About "Virtual SLI" 2020

Student connected virtually with other language learners.

On Friday, March 27, SLI received the directive from the University of Pittsburgh’s Provost’s Office to move summer courses online. Therefore, we are proud to officially announce to you our plans for this summer’s first-ever “Virtual SLI.”

Although remotely delivered language instruction will be new to many of our students, we know that SLI 2020 will be an interactive, rigorous, and fun program that is up to the standards of the traditional SLI. In the unprecedented circumstances in which we all find ourselves, we at SLI find strength and inspiration in our mission to offer our students opportunities for linguistic growth, intellectual stimulation, and camaraderie with a diverse group of language learners from around the country and instructors from around the world. We look forward with hope to the time when the need for social distancing has diminished and we can speak our languages together in the same physical space. For the time being, though, the technological resources at our disposal are up to the task of providing a platform for communication, learning, creative self-expression, and cultural exchange. We are beyond excited to welcome our students this June for an SLI like none before!

Virtual SLI Program Details

Program dates

June 15-August 7: 8-week programs in Arabic and Russian
June 29-August 7: 6-week programs in Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian

Program schedule

Classes will take place face-to-face via Zoom Monday-Friday, 11:00am-4:30pm ET (Pittsburgh time) with a lunch recess and a few short breaks built into the schedule. Please note that class time has changed from the traditional SLI schedule to accommodate students in time zones west of Pittsburgh.

Class content and mode of delivery

Classes will be taking place “face-to-face” via Zoom Video Conferencing. Zoom accounts will be available free to all registered SLI students. As SLI’s classes are small, Zoom is an ideal platform for our students and instructors to interact. With its meetings, “break-out rooms,” screen sharing, and other functionalities, Zoom easily accommodates a full range of interactive classroom language activities.

Lessons during the day will be include proficiency-based instruction in all language modes with our expert faculty. Students will have lessons in conversational speaking, reading, listening, grammar, writing, and presentational speaking. There will be times during the day when students work independently on assignments and assessments, but most of the day will be spent interacting with the instructor and other students. Instructors and SLI directors will be available at regular times throughout the week for office hours on Zoom.

For most languages, course textbooks will be unchanged from the traditional SLI. SLI will send students instructions on ordering textbooks online well in advance of the start of classes. Supplemental materials will be provided on the course homepages on Canvas/Blackboard and other online learning applications.

Virtual SLI will include the full scope of SLI’s cultural programming. One afternoon per week will be devoted to language learning through films selected by SLI faculty. Each language program will host guest speakers once a week to deliver lectures on topics on the culture of our languages’ regions in both English and the target languages. Masterclasses will be delivered virtually on a range of topics such as arts and crafts, music, cuisine, movement culture (dance and athletics), and “virtual excursions.” In addition to the required cultural curriculum, Virtual SLI will host optional language tables, guest lectures, masterclasses, and job talks in the evening that will be open to all SLI participants from any language program. We will be using every available resource to recreate the opportunities for cultural exchange and for the showcasing of our students’ accomplishment that epitomize the traditional SLI.

Virtual SLI FAQs

Will the number of credits I receive change?
No. Students who successfully complete the program will still receive 6 credits for a 6-week program and 8 credits for an 8-week program. Programs will cover approximately 2 semesters of language learning.

Will the cost of the program change?
Tuition for the program will be unchanged as tuition rates are set by the university. University fees will be reduced to $100 instead of $260. Students will be charged the computing fees, but wellness, student activities, and wellness fees will be waived, given the remote delivery of instruction.

Will SLI Scholarships and SLI Financial Aid be affected?
SLI will still honor its scholarship offers and will continue offering scholarships to new applicants according to our regular procedures for as long as funds last. As previously announced, on April 6th SLI plans to begin processing applications for SLI Financial Aid from students who have been accepted and committed to attend SLI.

Is “Virtual SLI” a FLAS-eligible program?
Yes. Virtual SLI has been approved by the FLAS program office as a FLAS-eligible program.

Will FLAS awards be affected?
The FLAS award amount should not be changed so long as it is used for a program that has been approved by your FLAS program officer. REEES and SLI are obtaining this approval for awardees from Pitt’s REEES. Awardees from other institutions should check in with their FLAS administrators about obtaining approval.