Two young students looking at a piece of paper togetherThe NOVASTARTALK eTower is a research-based and literacies-focused OER -- an open, web-based educational resource designed to help Chinese students begin and/or continue their language studies when face-to-face options are not readily available. The technology powering the learning modules is designed for seamless access, allowing users to access the content from computers and mobile devices alike.

Thanks to a STARTALK Infrastructure-building grant, the eTower team was able to collectively build a sample end of the program module based on the most famous Chinese painting “Qingmingshanghetu,” (Along the River During Qingming Festival) as well as three zero beginning level modules. Since Literacies are formidable “Road-blocking tigers” in preventing Chinese learners from reaching higher proficiency, increased literacies will help expand the written language input, essential in improving writing proficiency. Therefore, development of high qualify literacies-focused instructional materials should be the priority in our field. NOVA STARTALK is created by using brain-based effective and efficient strategies to promote literacies in addition to speaking and listening proficiency. As the target users of this OER are students seeking additional instruction at times when formal classroom instruction is not available, the team utilized various learning strategies into the design of the modules to help learners progress independently in the non-traditional online setting. The integrated approach of offering free access to presentational content and practice activities will have the direct benefit of reaching learners in need of ways to continue their studies, but also the indirect benefit of supporting instructors who are looking for robust and interactive tasks to complement their curriculum.

View the e-Tower Module

Instructional Resource(s): 

  • Student


  • Chinese

Proficiency Level(s): 

  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Material Type(s): 

  • Instruction

Grade Level(s): 

  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12


  • Presentational

TELL Domain(s): 

  • Environment
  • The Learning Experience
  • Learning Tools

STARTALK Principle(s): 

  • Target Language
  • Integration of Culture, Content, Language
  • Authentic Material