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Language Resource Center
Oct 21
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Catherine Barrette, Associate Professor and Director of Spanish Basic Courses
Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Wayne State University

"Theory and Practice in Language Program Articulation"
Providing students with a coherent learning experience throughout the undergraduate program requires more than an amalgamation of courses in language, culture, linguistics, and literature; it requires deliberate efforts aimed at achieving and maintaining program articulation. Such efforts are facilitated when stakeholders have an understanding of the factors contributing to articulation and the ways in which those factors interact. Paesani & Barrette's (2005) model of foreign language program articulation serves to identify these contributing factors and explains how they interact with one another to enhance or impede articulation. To provide a concrete example of the interaction of many of the factors in the model, I will summarize key elements of Georgetown University's extensive German program revision. Finally, attendees will be invited to discuss the Paesani & Barrette model and the Georgetown example in relation to Cornell's language programs to provide an opportunity for attendees to identify obstacles and aids to articulation in their own institutional context.

Professor Barrette has suggested two readings to provide context for her talk:

Paesani, Kate, and Barrette, Catherine M. 2005. " Introduction: From Description to Theory."
In Barrette, Catherine M., and Paesani, Kate (eds.), Language Program Articulation: Developing a Theoretical Foundation. Boston: Thomson-Heinle, vii-xii.An overview of relevant terminology and reference to numerous descriptive reports of articulation. Paesani & Barrette's model of articulation can be found in this volume as well.

Developing Multiple Literacies curriculum project (Department of German, Georgetown University). A detailed description of the goals, process, and outcomes of the project, found in the introduction, summary, and chronology.
Nov 4,5
LRC mini-workshop
Downloading and editing videos from YouTube
Two equal sessions
November 4 and November 5
3:45 - 5:15, Noyes Lodge
In the first part of this workshop, we briefly explained a few concepts in media handling: file type, codec, bitrate, video size, and file size. We worked from a handout on all this material. Then we demonstrated a couple of tools that download and convert YouTube videos. Finally, we demonstrated some typical editing actions in Quicktime. There was instruction sheets available for downloading the programs and editing in Quicktime. All the instruction sheets and other materials about LRC services are online. Most of the workshop time was allocated to individual work by teachers, with one-on-one LRC assistance when requested. Teachers could work on the platform - Mac or PC - of their choice.
Dec 8
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
9 - 1, Noyes Lodge
LRC Workshop
1. LRC news, comments, questions - update on VOD service, mini-workshops
2. News about the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning - new mission statement and projects
  • New Mission statement
  • Task Force Report
  • California Consortium RFP deadline 1/4/10 for conference 4/24-26
  • Pilot DL LCTL and/or LSP courses F '10; workshops this summer
  • Local project funds continuing from the college
  • New constitution this spring
3. Cecilia Alm discussed the development of her online Swedish textbook project. Using LRC coursepages, she designed a rich and elegant complete textbook. If you would like guest access to her media workbooks, which contain the vivid recordings she made in Sweden set up with learner tasks, please contact her (eoa5).
4. Student presentations in language classes: curriculum, technology and student response
Several teachers talked about various kinds of student presentations and interviews, how they fit into the curriculum, how students respond, and what technology they use. Much of the technical work on these was done by Nick LaVerne of the LRC.
  • Frances Mehta described her videorecording of student oral exams, and her use of LRC coursepages to let students practice their writing online, in response to her prompts.
  • Sreemati Mukherjee showed videos of student in-class presentations. She has the LRC videorecord practice presentations, then students right away watch themselves and look for improvements they could make. Sreemati showed the progress these mixed heritage and non-heritage students made during the semester.
  • Joanna Luks described a project in first-year French, where students created and uploaded videos of themselves in anticipation of an in-class oral role play exam. For those interested, Joanna has provided her lesson plans in practicing role plays and the instructions for uploading their videos; the lesson plan for the role play exam itself; and her grading rubric.
5. Grit Matthias was sick and unable to present. She planned to demonstrate and discuss her project in L2-L1 communication, using Skype and call recorder. Contact her (gm326) if you have questions.
6. COLLT, the powerful online testing tool built by Slava Paperno and used by Romance Studies, the Russian Program and the Berlin Consortium, has some new teacher reviewing features and media capabilities. Contact Dick if you have questions.
7. A few new online programs for student communication and learning:
  • First a few for independent learners - Mixxer , and Livemocha
  • Some student-student communication programs - eyejot for creating and sending video, Vivu (a quick broadcast to view) for creating and saving video conferences, and Voicethread, an ingenious program that presents some media surrounded by comments on that media.
  • Dropbox - A new Cornell service for transmitting large files. This is very useful for sending large (too large for email) video files to anyone, especially within Cornell.

The LRC offered a light lunch following the morning presentations, catered by Annie.
February 18
Thursday, February 18, 2010
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
           Meng Yeh, Rice University

"Performance Based Assessment"
Performance-based Assessment focuses on what students can do with the language, not merely on what they know about the language. The approach of assessing performance is closely tied to Backward Design (Wiggins and McTighe 2005) and thematic-based curriculum development. An effective performance-based assessment is based on clearly-defined objectives, which will lead to the development of engaging thematic units that motivate students. In this talk, I will present the assessment schemes designed to evaluate the interpretive, interpersonal and presentation modes of communication in a number of thematic projects developed for my Rice students at various levels. The principles for creating the units and assessment will be discussed. During the talk, hands-on activities and scenario case studies will be demonstrated to familiarize the participants with the concepts and techniques of designing performance-based assessment.

