UB’s World Languages Institute to Take Popular “Japanese for Executives” Program Online

Release Date: December 5, 2000 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The World Languages Institute (WLI) at UB has developed a unique online version of "Japanese for Executives," its popular certificate program in Japanese language and cross-cultural training.

The 16-week program, "E-Business Japanese," which is scheduled to begin in early March 2001, will enable participants to acquire basic conversational skills and develop the intercultural competence necessary for business executives to interact successfully with Japanese colleagues here and in Japan.

Although this program will be online, the institute has for years offered on-site language and cross-cultural training to employees of local companies, most recently Delphi Automotive Systems in Lockport and McGard, Inc. in Orchard Park.

Mark A. Ashwill, director of the World Languages Institute, says that as far as he knows, the online course will be the only one of its kind in the country.

"Since most of the course is Web-based and therefore not constrained by time and physical space, participants theoretically can come from anywhere in the country," Ashwill says. "Our initial focus, however, will be regional and will be limited to 20 participants."

He says the course combines the best of low- and high-tech features in pursuit of its learning objectives. It uses a state-of-the-art, online, course-delivery system (i.e., Blackboard) that is both multimedia and interactive, as well as a proven telephone-tutoring system that requires participants to complete "call-in" assignments on a weekly basis.

The program also will make extensive use of the Internet as a resource, a means of disseminating course-related information in text and digital form, and a forum for communication.

Participants will devote an estimated 160 hours to the course, he says, including time spent working online, reading, completing "call-in" assignments and attending workshops.

While most of the work will be done online, participants will meet in workshops held on-campus at the beginning and end of the program, as well as during the program after each unit of study is completed. In addition to a language textbook with accompanying software, the program will use business culture and general cultural texts.

The primary instructor will be Keiko Kuriyama, the WLI coordinator of non-credit Japanese programs and a doctoral student in the UB Department of Linguistics. Kuriyama will be assisted by Kimio Tanihara, a doctoral candidate in linguistics, and Shiho Igano, an undergraduate major in computer science.

Mitsuaki Shimojo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Japanese at UB, will serve as the project's faculty advisor.

To register for the program, call the World Languages Institute at 716-645-2292. Information also is available on the WLI's Web site, http://wings.buffalo.edu/cas/world-languages/.

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