Computers & Education 32 (1999) 137±149

A multimedia framework for second language teaching in self-access environments
Fabio Tamburini
Sezione di Linguistica computazionale, Informatica umanistica e Comunicazione, C.I.L.T.A. ± University of Bologna, Piazza S.Giovanni in Monte, 4, 40124, Bologna, Italy Received 6 April 1998; accepted 19 October 1998

Abstract This paper presents an account of a self-access language teaching scheme operated at the University of Bologna during the last three years. The main goal of the D.I.A.P.A.S.O.N. (Distributed, Interactive, And Personalised Audio-visual Study Over Network) project is to teach English to university students up to intermediate level, by building a self-access environment freely available to learners. Some laboratories equipped with multimedia workstations, video stations, satellite receivers and speci®cally targeted courseware were set up and tested in one complete year of work. Here I will analyse some topics concerned with self-access language learning through CALL (Computer Aided Language Learning) and the complete structure of the DIAPASON courseware. Some data collected on a sample of students during the year are presented and an interpretation of the data suggested. The main result emerging from the data is that students are very busy and tend to spend only the minimum required time to study foreign languages, organising this activity in few short sessions during the week. # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Nowadays the need for language study on a large scale is emerging and students are requesting more and more resources for language learning. Increasing movement between countries in Europe, the development of international courses and the new language tests introduced in the curricula of Italian university courses, are making students face a new dimension of learning which involves the knowledge of foreign languages as a basic
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