Professor Yeh has suggested a reading to prepare for her talk: "Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA): Connecting Assessment to Instruction and Learning." While the context of this study is K-12, it gives a very clear and useful discussion of IPA and related factors.
March 16
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Charlene Polio, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
Editor, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics

"Responding to Student Writing"
Over ten years ago, a polemic review article (Truscott, 1996) argued that "grammar correction has no place in writing courses and should be abandoned." (p. 328) Despite the amount of research on written error feedback generated by this article, how teachers should deal with learners' written errors remains the most controversial issue in teaching second language writing. The first part of this talk will address and provide examples of the options for dealing with students' errors. I will then discuss why the research findings on the various options are generally inconclusive. The second part of the talk will argue that teachers can increase the amount of writing students do because 1) it is not necessary to deal with language errors on all essays; and 2) less time-consuming alternatives to providing individual feedback exist.

Professor Polio has recommended a reading, Ellis, R. (2009). "A typology of written corrective feedback" ELTJ, 63, 97-107; and a video of a talk by Ellis that covers similar material. Near the end of the video Ellis offers some of his own opinions about the types of feedback he discusses in the formal talk.
March 31
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Noon and 4pm, Noyes Lodge
Concepts and basic practice in video editing

In this workshop, we introduced, demonstrated and had practice time with the basic concepts of video editing. This goes beyond the cut, copy, paste, export and simple text overlay capabilities of Quicktime Pro.

The event was basically a repeat of the workshop given on March 11. The noon and 4pm sessions were the same program. You can attend either one.

To prepare for the workshop and to make the best use of your practice time, attendees were asked to watch the tutorial video before you come. If you haven't watched it, you can when you come, but you will have less time for practice.

We had a sample video to work on, but if you have video you would like to work on, please bring it with you. Remember, if you would like instructions on downloading video from the web, you can find them on our Teacher Resources documentation page.
May 1
Saturday, May 1, 2010
9 - 12, Noyes Lodge
Chantal Thompson, Teaching Professor, Department of French and Italian
Brigham Young University

Saturday Morning Workshop
Crossing a Major Border: From Intermediate to Advanced

How do we get students to come out of their comfort zone at the bottom of the proficiency scale? How do we get them to go beyond the minimal answers they typically give? This workshop will train teachers to focus on what students can actually DO with the language, instead of what they know about the language. Using observable performance as a gauge, we will address the curricular and instructional implications of the ACTFL scale, and explore strategies and activities that enable students to cross more effectively the critical border from Intermediate to Advanced.

Professor Thompson has given similar workshops in a wide range of settings to varied audiences, including groups of Asian language teachers and LCTL teachers, as well as Romance language teachers. She is the author of several widely used textbooks in French. Here is the agenda for the workshop
May 11
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
9:00 - 10:00am and 11:30-12, Noyes Lodge
LRC Spring Workshop
Starting at 9am, Linda Heimisdottir described a project in Swedish, where they developed materials for an intensive three-week module in pronunciation held in the middle of the semester. She reported on pre- and post-testing results. At 9:30 we had the presentation from Grit Matthias that she was going to give in the fall about her students communicating directly with students in Germany online.

The workshop resumed at 11:30, after the Brantmeier talk via videoconference, with the tech topics. We demonstrated a new inexpensive video camera. We've been waiting for several years for a camera that teachers can use in the field or in class. This one is very easy to use; the files transfer simply to your computer. And the price is right (less than $125). Comes with simple Mac and PC software. Thanks to Adeolu Ademoyo for this demonstration.
We also demonstrated a student video upload service that has been used by first-year French classes. Here is Joanna Luks's direction sheet for this project.
There are some new items on the Teacher documentation page. In the section "Downloading and Handling Video" Nick has found a new program for downloading YouTube videos, called KeepVid. There is a linked sheet with instructions for its use. Also, under "Lab and Mac Classroom" we put a link to instructions for installing and using the "US International Keyboard." This is an input keyboard setup for Windows that is really the best way to type western accented characters (Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc.). It is simpler than the MS Word method and will work in all programs, like web browsers, online chat and email programs. It avoids any use of the Control or Alt keys.
Two final items. If anyone has ideas for speakers for next year, please let me know. This could be in the form of questions in your mind regarding areas of language teaching and learning or a particular person. Secondly, please fill out the LRC Survey Form. We have had additional budget cuts this year and must again carefully prioritize our resource use.
May 11
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
10:00 - 11:30 noon, Noyes Lodge
Followed by light lunch
Cindy Brantmeier, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Spanish
Washington University in St. Louis

"Reading and Assessing Reading"
Traditionally, foreign language (FL) reading was an ability that many language instructors took for granted, in part because it was viewed as a silent, passive skill. Since the early 1980s research in FL reading has revealed that it is a complex process involving multiple, interacting factors. The most comprehensive reading models illuminate the importance of both linguistic and affective variables. In my presentation I examine theory and research concerning the multifarious nature of FL reading with adults and explain the interactive models. I then move to a discussion on how to assess FL reading. Research has not yet revealed the perfect test to measure reading comprehension, and consequently to be able to capture a true depiction of reading, a variety of assessment tasks are needed. I discuss my research on the merits and shortcomings of different assessment tasks frequently used to measure both reading skills and comprehension, and based on data driven evidence, I offer suggestions on how instructors can use a self-assessment inventory and metacognitive questionnaire to diagnose strengths and weaknesses of individual readers. I will also discuss different aspects of the MLA report that address reading.

Professor Brantmeier has suggested various sources as introduction to the topic of foreign and second language reading. She wrote a review of publications for the last year which is online at the journal "Reading in a Foreign Language." She guest edited a volume in this journal with Keiko Koda also. And here is a paper she wrote about reading and self-assessment.

This presentation will be via videoconference. Here is the handout.