Making an Online Glossary for Business Chinese II

Business Chinese II (CHIN322) is an advanced field-specific language course offered by the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures (EALC) in the spring semester. The enrollment of the course has been increasing steadily over the years, from around 10 students in one section when I first started teaching the course in the spring of 2003 to 26 students in two sections (CHIN322-01 and CHIN322-02) I taught in the spring of 2015. Aside from some Chinese majors, the majority of the students taking this course are juniors and seniors from SFS, MSB, the College as well as graduate students from MSFS. The aim of the course is to acquaint the students with the current business environment in China and to enable them to read business news and discuss economic issues in Chinese.

In the years of 2003-2010, Business Chinese II adopted the format of using a textbook as the foundation and supplementing the course with business news articles I selected and edited from the internet. Along with the fast development of Chinese economy and the general more advanced level of Chinese language of the students taking the course, the textbook was getting unsatisfactory for the course for its outdated information and the limited length of the texts. To maintain the effectiveness of Business Chinese II, I have been developing a complete new set of the course materials by using the internet to select and customize news articles on more recent economic developments in China and of more advanced level in terms of vocabulary and grammatical structures for the course since the spring of 2011. The new course packet now consists of four chapters with topics on Chinese enterprises acquiring foreign businesses, China’s trade with foreign countries, the development of China's car industry and environmental protection.

Business Chinese II uses the Blackboard as its course platform and the materials I selected and edited are uploaded to the course site. In the previous spring semesters, the new vocabulary and key sentence structures in the news articles were marked but not glossed, and there were two reasons for doing so. The first one was the availability of a variety of online Chinese-English dictionary tools to the students, and the second one was the students taking Business Chinese II usually already had the ability of reading and understanding the meaning of the materials by using the on-line dictionary tools. For some students, going through the process of looking up the new words by themselves often helped them learn the words better. However, I also realized that there were disadvantages for the students without a ready-made glossary. It was time-consuming for students to look up all the new words when reading the materials before class; many new words had multiple definitions and could cause confusion for students when making preparation for class; there were a good number of abbreviations in each of the newspaper articles that could not be found in on-line dictionary tools, making it difficult for students to thoroughly understand the readings. My ITEL project was creating an online glossary for the course materials for Business Chinese II and it was designed to help students in their preparation for class and enhance their classroom learning experience.

During the spring semester of 2015, I created a complete glossary for Business Chinese II with the help of a few different online dictionary tools. The glossary consists of twelve word files categorized into four chapters according to the course packet. Each chapter containing three files was completed and uploaded to the Blackboard course site for students’ use before the start of the chapter.