Information technology infrastructure for English learing in joint training programs

The purpose of this article is to determine the importance of information technology (IT) and communications in distant foreign language courses. Hence, it gives suitable IT infrastructure requirements for an online class. Finally, the article provides an insight into a real-time interactive system at Hanoi University.
According to a survey, the number of oversea Vietnamese students is up to 100.000 in 2012 (Thanh Lam, 2013). This figure shows the needs for Vietnam to be engaged in a distance English learning system, in which, leaners are able to participate in an international joint training program without having to travel to that country. Face-to-face English teaching and learning are moving towards remote and synchronous joint training programs. This type of training allows a lecturer to deliver lessons to students remotely in the real time, reducing travel costs for both students and teachers. It is therefore necessary to implement an appropriate information technology infrastructure in order to carry out this form of joint training.

2.1 Online teaching and learning:
Online teaching – learning is an instructional delivery system in which the lecture and students of different geographical locations are able to participate in a training program (Zapalska, 2006). To complicate the matter farther, lecturers and students can exchange webcam and voice through distance training program, using specialized software, broadband or wireless connection (Siavash Omidinia, 2010)

2.2 IT Infrastructure for remote foreign languages classes
Cooperation has become more and more popular, particularly in education since it cre-ates more opportunities to expand the capacity as well as the quality of training. Joint language courses do not only provide learners with foreign language knowledge but also opportunities for them to exchange cultures.
In the joint training model, an institution can leverage its strengths such as infrastructure, enrollment and management experience, as well as geographic location to cooperate with a branded institution to build up appropriate training programs. Previously, when information technology was still poorly developed, lecturers had to travel f-rom one place to another to teach which was costly and the ability to expand was limited.
In the technology enhanced learning model, instead of traveling f-rom one place to another, the lecturer stays at the center to instruct and communicate with students via the Internet and e-whiteboard. Therefore, one lecture can teach more classes in different geographic locations at the same time.

However, in order to implement this system model, it is necessary to have an appropriate technology infrastructure that well simulates traditional classroom as follows:

a)  Suitably distributed network including Lan and Wifi which provide access to the internet anywhe-re in the classroom. Most students are now using laptops, therefore, a good wireless system is highly recommended.

b)  High-speed transmission: The connection and interaction between teachers and students should be fast enough to avoid pauses, which reduce the attractiveness of the class. Transmission should use broadband fiber optic and wireless stations should use equipment with high speed transmission (f-rom 300Mbps or more) and dual band (eg, using a supported router for both bands on the network, when nearby, it automatically uses the 5GHz, when out of support range, it switches to 2.4 GHz without any interruption). These routers are more convenient for students using different laptops.

c)  Multimedia room: The c-haracteristics of teaching and learning a foreign language is to communicate through words and actions, therefore, an advanced system including camera, recording, and playback will cre-ate a pleasant feeling for teachers and learners. This system is also the basis for evaluating students at the end of the course through online interviews.

d)  Friendly and attractive learning environment: In distance learning mode, students are not required to sit in one specific class, however, to improve interaction among participators, classrooms should be considered. Therefore, furniture such as desks, chair, lights and screens should all be taken into consideration carefully to cre-ate comfortable conditions for learners, which is one of the most important factors to attract students.

e)  Sufficient data lookup reference: distanct learning requires practitioners to do more self-study, so there is a need for a diversed and accessible data lookup system. Hence, building an electronic library is necessary.

f)  Proper software: Teaching software plays an indispensable role interacting with students and assessing students’ outcomes. Hence, se-lecting the right software is critical to the success of a joint training course.

3.3 Distant classroom at Hanoi University
Hanoi University, one of the most prestigious language training institution has constantly improved training methods, one of which is organizing the joint training. Recently, Hanoi University has cooperated with South Korea to build a distance classroom at Hanoi University. Korean site are responsible for all of the lectures, sound and image recording equipment, allowing the lecture to connect with students and classes efficiently and effectively by software-based called video conferencing. There are facilities in the online classroom as follows:
  • Projector
  • Micro, high quality speakers
  • High quality camera systems
  • Case, DVD, CD
  • Server system
  • Desks and tables
  • Fiber optic cable system connected directly to the ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  • Video Conferencing system

With this web-based real-time presentation system, instructors are able to ultilize electrically prepared slides during their class while talking directly to remote participants using e-whiteboard. This reduces the gap between instructor and students, helping them to receive live class feed.

Joint training is an inevitable trend when training institutions want to expand the scale and improve the quality of training; therefore, the application of information technology and communication in education is necessary. Among subjects, it is easier to carry out joint training program for foreign language such as English because it maninly focuses on listening, reading, speaking and writing. However, to cater for the associated training objective, the investment in IT infrastructure for teaching and learning is very important, it contributes significantly to the training results. IT infrastructure for English training should be the latest technology to cre-ate comfort for students and a friendly communicating environment, eliminating the stigma of learners and contributing to improve teaching-learning quality.

Zapalska, A., Brozik, D. (2006). Campus-Wide Information Systems vol. 23. Learning styles and online education, p. 325-335. Retrieved f-rom:

Omidinia, S., Masrom, M., Selamat, H. (2011). American Journal of Economics and Business Administration, vol 3, Review of E-Learning and ICT infrastructure in developing countries (case study of Iran), p.120-125.

Lam, T. (2013). Báo mới. 90% du học sinh Việt Nam là tự túc. Retrieved f-rom
Người đăng:Hoang Thi Kieu Hoa, Faculty of Information Technology, Hanoi University