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Language Resource Center

Events of 2010-2011

May 10
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
9-12, Noyes Lodge
Lunch following
LRC Workshop
First, Dick talked about some changes at the LRC. There have been technical changes made to the VOD and WAL services The VOD continues to be very successful and the most recent changes are mostly to the back end, to make it easier to manage existing videos, of which there are now about 300. WAL changes are also fairly minor, involving new features in setting the calendar and designating shared grading responsibilities.
Dick also mentioned plans for taking out some carrels in the lab and installing a "VideoBooth" where students can easily videorecord themselves. The main purpose would be to provide a very easy and good quality place for students to record language conversations, skits or testimonials about their language learning. They will be able to take their own copy and leave it for teachers to use in class or for program promotion.
Four teachers then talked about technology-supported class projects - Su George, Naomi Larson, Meejeong Song and Frances Yufen Lee Mehta.
Astrid Jirka talked about the current situation and needs of the Language House. Lack of funding is limiting the program there to some extent.
Chrissy Hosea spoke about "Using internet resources: Vocabulary acquisition for advanced students and other projects in the Dutch classroom." She described her use of Google Docs for sharing structured vocabulary lists and Google Custom Saerch for finding focus examples of L2 text in certain genres.
Finally, Dick Feldman spoke briefly about Voicethread, an online service that facilitates student multimedia commenting about a central piece of media, which can be a picture, a video or a document. Any teacher who would like to try this out should contact Dick (
Apr 12
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Lening Liu, Professor in Chinese language and director of Chinese language program
Columbia University

"The Function and Training of TAs in a Language Program"
Mar 10
Thursday, March 10, 2011
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Judith Liskin-Gasparro, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
University of Iowa

"Correcting Students' Speaking Errors: Maximizing language learning in a communicative curriculum"
Language instructors often walk a tightrope between the seemingly competing goals of communication and linguistic accuracy. This presentation explores the issue of corrective feedback for studentsí speaking errors in language classrooms by identifying the most common correction techniques and analyzing their effectiveness in promoting learning of linguistic forms. It also includes discussion of instructor beliefs about corrective feedback and a set of practical suggestions that are research based.

Professor Liskin-Gasparro has also suggested a reading in preparation for her talk, Russell, J., & Spada, N. (2006). The effectiveness of corrective feedback for the acquisition of L2 grammar: A meta-analysis of the research. In J. D. Norris & L. Ortega (Eds.), Synthesizing research on language learning and teaching (pp. 133-164). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Feb 10
February 10, 2011
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Reception before and after the talk
Carl Falsgraf, Director, Center for Applied Second Language Studies
University of Oregon

"Technology-mediated Assessment: Documenting Learners' Progress"

This talk will focus on building a balanced assessment system that not only audits learning, but informs and improves learning. After discussing the basic conceptual framework and rationale for such as system, I will share specific techniques and tools that can make such a system efficient, effective, and manageable.
Feb 11
February 11, 2011
12 - 1:30, Noyes Lodge
Light lunch provided
Carl Falsgraf, Director, Center for Applied Second Language Studies
University of Oregon

"Using Student Evidence to Guide Curriculum and Instruction"

This talk will discuss how to use student performance data to inform and validate curricular and instructional decisions, an approach known as empirical pedagogy. Following the principles of backwards design, I will show how collections of student evidence can inform specific curricular decisions and then help validate the efficacy of those decisions.
Dec 7
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
9-12, Noyes Lodge
Lunch following
LRC Workshop
Tech/LRC topics
Personnel changes at LRC
As you may know, the university is saving money in IT and administrative areas in order to maintain its central academic mission. As part of this, the college was asked to cut some higher level IT. They asked us to cut Dan Gaibel's time in half. Dan is in charge of all web and server matters at LRC - basically all the platforms we use to present the media library, course pages, media workbooks, Web Audio Lab, the Asian Studies and FALCON websites and our own LRC website. The college investigated his work and found it to be of surprising (to them) depth, breadth and quality. With all these services and developed tools, we have had extremely little downtime in the more than 10 years Dan has been here.
At this point, Annie Hoff, the current administrator at the LRC, let us know that she planned to leave the university within the next few months. During the last four years, Annie has taken on responsibilities beyond her original job description. She has become responsible for the technical setup of the lab's computers, which involves fairly complex routines for maintaining the integrity of those computers and refreshing their content when needed. To resolve the problem of cutting Dan's time, we decided to move most lab responsibilities from the administrative position to Dan's position, thus making the administrative position half time, but preserving Dan's position at full time. We expect this change to occur at the end of February.
Of course Dan will have increased responsibilities. We are right now working on technical improvements that will reduce the time required for the lab duties. Also, the college is offering increased consulting and supervision. However, Dan will have a very full set of duties.
The administrator will also be busy, with only half time here at Noyes. S/he will be responsible for all HR and financial tasks, for building coordinator and scheduling of rooms and facilities, and for the LRC sales operation. So please bear with us, especially during the transition period.
I know you join me in wishing Annie success and happiness in the great Southwest, where she plans to relocate. She has been an extremely effective and gracious presence at the LRC for her more than six years at the LRC.

