Vue d’ensemble sur une salle de classe remplie d’étudiants

What is a bilingual course?

A course or seminar in which teaching and discussion take place alternately and equally in the two official languages, whether it’s one week out of two (option A) or during a same class (option B). Depending on the discipline and the learning experience, documentary resources (reading lists, audiovisual material, etc.) reflect the two official languages as much as possible.
Teaching options for bilingual courses. Option A: a calendar with a week out of two highlighted in red. Option B: a calendar with every session divided in two, with one part highlighted in red

Bilingual courses in four steps with icons. Step 1 in green: icon of a brain understanding information. Step 2 in orange: icon of a brain understanding information and a book. Step 3 in purple: icon of a brain understanding information, a book and a person with a speech bubble. Step 4 in blue: icon of a brain understanding information, a book, a person with a speech bubble and a paper and pencil Bilingual courses in four steps with icons and calendars.Step 1 in green: understanding. Step 2 in orange: understanding; reading. Step 3 in purple: understanding, reading, speaking
	Step 4 in blue: understanding, reading, speaking, writing. Option A: a calendar with a week out of two highlighted in red. Option B: a calendar with every session divided in two, with one part highlighted in red

What are the advantages of a bilingual course?

A bilingual course allows you to:

  • benefit from a dual cultural and scholarly perspective;
  • develop dual literacy;
  • become more at ease in the second official language.


What are the minimum second language skills required to participate in a bilingual course?

Depending on the course:

1. Understanding
  • Understanding the main points of the information shared in class;
  • Getting the gist of class discussions, including technical discussions related to your discipline;
  • Understanding enough of what happens in class to be able to summarize the key points in your own words.
2. Understanding and reading

In addition to comprehension skills:

  • Understanding the main ideas in course readings, including technical concepts related to your discipline.

3. Understanding, reading and speaking

In addition to comprehension and reading skills:

  • Expressing yourself on a wide range of subjects in clear, detailed fashion;
  • Sharing your ideas with some fluency and spontaneity;
  • Switching between the languages you know to fully share ideas and arguments related to a particular area of your discipline with other class members.
4. Understanding, reading, speaking and writing

In addition to comprehension, reading and oral expression skills:

  • Sharing information in writing in a clear, structured fashion;
  • Expressing ideas and arguments related to the particular area of your discipline in writing.

What second language skills should I expect to develop at the end of a bilingual course?

Step 1: Icon of a brain understanding information on a green background
1. Understanding
  • Understanding most of the information shared in class;
  • Understanding ideas and in-class discussions in depth, including technical discussions relating to your discipline;
  • Sufficiently understanding what is said in class to summarize the main points in your own words.
Step 2: Icon of a brain understanding information and a book on an orange background
2. Understanding and reading

In addition to comprehension skills:

  • Understanding most information in readings, including technical concepts related to your discipline.
Step 3: Icon of a brain understanding information, a book and a person with a speech bubble on a purple background
3. Understanding, reading and speaking

In addition to comprehension and reading skills:

  • Expressing yourself spontaneously and fluently without searching for your words;
  • Expressing complex ideas orally, in a clear and structured fashion;
  • Adapting your way of expressing yourself to the situation and intended audience;
  • Easily switching from one language to another to facilitate communication in a bi/multilingual setting.
Step 4
Icon of a brain understanding information, a book, a person with a speech bubble and a paper and pencil on a blue background
4. Understanding, reading, speaking and writing

In addition to comprehension, reading and oral expression skills:

  • Conveying information in writing in a clear, structured fashion;
  • Expressing complex ideas and arguments in writing related to a particular area of your discipline;
  • Adopting an appropriate style for the context and the person addressed.

What other second language skills can I develop at the end of a bilingual course?

Second-language skills developed in a bilingual course.
Four boxes with 1+, 2+, 3+ and 4+, each in their own color, on a turquoise background
  • Adapting to a varied cultural environment and better understanding others;
  • Developing a deeper appreciation and understanding of perspectives on your discipline that differ by language of study;
  • Developing mediation skills;
  • Developing intercultural skills;
  • Developing multilingualism skills.

For more information about bilingual courses at the University of Ottawa, please refer to your faculty.

For professors:

Professors are invited to consult the Teaching and Learning Support Service’s Web page to learn how to write a course description for a bilingual course that includes all the mandatory components to appear in the course catalogue.

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