Sanskrit is better known for its antiquity and profundity than for its ability to attract undergraduates, so Sanskrit classes in Western universities have always been small. Yet as universities find themselves squeezed for funding, few can afford to offer courses that routinely attract low numbers, and many have already closed their doors to would-be Sanskrit students. At the Australian National University, however, enrolments are increasing because of our use of educational technologies to provide flexible delivery of Sanskrit teaching. With texts, audio resources and video-recorded lectures available online, and face-to-face tutorials presented through video-conferencing, Australian students can now benefit from high quality, accredited undergraduate courses in Sanskrit regardless of where they live. Two years after introducing flexible delivery, Sanskrit enrolments have doubled, students are thriving, and accountants are being held at bay. The future also looks bright, with a promise of substantial growth in enrolments nationally and even internationally. Surprisingly, the greatest obstacles to the introduction of flexible delivery have not been technological, but administrative. Through examining the experiences of lecturer and students, this paper discusses the pros and cons of flexible delivery of a small enrolment language for the university sector.
|Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
|Published - 2009