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Long Beach Students Get Chinese Language Tutoring Direct from Beijing

A class at California State University, Long Beach has signed up to receive online tutoring in Chinese from eChineseLearning. The company, based in Beijing, provides Chinese language lessons for academic, business, and personal use through Skype. The program was piloted earlier this year by eight students in CSU's Asian and Asian American Studies Department who were studying the fundamentals of Chinese. Each student received an hour of tutoring each week.

"Students' feedback [was] very positive," wrote Tim Xie, an associate professor at CSU, in a report compiled after the pilot was completed. "The program is unique and useful. We can continue to use this service in the future."

"eChineselearning is really an excellent program that has no parallels," wrote one student in an evaluation of the program. "Having the ability to talk live with an instructor in Beijing is truly an awesome experience. Communication over the Internet is similar to the phone in sound quality, and while I had some initial complaints and reservations, I realized that it actually helped me to understand Chinese better."

The biggest challenge faced by the students involved scheduling, due to the 15-hour time difference between California and Beijing. For example, when it's Monday 6 p.m. in Los Angeles, it's Tuesday, 9 a.m. in Beijing. Students who worked in the evening found it difficult to schedule tutoring sessions that weren't extremely late.

Xie actually took a group of students to China and visited with the company. "Our teachers were impressed by how much their skills in Chinese have been improved," said eChineseLearning spokeswoman Clare Li.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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