CHIANTI: Ample time devoted to collaborative workshopping on CHIANTI, the shared teaching resource for college-level language instruction; participants will explore the resources that have been gathered so far (including student and faculty reflection videos on liberal arts language learning), brainstorm on ideas for the emerging platform, and work on building additional content.
SKILLS DASHBOARD: Demonstration and brainstorming on the language skills question bank and dashboard prototype – initially developed for French last year, with future possibilities for other languages.
DIGITAL TOOLS for LANGUAGE LEARNING: Colleagues across LACOL shared experiences with digital pedagogies and tools for language instruction.
In an increasingly globalized world, students are seeking ways to learn languages that are not commonly taught at schools in the United States. While self-instructional language programs (SILP) afford many opportunities to explore lesser-taught languages like Hindi, Korean, or Swahili, the scope of each program is limited. A new online collaboration will allow each program to tap into resources that other colleges in the consortium have, e.g. native speakers in the community that can serve as tutors, or advanced level instruction in certain languages. Students will have additional opportunities to explore new paths within their liberal arts education.
Many of the colleges within the consortium offer some form of guided self-instruction of lesser-taught languages already. The new LACOL project will launch a collaboration between the Self-Instructional Language Programs at Vassar, and Williams College, using online synchronous classroom-to-classroom interaction. As Lioba Gerhardi, Vassar’s Coordinator of the Self-Instructional Language Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor of German Studies says:
By sharing resources, the partners will be able to increase the number of self-instructional languages available to students in an innovative and cost-effective manner.
The self-instructional component of each language course will remain unchanged. Each student will enroll for the course at their home institution. For speaking and listening practice, students will join conversational tutorial sessions at a partnering college via video conferencing software, such as Zoom.
Update on the shared grammar resource, summer 2018.
Convened by Chico Zimmerman and Clara Hardy (Carleton College), about a dozen faculty and technologists met at the workshop to make progress on ideas that emerged from several separate Zoom meetings in the two months preceding the conference. Eventually, the discussions centered on three main elements to focus on moving forward in the near term:
A set of videos featuring LACOL language instructors and students reflecting on the college-level language-learning experience. These videos will be available for sharing with all LACOL institutions by the end of the summer (see next bullet).
A self-curated online digital library of shareable resources for LACOL language instructors, for which a proof-of-concept site has been created and tentatively named CHIANTI (as a more appealing version of MERLOT). The (currently WordPress) site would allow for submissions from LACOL language instructors and would be searchable by category and tags. The initial categories will be in the area of:
General tips for college-level language learning, including research on adult L2 acquisition
English grammar for L2 learners, including models or maps that integrate all aspects of language
An interactive glossary of grammatical and linguistic terms from which instructors can draw for their own pedagogical purposes and to which they can contribute their own definitions and examples.
The CHIANTI site will continue to be built through the summer and populated with some initial resources for testing. A prototype submission form has been drafted and will be tested and finalized through the summer as well. The group will be soliciting contributions once these elements are finalized. (more…)
The Language Instruction Working Group is currently (Spring/Summer 2018) exploring an idea for a online resource built collaborative by/for LACOL faculty and instructors that will guide language learners on foundational grammar concepts.
There is an emerging plan for collaboration toward Shared Grammar Resources for Beginning Language Students. This concept has been discussed with enthusiasm in some earlier LACOL meetings, and Carleton Professor of Classics Chico Zimmerman has drafted a proposal to articulate more of the vision – see link above and below.
Four small teams are actively collaborating across several schools on the following module topics:
General Advice to Learners
General advice to incoming students about language-learning at college.
This includes some student voices on their learning experiences, but also could include some more general data/research findings on the benefits of L2 acquisition and the potential interferences of L1.
Map of Language Learning
An “overview” or map of the different domains that language takes in, including “grammar” broadly construed and its relevance
Glossary of Grammar Terms
A glossary of grammar terms with English examples; perhaps including sentence diagramming
Phonetics and Phonology
Phonetics/phonology module (perhaps with differing emphases depending on the target languages)
Colleges within the consortium offer some form of guided, self-instruction of lesser-taught languages. In Fall 2017/Spring 2018, Vassar College and Williams College launched a collaborative exploration to share online, synchronous classroom-to-classroom interactions across their across their Self-Instructional Language Programs in Portuguese. Through online web conferencing, the classes on each campus shared a tutor and teaching resources for students learning practicing their Portuguese pronunciation and conversation skills.
Two one-hour synchronous sessions each week with all students and the tutors
Up to ten hours of independent study in preparation for the tutorial sessions
Students enrolled in a Self-Instructional Language Course meet twice a week with their tutor and other students in the course. Each student is expected to prepare thoroughly for these sessions, using detailed study guides, a textbook, and multimedia materials. The focus in SILP lies on communication, not on grammatical analysis and literary study. Hence tutorial sessions are conceived as review sessions, unlike more traditional language instruction where new material is often introduced during class.
