The Corpus-driven Online Hebrew Classroom

Back in 2008 we started to explore to what extent the tasks that researchers, translators and commentary writers do could fuel the Hebrew learning processes. We were familiar with theories of task-based language learning (TBLL), but we wanted to develop a fully open source online and automatized learning environment. But how do you do that? Our solution was to use the open accessible database of the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer (ETCBC) in Amsterdam, which this year has turned 40 and stores decades of cutting-edge research and dissertation work. We first developed a PC program as a prototype. In the EU project EuroPLOT in 2010-2013, and we then developed a free and open web-application, implementing our new theory of persuasive corpus-driven learning. For the last 4 years we have programmed many new features for Bible Online Learner in order to support localization of interfaces and dictionaries. Our main goal is to collaborate with institutions in Africa, Asia and South America to enhance global learning of Hebrew and Greek. Andrews University is now setting up a project to develop support for exams. This paper will focus on our efforts to design for online learning. In a course in Copenhagen in the Fall of 2016, Nicolai Winther-Nielsen developed his new corpus-driven classroom for persuasive learning of Biblical Hebrew. We measured the effectiveness of instant feedback and ongoing assessment and explored the new roles for peer-to-peer learning and learner-driver supervised language instruction, effectively flipping the classroom to corpus-driven acquisition. Thanks to feedback from 12 students working for some 500 hours in average in this classroom, it is now possible to develop a much more effective online classroom through best practice in design for online persuasive learning. Tasks for practice and better videos, learning material and online interaction will be developed for online learners in Europe, Madagascar, and other global settings, and we seek new partners for the Global Learning Initiative. Part of this work is included in the dissertation work of Judith Gottschalk who is focusing on developing and testing new features for this classroom. She has programmed the Learning Journey module and the goal for the online testing is to explore what learners and facilitators will need in terms of performance-tracking and recommender functions. We will also use her new persuasive model for persuasive software development. In our project we will continue to look for fellow teachers in global settings who want to collaborate with us and run tests that will give us crucial feedback on how learners learn Hebrew in different cultural and institutional settings at a global level. We will focus on how open source learning technology and a corpus-driven flipped classroom disrupt prior learning habits. We continue to collaborate with the ETCBC to create international and global education. At the same time, we will also address the challenge of staying in business while designed for open sustainable learning.