Introduction of new teacher interface for Video on Demand
The Video on Demand service has become very popular. This service, provided by the LRC, allows teachers to schedule full-length videos to be played streaming at the LRC and in Uris Library. We have more than 250 titles on our server now, used in 47 courses. To better manage this system and to give teachers more direct control over it, our programmers, directed by Dan Gaibel, have written a completely new interface for it. Teachers will have direct access to managing videos already on the system and a simple way to request new ones. You will be able to control the schedules for videos directly. We demonstrated this system and discussed it, eliciting some useful new ideas.

Video tutorial for Workbook Manager
The LRC Workbook Manager enables teachers to create links and workbooks directly online. They can upload media directly to workbook web pages and write accompanying questions and comments. This interface also provides access to the VOD tools. We have produced a structured video tutorial online for the Account Manager. The video is very large to allow a clear view of online text, so it takes a while to download. Please be patient (have a cup of coffee). When it has downloaded, you will see a "chapter menu" on the bottom right that lets you navigate around the video.
We also briefly demonstrated some new cameras we have purchased for loan to teachers. They are very inexpensive and easy to use.

Teacher Presentations

Karolina Serafin demonstrated her online culture and grammar materials for Italian 2090. She gave a presentation on these materials at ACTFL. They include a range of web tools, including web 2.0 tools such as blogs and, of particular interest, Voicethread. This program allows teachers to present online a range of materials, from audio and video to documents; students can then upload shared comments about the core material, using media and/or shared graphic markup of the original. Her project received local Consortium funding.

Stephanie Divo discussed her year-long project of rewriting the beginning Chinese curriculum. She worked full-time on this during spring '10. The project involved a careful study of existing published materials and rewriting of Cornell-produced materials, including some new Web Audio Lab material.

Cecelia Lawless described the Language Across the Curriculum sections that she has been organizing. These involve sections of non-language courses that are taught in Spanish by graduate students in the field. Cecelia has been organizing and supervising these instructors and sections.

Tomás Beviá talked about the project he has been running this semester involving a student in study abroad in Seville who has been paid to correspond with his pre-SA class. The student wrote an extensive blog and responded to questions from the class. This project also received Consortium funding support.

Nov 17
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Reception following
Dr. Mark Turin, World Oral Literature Project

"Cornell's Nepali Language Resources: Online Access and Public Dissemination"
Shambhu and Banu Oja have taught Nepali at Cornell University since 1984. Nepali is spoken as a lingua franca across many parts of South Asia and the Himalayas, as well as a mother tongue by 11 million in Nepal itself. Cornell's relationship to Nepali is particularly significant as it is the only North American university which has consistently offered Nepali language instruction both in the academic year and the summer, in addition to a prominent semester-long Study Abroad Program based in Kathmandu. Over the years, with sustained input from faculty in Anthropology, the instructional and research strength of Nepali and Himalayan Studies at Cornell has attracted many students, visitors and projects.

In 2003, Cornell was awarded a small grant from the South Asia Language Resource Center (SALRC) to further enrich the pedagogical learning resources developed at Cornell and bring them to a wider audience by constructing a web-based 'version' of the course in natural language Nepali. Cornell's online resources for Nepali include audio and text of original dialogs written and recorded by Cornell's language instructors, interlinear transcripts and translations, grammatical explanations, a bi-directional glossary with audio pronunciation, and supplementary videos scripted and produced in Nepal.

Today's speaker will demonstrate these online resources and reflect on the utility of such web-based courses, as well as on the relevance of teaching and research capacity in less-commonly taught languages such as Nepali. Dr Turin suggests two Cornell websites as helpful background to his talk, the Cornell Nepali language page and the Nepali online materials site.
Nov 4
Thursday, November 4, 2010
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Celeste Kinginger, Associate Professor of applied linguistics and French
Penn State University

