Proposal for an On-Line Corporate
English as a Second Language (ESL) Program
(Draft #9)

March 23, 2001

David Levy, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Centre for Continuing Education (CCE)
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
V.P. for Technology and Coordination of Global University System (GUS) 43-23 Colden Street
Flushing, NY 11355-3998
I. Outline

This is to propose the creation of an English language training program for Japanese corporations to be offered on-line through an e-learning methodology. The program will combine Japanese cutting-edge laptop/notebook technologies and broadband wireless Internet with the advanced web-based education platform and content of North America. The scheme will proceed in three stages:

  1. A comprehensive review of current global corporate communication practices requiring English language proficiency, with special attention to conceptual differences in the business routines of Japan and North America.

  2. The development of a language training program to teach mastery of the language skills requires to handle those situations. The material will be offered on-line and will include the use of all basic language structures, common lexical items as for example: “eye contact,” “upwardly mobile,” “first impression,” “go public,” “start up costs,” the different meanings of terms such as "office worker” in Japan and the U.S.A., and the language of hierarchical relations, meetings, negotiations, presentation of proposals both to one's corporate colleagues and associates, and to individuals outside one's organization, particularly those in overseas countries, etc.

    This web-based e-learning method will be applicable to a range of other subjects, thus realizing “Education for All” (UNESCO's motto) anywhere, anytime, and at any pace.

  3. Thorough testing of the methodology prior to full implementation to gauge effectiveness, eliminate bugs and possibly permit predictions of time required for mastery -- an important consideration.
II. Rationale

In light of globalization and the Information Technology (IT) Revolution, Japanese organizations now face the urgent need to overcome the difficulties of professionals unable to acquire adequate competence in English, particularly conversational skills. With English as the recognized global lingua franca, it is necessary to give this matter top priority.

III. Proposed Research

The initial research will require six months and involve some work in corporation offices in Japan and America. Course development and testing will require an additional twelve months.

IV. Course Content

Content will give special attention to organizational-linguistic skills necessary to facilitate real creative collaborative communication for corporate decision-making. The materials will include activities such as the management of difficult business conversations, the topic of a seminar series developed at Harvard University.

V. E-Learning Methodology

The advantages of an on-line or e-learning method are that it is self pacing, interactive, and customized, providing a perfect fit of learner motivation and target language environment at anytime and anywhere with immersed environment of the language and the language’s culture. Traditional distance education involved three components: (i) broadcast, (ii) text, (iii) face-to-face tutorial. All three can be offered within the framework of an on-line scheme that will provide immediate feedback, monitor students as they work through the materials, and respond to questions. Moreover, the scheme will build in one-on-one and small group practice sessions, all within the learning model we propose.

The pedagogical model will be an approximation of the one used with such success in the Everyday English series that aired in China from 1987 1992, given that the goal is largely the same: to improve practical aural oral skills. Method will employ visual skills with videoconferencing via Internet to augment aural-oral proficiency, an approach validated by Everyday English success. Activities will include pronunciation drills, comprehension checks, repetition drills, dictation exercises, role plays, etc. -- see also ANNEX I.

VI. Formal Features
  1. The web learning platform which the learner accesses via broadband wireless Internet at 128 Kbps for 24 hours and 7 days will have the capabilities of multimedia web accessing, e-textbook with DVD to assemble text, images, audio and video files into sophisticated electronic documents (e.g.,, whiteboard, PowerPoint slides, chating, computer conferencing, synchronous audio and video conferencing, etc. The DVD which will contain cultural background of language and be hyperlinked with web, will promote learners’ motivation.

  2. The format will involve situational dramatizations featuring characters who will re-appear from unit to unit.

  3. Japanese translations of English language utterances will always be available.

  4. There will be an introductory practice lesson for the series, in Japanese, to explain how to use the material during the face-to-face meeting at the start of course semester at appropriate settings either in Japan or in North America for one to two weeks.

  5. In addition to upgrading corporate communication, the project would provide the selected Japanese corporation with the basis for developing on-line language training software for which there is a world market.
VII. Schedule
VIII. Research Team

The proposed research team is a distinguished one. The members of the team have enjoyed considerable success in implementing global on-line distance education projects in general and the teaching of English by distance education methods in particular -- see their biographical sketch in ANNEX II.

