WSU to tele-teach English to Okinawan students - Moscow-Pullman Daily News: Local: washington state university, wsu, pullman, okinawa, japan
WSU to tele-teach English to Okinawan students
By Holly Bowen, Daily News staff writer | Posted: Friday, April 6, 2012 1:00 am
Washington State University is opening up its Intensive American Language Center to high school students in Okinawa, Japan.
They will soon receive English instruction via teleconference to prepare them for possible eventual attendance at WSU.
WSU President Elson Floyd signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday afternoon with officials from the Ryukyu America Historical Society and the city of Kitanakagusuku.
The historical society's original mission was to retrieve Okinawa's cultural artifacts that were removed from the southern Japanese island during World War II and its aftermath. Today, the nonprofit organization also provides educational opportunities for Okinawan students.
The agreement signed Thursday will enable those students to receive English-language instruction over the Internet in real-time from the WSU Intensive American Language Center, which prepares students from around the world to take English-language courses at the university.
In exchange, the Japanese students will eventually visit Pullman to tour campus and consider enrolling at WSU.
"As Washington State University attempts to globalize our university, the relationship we are forging today is important" for both current and future students, Floyd said to Japanese officials on a teleconference screen.
He said the agreement is an example of how the university can use distance-learning technology in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
"This is the perfect way upon which we can have students exposed to WSU and American culture," he said.
Floyd assured the Japanese officials that WSU will provide a safe, secure learning environment for the students who eventually visit and attend classes in Pullman.
Pamela Duran, director of the Intensive American Language Center, said WSU instructors will ensure the Japanese students actively practice English that's used in real-life situations.
"I hope that our program embraces them like any other class we offer at the language center," she said.
After Floyd signed the memorandum, the document was immediately scanned and transmitted electronically to the conference room in Kitanakagusuku, where officials there signed it.
The two contingents also exchanged gifts over the screen - Floyd received a new piece of Okinawan artwork for his office, and the Japanese officials received a large, diamond-shaped jewel etched with the WSU logo. Floyd said the gem represents the idea that the agreement is a "precious jewel."
Several officials from Okinawa will arrive in Pullman Monday to meet with university officials.
Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd signs a memorandum of agreement to teach English to students in Okinawa via teleconference with the Okinawan college, Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Pullman. The students trained in Okinawa will attend WSU after acquiring the needed language skills, per term of the agreement. To Floy's right are students in the program, Ayaka Maenaka, of Osaka, Sayaka Veba, of Koyoto, and Junya Nakanishi, of Mie, all from Japan. Each of them will attend WSU in Pullman this fall.
Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd looks at a rough draft of a poster shown via teleconference that promotes learning English and attending WSU before he signed a memorandum of agreement with the Okinawan college, Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Pullman. The students trained in Okinawa will attend WSU after acquiring the needed language skills, per term of the agreement.
Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd, left, smiles as Ayaka Maenaka, of Osaka, Japan, introduces herself to those watching via teleconference in Okinawa for the ceremony to sign a memorandum of agreement to teach English to students at an Okinawan college, Thursday, April 5, 2012, in Pullman. The students trained in Okinawa will attend WSU after acquiring the needed language skills, per term of the agreement.
Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd, left, shows the signed memorandum of agreement to teach English to students in Japan.