Adaptive Language Placement – exploring SLUPE

On Thursday, Feb 25, members of LACOL’s Language Instruction working group are met with the lead developer of SLUPE, a free, adaptive language placement tool from St. Louis University.

Adaptive Placement with SLUPE

Topics include:

  • Delving into SLUPE’s approach to placement testing
  • Flexibility for adding adaptive content for different language sequences
  • Gauging effectiveness of placement by various methods

Exploring SLUPE for Adaptive Language Placement
SLUPE / LACOL LI web conference

Thursday, Feb 25, 2016

Special Guest:
Professor Dan Nickolai, St. Louis University

Meeting Organizer: LACOL LI

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LACOL LI Working Group

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Language Instruction Hack-a-thon: Setting the focus

This web conference is open to all interested LACOL faculty and staff interested in setting the focus for the LACOL Language Instruction Hack-a-thon, May 5-8 2017 at Swarthmore College.

  • Meeting Date: TBD
  • Meeting Lead: Mike Jones, Language Resource Center Director, Swarthmore
  • Special Guest: Dr. Christopher Jones, Teaching Professor of French and Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Carnegie Mellon University


  • Review draft agenda, collaboratively agree on focus
  • Review shared goals and desired outcomes 
  • Explore useful examples of diagnostic tests and refresher content as input
  • Agree on focus for pre-workshop research and data collection

Meeting Resources and Examples:  

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Swarthmore professor extends his Latin classroom far beyond the boundaries of campus

A creative Latin professor at Swarthmore College has been using technology to extend informal learning beyond the boundaries of Swarthmore. For the last three summers, Prof. William Turpin has hosted a free, public, online course on Medieval Latin translation. He has been assisted by colleagues Bruce Venarde (University of Pittsburgh), Carin Ruff (Hill Museum & Manuscript Library) and Jen Faulkner (East Longmeadow High School, MA), who helped him to facilitate the weekly sessions. According to Prof. Turpin:

The intention of this course is to replicate to the extent possible the experience of a student in (say) a college Latin class at the early intermediate level, minus the quizzes, tests, and continuing assessment, there is no mechanism for awarding credit or certificates of attendance.  The most immediate model, in fact, may be an informal reading group devoted to a particular ancient or medieval text.  The basic premise is that a small community of interested participants can both encourage and enhance what is essentially a private encounter with a text.


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Building a Borderless Class at Swarthmore College

Sunka Simon Swarthmore College associate professor of German studies

At Swarthmore College, Associate Provost and Professor of German and Film and Media Studies Sunka Simon and Associate Professor of French Carina Yervasi, collaborated with Ashesi University Professor Mikelle Antoine to create an interactive online course that examines questions of nationality, globalization, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality through the lens of global diasporic communities. Using a “globally-networked learning environment,” the course entitled Re-Envisioning Diasporas was the first synchronous, hybrid course taught between Swarthmore College and Ashesi University in Ghana. The classes worked in joint video-conferenced sessions twice a week to explore how displaced peoples worldwide address these challenging questions while living in a perpetual state of “elsewhere.”

Simon and Yervasi recently co-authored an article about their experience with building a borderless class which appears in the new volume, Globally Networked Teaching in the Humanities: Theories and Practices, co-edited by Simon. Participants from both continents shared their reflections on the course experience.   Yervasi notes:

Carina Yervasi Swarthmore College associate professor of French and Francophone studies

What I’m discovering is that our model of learning is very different from the traditional model of distance learning. Our model is collaborative; it’s not student-professor online learning where the students are interacting with just the professor. [ … ] The students have to write and interact with each other. We’ve used writing, blogs, forums, Youtube, Skype and VoiceThread … I like that we’re using these technologies to connect in new ways.

Plans are in progress to offer an updated version of the course next year.  With a grant from SUNY COIL, the team is supported by course designer Michael Jones, director of the Swarthmore Language Resource Center, who manages the technology resources that keep the groups in close contact.  Both Simon and Jones are actively involved with LACOL’s Language Instruction Working Group. (more…)

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Working Group on Language Instruction

LACOL’s Language Instruction Working Group focuses on both theory and effective practices for teaching languages and literatures, using the latest networked technologies to enhance the learning experience.

Activities and Interests of this working group include:

Language Instruction Intranet Home:


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