • Test, create, and evaluate online tools and activities within the framework of the three communicative modes.

TTLO has been offered twelve times to a total of 276 teachers of Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, ESL, Finnish, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Urdu, Russian, and Turkish.

Who Should Participate in TTLO?

  • This program is targeted at high school and post-secondary language teachers who will be transitioning to teaching online.
  • Participants should be experienced classroom language teachers who instruct using a student-centered, proficiency-based, communication-oriented methodology.
  • Participants must be very comfortable using technology.
  • Priority will be given to those who are planning to teach an online course in the near future.

Time Commitment

You will need to devote approximately 8 hours per week to successfully complete this 15-week program.
There are deadlines each week on Thursday and Sunday at midnight (Central Daylight Time).

Institute Format and Technology Requirements

This is a 15-week program, delivered entirely online through an online course management system (Canvas).

  • The institute is mostly asynchronous, but there will be a couple of partner synchronous activities that are at self-arranged times along with 1 or 2 possible synchronous small group meetings.
  • This is a non-credit program only.

Technology basics to fully participate in TTLO:

  • An internet connection with a good, reliable connection in order to watch and create videos online.
  • A headset with microphone (or at least ear buds) and a webcam for your computer/laptop.
  • Preferred: use a laptop or desktop, not a mobile device. There are some applications that simply do not work well on mobile devices.

Important Registration Information: Process, Dates, and Costs

There is a two-step registration process for this program:

  1. Fill out a Teacher Participant Questionnaire to ensure that this program is a good fit.
    We will email you within two business days with acceptance and registration information.
  2. Register for the program.
Questionnaire Deadline
Early-Bird Registration
November 25, 2019
November 27, 2019
$500 + Cost of Books**

Regular Registration

December 13, 2019
December 16, 2019
$550 + Cost of Books**

** Cost of Books: There are two required books that cost approximately $30 and $35. The books are available through; participants are often able to find cheaper used copies online.


  • The registration deadline is December 16, unless it fills before that date. Register early!
  • To get the Early-Bird registration rate, make sure the fill out the questionnaire and process your registration by the deadlines listed above.
  • In the case that minimum enrollment is not met, the program will be cancelled and registrants will receive a full refund.

Ready to Register? Start by completing the Teacher Participant Questionnaire now!


Please contact Marlene at

TTLO Instructor Photos


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

Frances Matos (Instructor) is Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the 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 several years.

Shannon Spasova (Instructor) is Assistant Professor of Russian and Technology Specialist at Michigan State University. Her interests include Russian and Soviet science fiction, using technology in language teaching, blended learning, and instructional design.

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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