The tutor’s role is to facilitate the active use of words and structures learned by students beforehand, and to model the use and pronunciation of the language. A shared course differs from a regular course in SILP only in the addition of remote learners to the host institution’s class. All students and the tutor interact with each other in real time via videoconferencing technology. In addition, tutorial sessions are recorded and may be used for further review.
As a preview and prelude to LACOL’s “Language Instruction Hack-a-thon” next May at Swarthmore College (https://lacol.net/language-hackathon), you are cordially invited to join a team meeting on Monday, December 12, 2016. This session is particular relevant for faculty and technologists with an interest in language placement/diagnostics and refreshers, and especially anyone who is curious to know more about plans for the hack-a-thon.
Meeting:LACOL Language Instruction: pre-hack-a-thon brainstorm on language placement, diagnostics and refreshers
Special Guest Speakers:
Chico Zimmerman, Professor of Classics, Carleton College
Clara Hardy, Professor of Classics, Carleton College
To launch the conversation, Professors Zimmerman and Hardy from Carleton College will share an update on their Latin placement project. Throughout the summer and fall, they have been designing a more effective placement test for Latin and exploring a number of web-based tools/platforms for delivery – see: https://lacol.net/latin-placement-lacol2016. Thought focused on Latin content, their work provides excellent food for thought with broad relevance to diagnostics and refreshers for modern languages as well.
The remainder of the session will focus on plans for the hack-a-thon. What are the shared goals? What pre-work can help to lay a solid foundation? What kinds of productive “hands on” work can faculty and technologist do together in person in May?
A small group of faculty has done some brainstorming about the hack-a-thon already. We will share initial ideas and build from there.
Following discussions and collaborations mostly via Zoom in the fall of 2015, Mark Andrews, Baynard Bailey, Thomas Parker of Vassar College and Virginie Pouzet-Duzer of Pomona College are looking for new LACOL partners who would be interested in adding a digital storytelling element to their fourth semester French classroom.
French Digital Storybook created by Vassar students Rafaela Vega del Castillo, Rose Clarfeld & David Sparks.
The current project started at Vassar College when Susan Hiner (Dept. French and Francophone Studies) received a grant to create a course for teaching intermediate French based on authentic French and Francophone story books.
The premise is that during the semester students learn French in the same way a Francophone child would through authenticate cultural material. During the semester, students “grow up,” beginning with illustrated nursery rhymes, songs, fairy tales, myths, and fables then short stories, bandes dessinées, animated movies, and concluding with adolescent literature.
Attached to these texts, the course proposes grammar and writing exercises combined with interpretative and creative exercises, all launched through a digital platform. Most importantly, the course features a student-authored semester-long storybook that students write, illustrate, animate, and narrate in French on a digital platform.
The course has been through several iterations as part of a collaborative effort in Vassar’s FFS department, primarily between Susan Hiner, Mark Andrews, and myself, Thomas Parker, with the active involvement of a succession of French Language Fellows (visiting French assistants). We have been having much success with students who adore the creative element of the course (the book writing), the strong visual emphasis and engaging content of the authentic source material (children’s books), and the different elements and non-traditional pedagogical strategies it provides.
For the technology aspect, we’ve worked closely an instructional technologist – Baynard Bailey. He works with the students to help them to construct their storybooks in Final Cut Pro X. Most students make illustrations by hand, scan them and then import the images into their digital books. Students then record their voiceovers, adding sound effects, music and animation to complement their stories. The videos are exported and uploaded to YouTube, and the scripts go into the closed captions. We’ve refined the process over the years and the evolution of the student work can be seen at http://pages.vassar.edu/ffs-digital-storytelling.
Now we are seeking partners and support to improve the course with colleagues. Our first partner is Virginie Pouzet-Duzer at Pomona College. In the fall of 2016, she is planning to incorporate several features from our version of French 206 into her French 44. She is going to keep the focus on fairy tales, but her syllabus partially let go of the texts originally aimed at a younger audience. Also, she is planning on adding a remote presentation of the final projects, having students from Pomona and Vassar share with each others using Skype or Zoom. (more…)
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.”
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.
Kyoko Kurita, in Asian Languages and Literatures at Pomona College, has been using video conferencing technology as a regular part of her language and cultural education curriculum since 2004 in her advanced-level Japanese classes. She calls a video conference “90-minute study abroad,” and conducts one or two video conference each semester.
According to Professor Kurita:
A video conference is a 90-minute study-abroad. But it goes beyond that. Even as the ubiquity of the internet reinforces the global linguistic dominance of English, it enables us to learn from other ways of approaching life. Three million people are currently studying Japanese in educational institutions worldwide. So Japanese, also, can be a tool for international communication.”
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:
LESSER TAUGHT LANGUAGE GROUP: Partnering across our member schools to enhance opportunities for students learning lesser taught languages