Minnesota students are learning German from a teacher in Finland, reports Community College Times. Skype software keeps the costs down.
Ann Toumi’s image appears on a flat-screen monitor in a class at Central Lakes College (CLC) each Tuesday at 5 p.m. For Toumi, it’s 1 a.m. on Wednesday.
Wearing a headset and fueled by chocolate mint ice cream after completing a graveyard shift, Toumi launches into the class for beginners. Class concludes at 8:50 p.m. (4:30 a.m. in Finland).
CLC offers dozens of online courses, but this is the first one to be taught using Skype. The class starts with German language greetings, and spoken words are instantly viewed on the screen beneath Toumi, who gently corrects verbal mistakes.
“She hears everything,” said student Rhonda Carkhuff. “The delivery method works very well.”
Toumi, an English professor at the University of Eastern Finland, has taught high school and college classes in Minnesota, including an in-person stint at CLC. Students also can turn to a lab assistant and two German exchange students. Aides can be called in to handle Internet and computer problems.
Toumi teaches 30 CLC students: Most are beginners, but she also works with three advanced students.