IX. Budget

<<Under construction.>>


  1. Online Pronunciation Classroom
    (Prepared by Steven Donahue)

  2. Speaking of Software...
    ESL Students Are Responding to a Web-Based Pronunciation Program
    (University Business, Vol. 4, No. 1, February 2001, Page 57)

  3. Public Test Web Site
    Username: stevengus
    Password: stevengus
    (Prepared by Steven Donahue)

  4. gLearning: The New e-Learning Frontier
    (Prepared by Steven Donahue)'s_Paper/gLearning.html

I. Online Pronunciation Classroom
  1. The Global University System online pronunciation classroom is one of the most sophisticated in the world for informing the second language learner of the real "nuts and bolts" of the English sound system.

  2. The system consists of a test bank of over 1000 items with full multimedia remedial file for those areas of English pronunciation that a learner needs practice and reinforcement in. Students listen to words, sentences, and phrases and attempt to "discriminate" the correct prompt. Listening discrimination skills are closely connected to producing the correct sounds. For example, if a student makes a listening mistake such as "Bollyball" and "Volleyball" they probably make the same speaking error with "V" and "B".

  3. The system, called the "G-Learner" gets around the limitations posed by narrow bandwidth by employing a "store and forward" system. With this system, a student first downloads assessment software which determines which area of the English sound system are in need of remedial attention. The student can interact with the Assessment unit offline and re-connect when finished.

  4. Based upon results of the Assessment download, the G-Learner software automatically fetches the appropriate remedial files from a Web-base repository the next time the student connects to the Internet. These remedial files are downloaded one at a time until mastered.

  5. The remedial files give the student feedback for similar questions that were on the Assessment software, but this time with additional audio and video feedback. The feedback continues to loop until the student makes a correct choice. Upon making the correct selection, an additional graphic "reward" is displayed along with a "forma" explanation of the aspect of pronunciation which the student has now succeeded in.

  6. The users results are automatically posted to a secure Web site every time they take the assessment.

  7. The modules of the Pronunciation Class consist of :

    1. Intonation.
    2. Stress
    3. Adjustments
    4. Consonants
    5. Vowels
    6. Irregular Verbs
    7. Body Language
    8. Nursery Rhymes
    9. Tongue Twisters

  8. Preliminary results in large scale tests with ESL students suggest that improvement can approach two standard deviations. In other words, students taking an initial test of only 50% can achieve an exit score of 98%.
II. Speaking of Software...
ESL Students Are Responding to a Web-Based Pronunciation Program

FOR STEVEN DONAHUE, TEACHING PRONUNCIATION doesn't necessitate face-to-face encounters. The ESL professor at Broward Community College in Fort Lauderdale recently released a homegrown, Web-based application dubbed Glearner that is helping ESL students lose their accents from a distance.

Through a video-based Internet interface, the program blends real-time practice with one-on-one feedback, enabling students to learn at home and educators to instruct through e-mail. "I've taken ESL, linguistics, computers, and online education and thrown them all together," Donahue says. For years, he conducted ESL classes in a Language Lab, using audiotapes to teach 30 students at a time. But students complained that the tapes were boring and difficult to follow. So Donahue wrote his own program using AuthorWare, a Language similar to JAVA, and spent more than 20 months honing the code. A $3,000 grant from Broward administrators allowed him to launch the software last September.

To operate the program, students use a password to download a 1.7 megabyte application from Donahue's personal Web site. Then, with the file running on a browser, they can practice pronunciation or watch as video-generated lips mouth a series of words and phrases that present common problems, from "very" and "berry" to "This is my son." Students practice speaking until they feel comfortable, at which point they can record words or sentences on their computers in the "wav" audio format, and e-mail the files to Donahue. Using analytical software from Kay Elemetrics, Donahue matches the utterances against a series of criteria linked to pitch and diction. He addresses errors, records individual feedback, and e-mails his reply. He says that he evaluates about 100 files from 30 students every night.

Hendrick Artiste, BCC's foreign Language Lab coordinator, says that students' pronunciation has improved tenfold. Donahue expects more than 500 BCC students to use the software this year alone.
-- Matt Villano


Biographical Sketches
Research Team

Biographical Sketches

  • David Levy, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
  • 1.
  • Address
  • Dr. David Levy
    Centre for Continuing Education (CCE)
    McGill University
    680 Sherbrooke Street West, Suite 1184
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    H3A 3R1
    Fax: 514-398-2650

  • Bio
  • David Levy is Program Director, English as a Second Language Programs at McGill University. Born and educated in Montreal, he developed the University&Mac226;s Special Intensive English Program, a program with a twenty&Mac246;year history of success, one that continues to attract students from every corner of the globe. As well, he created the enormously successful distance education ESL radio series for broadcast in China, Everyday English. He has presented papers on the series at a number academic conferences. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from McGill University, an M.A. from the Universite de Montreal and a B.A. from McGill University. As well, he has done work in the areas of programmed instruction and motion picture aesthetics.

  • Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator
  • 1.
  • Address
  • Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E.
    Chairman, GLOSAS/USA
    President Emeritus and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of Global University System (GUS) 43-23 Colden Street
    Flushing, NY 11355-3998
    Tel: 718-939-0928
    Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only--prefer email)

  • Bio
  • Takeshi Utsumi Ph.D., P.E., is Chairman of GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the USA (GLOSAS/USA) and Vice President for Technology and Coordination of Global University System (GUS) <>. He is the 1994 Laureate of Lord Perry Award for the Excellence in Distance Education.

    The GLOSAS/USA is a publicly supported, non-profit, educational service organization and is a consortium of organizations dedicated to the use of evolving telecommunications and information technologies to further advance world peace through global communications. GLOSAS fosters science and technology based economic development to improve the quality of life.

    Over the past two decades GLOSAS/USA played a major pioneering role in extending U.S. data communication networks to other countries, particularly to Japan, and deregulating Japanese telecommunication policies for the use of e-mail through ARPANET, Telenet and Internet (thanks to help from the Late Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldridge). This triggered the de-monopolization and privatization of Japanese telecommunications industries. This movement has later been emulated in many other countries -- now over 180 countries with Internet access and more than 377 million people using e-mail around the world. This effort helped in extending American and other countries' university courses to under-served developing countries and the conduct of innovative distance teaching trials with "Global Lecture Hall (GLH)" (TM) multipoint-to multipoint multimedia interactive videoconferences using hybrid delivery technologies.

    He also made numerous lectures, consultation, and research in process control, management science, systems science and engineering at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, M.I.T. and many universities, governmental agencies (e.g., Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry, etc.) and large firms in Japan (Mitsui, C. Ito, Nisho Iwai, etc.) and other countries.

    Among more than 150 related scientific papers and books are presentations to the Summer Computer Simulation Conferences (which he created and named) and the Society for Computer Simulation International. He is a member of various scientific and professional groups, including the Chemists Club (New York, NY); Columbia University Seminar on Computer, Man and Society (New York, NY); Fulbright Association (Washington, D.C.); International Center for Integrative Studies (ICIS) (New York, NY); and Society of Satellite Professionals International (Washington, D.C.).

    Dr. Utsumi received his Ph.D. Ch.E. from Polytechnic University in New York, M.S.Ch.E. from Montana State University, after study at the University of Nebraska on a Fulbright scholarship. His professional experiences in simulation and optimization of petrochemical and refinery processes were at Mitsubishi Research Institute, Tokyo; Stone & Webster Engineering Corp., Boston; Mobil Oil Corporation and Shell Chemical Company, New York; Asahi Chemical Industry, Inc., Tokyo.

  • Roger Lee Boston
  • 1.
  • Address
  • Roger Lee Boston
    Rockwell Chair Instructor and Consultant for Creativity
    Distance Education/Technology Center
    Office of the President
    Houston Community College System
    4310 Dunlavy Street
    P.O.Box 7849
    Houston, TX 77270-7849
    Tel: +1-713-718 5224
    Page Unit 713 765 9494 and in 24hr/day
    Fax: +1-713-718 5301 (secondary)

  • Bio
  • Roger Boston is currently with the faculty of the Houston Community College System and holds the joint titles of "Rockwell Chair" and "Consultant for Creativity", an innovation supported by the Rockwell Foundation since 1985.

    A transplant from private industry a decade and a half ago where he was involved as an information systems manager, he has built an international reputation in distance learning since helping his organization to go "online" with their credit courses in the late 1980's.

    He is a member of the PBS Going the Distance Advisory Group, the State of Texas Distance Learning Master planning group, a teacher with the Virtual College of Texas, and is instrumental in the restructuring efforts now ongoing within the Houston Community College System to deliver distance courses more effectively.

    He has worked with more than four dozen organizations coast to coast to help them in their efforts to implement electronic and multimedia instructional delivery systems and is a frequent presenter at gatherings of the ITC and other groups interested in Distance Learning. He is pioneering in the use of low-bandwidth collaborative tools for instruction delivery across the internet and often teaches his classes from remote areas to test the technology.

    Frequently on-camera and behind the scenes for the Texas STARLINK group, hosting and moderating satellite teleconferences and internet webcasts, he is also active in the CAADE Consortium (Consortium for the Advancement of Affordable Distance Education -- the predecessor to and now the Global University System) and assists that group in its efforts to deliver instruction worldwide via internet and via lower-bandwidth POTS connections.

    Since 1997 he has been an active participant in the "Global LEARN Day" movement, working behind the scenes and on camera in numerous global events to help usher in the age of truly world wide delivery of instruction.

