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Project Design:

Current state of research. Since the Spring, 1997 semester, I have taught high intermediate level ESL linked with the mainstream course, "Introduction to the Internet." As part of the coursework, my students learned to use the Internet to gather information both on content areas covered in class and on those of their own choosing. During the Spring, 1997 semester, my ESL students were involved in an e-mail partnership in which they corresponded via the Internet on a weekly basis with students at Beitberl University in Israel. Although that partnership did not involve a collaborative focus discipline research project, as proposed here, it did provide me with insights into some of the problems inherent in setting up and conducting intercultural exchanges via the Internet. During the Fall and Spring, 1998 semesters, my ESL students conducted focus discipline research using the Internet as a resource for gathering information, which they then shared with classmates who were studying the same focus discipline. Students in this course produced three progressive written reports and a research project in which they discussed and analyzed salient issues in the discipline under study (see Activities).

Timetable for grant research. In Spring, 1999, prior to the start of this grant, I used Internet resources to locate a partner class of college level students in another part of the country/world. The instructor of this class was willing to coordinate course activities with me by implementing sustained content study, focus discipline research, and Internet collaboration into his/her course.

The grant began in Summer, 1999, and the summer was used to plan, develop, and coordinate activities with the partner teacher (see Partners ). I spent significant amounts of time engaged in online communication with this partner teacher. This communication involved choosing texts, discussing and designing possible focus discipline projects in each of the content areas to be covered in the course, setting up a schedule of assignments, and agreeing upon and developing means of assessing student progress.

The content-based intercultural exchange begins in Fall, 1999. Students from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, Georgia, and Kiev State Linguistic University, in Kiev, Russia will be working with my students at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York. Students will choose a focus discipline during the first week of the semester. They will work collaboratively with students in the partner class on projects agreed upon in advance by the instructors. As the semester progresses, time will be needed to monitor student progress and to make adjustments and modifications as necessary in course activities in the event that technological problems arise. Insights gained during the Fall, 1999 semester will be used to improve the collaborative intercultural exchange as it is implemented in the Spring, 2000 with students from a new ESL partner class at Broward Community College in Davie, Florida.