Internet's electronic bulletin boards can be used very successfully in foreign language classes. This paper reports on a small project which was carried out in a beginning German composition class. The university students, who had studied German only two-and-a-half months, wrote self-introductions of 15-20 German sentences, and, instead of submitting them in paper form to the teacher, they put them on an electronic bulletin board. This task is relativly difficult for beginners because they must moblize all of their language abilities in German, including knowledge of grammar, sentence patterns, vocabulary, and language learning strategies. So, two full class periods were devoted to the project. The procedure of the project looks like this: 1) In the first class period: - Activate vocabulary and expressions needed by means of associogram (group work and teacher-centered instruction) - conceptualize and structure the composition with key words (individual work) - mutual evaluation of the first concepts (pair work) 2) Homework during the first week: - Write the first drafts and ask questions by e-mail 3) In the second class period: - Confirm the grammar with a grammar check sheet and correct errors in an example text (teacher-centered instruction and pair work) - Correct errors in the drafts using the check sheet (pair work) 4) Homework during the second week: - Write and put the compositions on the electronic bulletin board within 2 weeks - Ask nnpstinnfi via p-mail The resulting compositions, as a whole, are both gramatically better and more interesting than those in recent years which were submitted only to the teacher and not put on the bulletin board. (See the results on the web page 'http://home.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/katsuiwa
'.) The public nature of an electronic bulletin board motivates students because not only the teacher but also classmates and friends read the writings. The bulletin board which was used in this project permits every contributor to set his or her own secret code, with which the student can also remove what was written before. It means that students can always modify or rewrite their self-introductions. Students can read each others' composititions, and if they find good expressions in them, they can modify their own compositions. In this way, students can teach themselves. It was found that 32% of students later rewrote their self-introductions, and 12% of students rewrote them more than three times. An electronic bulletin board used as a common platform increases not only the motivation but also the autonomy of learners. Furthermore, it frees teachers from routine correction work, and changes the role of a teacher from an absolute all-knower to a navigator for learners.