    He was the 1995 recipient of the ACCT Western Region Faculty Award, and his former students have built up a scholarship fund in his name of more than sixty thousand dollars, going to deserving students electing a career in computers and information technology.

    Roger Boston will conduct a tutorial on the use of laptop with broadband wireless Internet during the initial face-to-face seminar, along with his vast experiences on the videoconferencings with narrow- and broadband internet spanning the world for his extensive e-learning program at his college.

  • Steven Donahue
  • 1.
  • Address
  • Steven Donahue
    Broward Community College
    1128 N. 16Th Avenue
    Hollywood, FL 33020
    cell: 954-701-1561

  • Bio
  • Steven Donahue is an English as a Second Language instructor at Broward Community College and contributor to the American Language Review, Distance Education Report and other publications on issues involving Language Learning, Distance Education, and Immigrant Rights. He is involved with Sister Cities International in Washington, D.C., the Colombian-American Service Association, the Broward Latin Chamber of Commerce, and the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative's SCORM committee for developing online content standards.

    Professor Donahue has been married for 25 years to, JoHanna ; has a 19 year-old son, Ian, was in the Navy at Tulane University ; and has a Russian Blue cat named "Smokae". His hobby and passion is reading the New Testament in the original Greek and putting passages into calligraphic form.

  • Paul Kawachi
  • 1.
  • Address
  • Paul Kawachi
    1927-1-206 Higashi Kushiwara
    Kurume City, Fukuoka 830-0003
    tel: 0942 40 2080
    fax: 0942 40 2080
    mobile 090 4 999 7820

  • Bio
  • Paul has been a university lecturer in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Japan for 18 years; teaching about 400 courses to date at all levels. He has published (about 40 papers) sporadically in chemistry, physics, medicine, English, faculty development, education, and distance education; internationally in between teaching and his studies - winning most recently the Gold Medal at the Asian Association of Open Universities meeting last year for research in educational psychology on how Japanese learn.

    In his youth, he was President of Cambridge University's Graduate Society / Union and served on the Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor's Governing Council of Senate. He has three master degrees (M Phil, MA TEFL and MA ODE) and various other postgraduate qualifications in teaching and education. This summary is being updated - with appointments pending as a Fellow of the British Institute of English Language Teachers, and as a full Professor and (probably) Course Director in Business English at a two-year Junior College, in Japan. In his free time, when he is not on the Kabuki stage, he is off scuba diving somewhere.

  • Steve McCarty
  • 1.
  • Address
  • Steve McCarty
    Professor, Kagawa Junior College
    President, World Association for Online Education:
    Residence: 3717-33 Nii, Kokubunji, Kagawa 769-0101 JAPAN
    Tel: +81-877-49-8041 (office, direct); Fax: +81-877-49-5252
    Website Map:
    In Japanese:

  • Bio
  • Steve McCarty is a full Professor of English as a Second Language at
    Kagawa Junior College, teaching in Mac, Windows and Language Labs.

    Since 1983 he has been nationally active in the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT), including the highest appointed office representing all research groups. Currently he edits the JALT Bilingualism SIG Website in English and Japanese, which includes the Japan Journal of Multilingualism and Multiculturalism: <>. In 1996 he organized a colloquium on cross-cultural communication at the University of Hong Kong Knowledge and Discourse Conference. In 1997 and 2001 his multilingual online library of publications < > was rated "very useful for research" (4 stars) by the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library. In 1998 his Keynote Address opened the Teaching in the Community Colleges Online Conference based at the University of Hawaii. He also presented in Japanese on distance education at Kyushu Institute of Technology, broadcast by two-way satellite to 15 universities. He was elected President of the World Association for Online Education (WAOE), an NPO registered in California, from 1998-2001: < >. Since 1998 he has also increasingly assisted the Global University System (GUS) in the Asia-Pacific region and overall. See, e.g.:
    < >.

    Contributions to the GUS ESL Project

    Steve has been representing GUS in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, including traveling to Tokyo to assist Dr. Takeshi Utsumi. Steve is making an appointment next with the Child Research Net of Benesse Corporation, and can introduce the ESL project to such people in Japanese. He can find information of assistance to the project and do legwork on occasion in Tokyo. In 2001, as WAOE President, Steve has been invited to Kuala Lumpur in early September by the University of Malaysia to conduct teacher training in a computer lab with broadband Internet. At their Symposium on Online Education, Steve is willing to also introduce GUS and its Global Broadband Initiative (GBI). Thus Steve can seek groups for ESL pilot projects and promote further GUS initiatives elsewhere in Asia as well as in Japan.

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