"Promoting Engagement in Language Learning Abroad"
Research demonstrates that study abroad can have a positive impact on every domain of language competence, and that it is particularly helpful for the development of abilities related to social interaction. However, some results suggest that study abroad intensifies individual differences in achievement: certain students thrive while others founder. Qualitative studies provide insight into the sources of these differences both in the stances that students adopt toward their host communities and in the ways in which they are received. Overall, the research points to a need for language learners' broader engagement in local communicative practices, for mindfulness of their situation as peripheral participants, and for more nuanced awareness of language itself. In this talk I will argue for including the expertise of language educators in the choice and design of study abroad programs. Before students go abroad they can be guided toward the practice of dispassionate observation, participate in informal dialogues with members of their host communities, articulate appropriate goals, and prepare to make the most of their sojourn. While students are abroad, they can engage in informal ethnographic inquiry through tasks and projects, and they can participate in service learning, internships, or independent research. When students return from their in-country experience, much depends on how their experience is received within their home institution: whether or not it is integrated into the curriculum, with ongoing attention to their need for instruction in language and advanced literacy practices.

Professor Kinginger has made an article of hers available as introduction to her talk:
Kinginger, C. (2010). American Students Abroad: Negotiation of Difference? Language Teaching, 44 (2): 216 - 227.
Two other recommended readings I have in my office and could lend out, or you may find them in the library:
  • Kinginger, C. (2010). Contemporary Study Abroad and Foreign Language Learning: An Activist's Guidebook. University Park, PA: Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER) Publications.
  • Kinginger, C. (2008). Language Learning in Study Abroad: Case Studies of Americans in France. Modern Language Journal, 92, Monograph.

Professor Kinginger speaks of the relevance of the skills of ethnography for SA students. There is a new course being developed at Cornell to respond to this need, which will be offered in Spring 11: Anthropology 2472 Engaging other cultures: Learning how to learn about cultural differences; T R 1:25-2:40. Here is a flyer about the course.
Oct 7
Thursday, October 7, 2010
4:30 - 6, Morrill 106A
Carl Blyth, Associate Professor Director, Texas Language Technology Center
Department of French & Italian
Director, National Foreign Language Resource Center at Texas Austin

"Foreign Language Learning Meets Open Education: The case of Français interactif"
Français interactif is an open-source online first-year French course that Carl Blyth has developed at the University of Texas, Austin. It is being adopted this year for Cornell's first-year course, and Joanna Luks of Romance Studies is collaborating with Carl in developing aspects of it. The talk will show some of the underlying principles and features of this innovative course and discuss the principles of open courseware.

Professor Blyth has suggested a couple of readings related to this talk.
Oct 8
Friday, October 8, 2010
4 - 5:30, Morrill 106
Carl Blyth, Associate Professor Director, Texas Language Technology Center
Department of French & Italian
Director, National Foreign Language Resource Center at Texas Austin

"Collaborative Online Reading: a new tool for a new kind of reading"
This talk recounts the development of a new tool for digital humanists--The eCommentary Machine--a joint project of the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Language Technology Center. The eCommentary Machine is a new form of text annotation software that allows teams of readers to create collaborative interpretations of a text. While the eCommentary Machine has mainly been implemented in L1 contexts, it is currently being tested in foreign language classrooms. In general, foreign language educators have traditionally focused their classroom attention on pre-reading and post-reading activities, but not on 'during-reading' activities. The eCommentary Machineallows instructors to participate with their students in the word-by-word, line-by-line reading of a text. As such, this digital tool provides fascinating opportunities to study reading comprehension as a social and cognitive process. More importantly, this tool suggests ways to teach reading that may be more consonant with the emergent literacy practices of our students.

A reading by the speaker setting the theoretical context for online materials: Blyth, C. (2008). Research perspectives on online discourse and foreign language learning. In S. Magnan (ed.), Mediating Discourse Online (pp. 47-70). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

This reading chronicles the technical production process of eCommentary: "Baker and Brown, 2009. Final Performance Report: The eCommentary machine Project."
Sep 18
Friday, September 17, 2010
4 - 5:30, Noyes Lodge
Robert DeKeyser, Professor of Second Language Acquisition
University of Maryland

"Language learning during study abroad: missed chance or the opportunity of a lifetime?"

While students spend time abroad for a variety of good reasons, developing or improving language skills is still an important goal for many. Myths about spectacular results abound, but empirical research presents a more prosaic picture. In this talk/workshop I will present an overview of the empirical evidence available to us along with a more in-depth analysis of some of my own data from research with American students in Spain and Argentina. The emphasis will be on the transition between the classroom and the stay abroad: what should students know, what do they often not know, what are the consequences, and what can we do about it?

Professor DeKeyser has suggested an article as background to his talk, "Study Abroad Research: Findings, Implications, and Future Directions," from M. Long & C. Doughty (eds.) The Handbook of Language Teaching, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.