1 Is this document for you
2 What is not available
3 What is available
4 Why I am writing this tutorial
5 How to surf this website
6 How to contact the author

1 Is this document for you

This tutorial is an introduction to the basic technical concepts involved in the development of web-based interactive materials for foreign language instruction. It tries to explain the underlying technology that makes interactive webpages possible. The tutorial is intended for language teaching professionals with minimal background in computer programming and system administration. In particular, it is prepared for three kinds of readers:

  1. Those who are planning a web-based project for interactive language learning and instruction. For such readers, this tutorial covers the necessary conceptual framework which they will have to consider in their planning and/or production processes;
  2. Those who have been using the web in their classroom teaching and would like to know more about other potentials of the web for foreign language instruction;
  3. Those who are preparing a career in foreign language education. After reading this document, they should have some clear idea about what (computer) courses they can take in order to become a capable CALL developer.

To make use of the information provided in this tutorial, the reader is expected to have a working knowledge of the World Wide Web and its applications in foreign language instruction.

2 What is not available

This tutorial does not discuss how to evaluate available CALL software. Further, it DOES NOT cover the following topics:

  • Ideas for classroom projects and activities involving the use of the world wide web. It is assumed that the reader has already had sufficient knowledge in this area;
  • Authoring of language learning materials. It does not, for example, discuss how to write a classroom quiz using a set of multiple-choice questions;
  • The use of a particular programming language for designing interactive materials.

3 What is available

(Placeholder: An overview of each section. For now please refer to the Table of Contents which is included at the bottom of each page.)

4 Why I am writing this tutorial

I got started working on this tutorial based on the following observations:

  • Many language teachers are interested in incorporating interactive components in their web-based teaching. However, some of them got stuck one way or the other in implementing what they would like to do because they lack the conceptual knowledge about the complexity of designing interactive web pages for language instruction.
  • Many CALL training courses are focused on how to EVALUATE current internet technologies as well as off-the-shelf CALL software. However, they do not EXPLAIN the underlying technology that makes interactivity on the web possible . (See, for example, some of the CALL courses referenced on Wong's CALL webpage ( Such a disparity is partially due to the fact that the internet technology is so new and changes too quickly that many CALL trainers themselves lack the necessary depth of knowledge about the underlying technology. I believe that a working knowledge about the underlying technology will enable us to better evaluate available software products for language instruction.
  • While there are many introductory materials about interactive webpage design in general (e.g.,, most of them tend to jump onto technical details too quickly. This document is an effort to introduce  a minimal set of concepts that paves the way for a learner to better follow the technical details offered in those tutorials.
  • During my four years of working as an instructional technology support personnel, I have encountered many occasions where I had to spend time explaining those basic concepts to users rather than helping them to solve a particular technical problem.

5 How to surf this multi-page document

This tutorial is prepared for both easy surfing and friendly printing. (In fact, it is presented mostly in a non-interactive way.) Subtitles are provided at the beginning of each section for that particular section. A table of contents of the entire tutorial is included at the end of each page. The document does not use frames and uses minimal graphics to reduce downloading time.

6 Comments and suggestions

Comments and suggestions are welcome. I can be reached at or the online form at