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Monday, January 23, 2012

Multilingual TV in the Multimedia Lab

The Multimedia Lab in Jones 135 now offers multilingual TV programming. Every day, Lab patrons can watch a variety of live streaming channels from around the globe on the Lab's big-screen television and listen through wireless headphones. Instructors: Be sure to tell your language students about this venue for real-time, authentic language learning.

Our TV schedule is available online.

In addition, the French TV station TV5 is available for viewing every day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jones 35 upgrade: what technology do you require?

The laptop lab that can be used in Jones 35 is almost four years old, and due for an upgrade. Language Center staff have found that while our three fixed MacDiLL classrooms (Jones 10, 15 and 30) are increasingly in demand, Jones 35 and the laptop lab are under-utilized. We have also received many complaints about the length of time required to set up the laptop lab for classroom use. Therefore, we are considering a new layout for the room that would offer both flexible tables and some fixed computer stations.

Instructors: please help us plan for this upgrade by filling out this short survey of your technology needs and ideas. The survey will be open through Tuesday, January 24, 2012. We appreciate your assistance as we make this important decision

TandemPlus Spring Registration is Open

Registration is now open for TandemPlus, the program that pairs native speakers of different languages for language and cultural exchange. The program is growing every semester and now includes options for face-to-face (in-person) partnerships or "virtual" face-to-face (online) partnerships with people from around the globe. This great program is voluntary and completely free. You can learn more or register on-line here.

Congratulations to the Language Testing Team!

The Language Testing Program team of Monica Frahm, Mary Norman, Joanne Peltonen, Gabriela Sweet and Sondes Wooldridge has won a 2012 CLA Outstanding Service Award. The work group was recognized for supporting the testing needs of over 7200 students each year, as well as for its role in the development of new computerized Language Proficiency Exams (LPEs) for critical and high-enrollment languages.

Thanks to the Testing Program staff, the full LPE development team, and the support of language instructors and departments, CLA students of Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and Russian now have access to the same computerized proficiency exams as students of French, German and Spanish. In addition, there is a second version of the Spanish test available, and development is underway for computerized tests in Hmong, Finnish and Korean.

You can read more about the new LPEs at Elsie Speaks. The Outstanding Service Awards will be presented at the CLA Staff Appreciation Ceremony on January 24.

World Languages Day: Application to Attend 2012 Event

World Languages Day begins accepting Applications of Interest on January 17th, 2012!

What is an Application of Interest and why do we require it? Read on!

The origins of a fun language and culture event:
Interest from high school teachers to bring their students to attending World Languages Day has been growing ever since the event debuted in 2004. On the day of the event, approximately 1000 high school students visit the University of Minnesota campus to take three mini-courses on foreign language-related topics. Most of the courses are introductory and interactive and help get participants excited about continuing their study of a current language, or learning a new language.

Overwhelming popularity:
In 2009, after 1600 students enrolled for an event intended for 1000 students, we decided that we needed a new registration system. In 2010, we debuted the Application of Interest, along with a two-step registration process.

Organizing enrollment:
This January, interested teachers are invited to submit an Application of Interest to bring their students to attend the 2012 event. This application includes a short summary of the reasons they wish to bring their group to the event. If more teachers submit applications than we can accommodate, the planning committee selects which groups to invite. The goal is to bring as much geographic, linguistic and cultural diversity to the event as possible. We also give priority to schools who are underrepresented at the U of M and we place emphasis on sophomore-level classes, to ensure that we are reaching the best possible audience. Any groups that we are not initially able to accommodate are placed on a waiting list, and we are often able to invite some schools from the wait list.

In addition to the approximately 1000 students who attend the event in person, we will also accommodate some schools who wish to attend the event virtually and participate in interactive online classes.

This year's event is scheduled for May 15, 2012 and we will be accepting Applications of Interest from January 17 through January 31, 2012 at http://worldlang.cla.umn.edu/.

High school teachers on our email list have received a user name and password for the Application of Interest, and the application link will go live on Tuesday, January 17.

For more information about the event, please visit our website: worldlang.cla.umn.edu
or contact Stephanie Treat at treat002@umn.edu.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reserve Films and the DCL

Instructors: If you have films from your personal collection that you would like to share with students, the Language Center will place your films on reserve for students to check out and view in Jones Hall. However, many students find the necessity of viewing the films during business hours restrictive. We strongly encourage you to consider the Digital Content Library (DCL) as an alternative to placing films on reserve in Jones Hall.

In the case of subtitled films, the readability of the digitized version may be insufficient for some students, and in those cases, you may consider both putting the film on reserve, and having it digitized through the DCL.

You can check the DCL catalog and view films at: http://dcl.umn.edu/, and learn more about this service at Elsie Speaks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rachel Says Goodbye

After working for the Language Center on and off ever since I was a Freshman undergrad in 2003, I will be leaving the office in mid-January to pursue a full-time position as the French Coordinator for a non-profit educational organization, called Intercultural Student Experiences. I am excited about this opportunity, but I am sad to leave the Language Center, especially in the middle of World Languages Day planning. This was my second year as primary coordinator for World Languages Day, but I have helped out with the event dating back to its debut in 2004. However, I have no doubt that World Languages Day 2012 will be a success; Stephanie Treat, the previous primary coordinator, will continue planning as usual.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with all the staff, volunteers and participants of World Languages Day and I hope to cross paths again with you in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns about this year's event, please contact Stephanie Treat at WLD@umn.edu or at 612-626-6017

Thanks so much everyone!

Rachel Faynik Marbell