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Monday, November 24, 2014

TandemPlus Punch Pizza on December 3

Tandem will hold its third and final Fall Semester event on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at Punch Pizza in Stadium Village.

All current TandemPlus participants (partnered or not) are invited. Tandem will provide the first round of pizza and drinks, so come early! Join us with your partners or come alone for pizza, conversation, and camaraderie.

For more information about the Punch Party, contact Tandem at tandem@umn.edu.

This event is partially funded by an Innovative Community Building Grant sponsored by ISSS.

Next Swap Shop - Turnin' Up the Heat with In-Class Activities

Want some more sizzle in your activities and assessments? Join us for the next Swap Shop hosted by the PACE Professional Development Peer Team. Rasha El Helw from Arabic will present a "Gallery Walk" style pre/post-reading activity and Ayumi Mita and Minori Inada from Japanese will present their Integrated Performance Assessment. Look forward to a toasty discussion!

All language instructors are invited to attend.

Monday, December 1, 2014
12:10 - 1:10 p.m.
Nicholson 110

This event is sponsored by the PACE Professional Development (PD) Peer Team, which includes language instructors from French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting to Know the Multimedia Lab Student Staff

Meet the six multimedia lab attendants for the Fall 2014 semester at the Language Center! Here are some short self-introductions of new and returning staff.


Sorelle Chekam

Hi! I'm Sorelle. I am originally from Bafoussam, Cameroon. I moved to the U.S seven years ago, and I currently live in Roseville, MN. I transferred to the U of M from from Anoka-Ramsey Community College one year ago. My Major is Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. My first language is French and secondary one is English. I started working at the Language Center this semester, and I am really enjoying being around foreign language learners. My life is centered around work and school, but during my spare time I like to travel, read, and spend time with friends.

Jonathan Prestrud

Greetings! I'm Jonathan and I work with the Language Center as the assistant in the TandemPlus program, and a few times during the week I can also be found in the multimedia lab. I transferred to the University three years ago; this makes me a super senior. I finish my Linguistics B.A. this semester, and will wrap up my GSD (German) major and History minor in the coming spring. As for languages, I've studied five--German, Korean, Spanish, French, and Norwegian--and have been fortunate to do a bit of linguistic fieldwork in Azeri through the Linguistic department. I enjoy all things done well, lightheartedness, and anything that brings about fun.


Salma Bile

Hello! My name is Salma Bile, and I have worked in the Multimedia Lab for a little over a year now. I am from San Diego, California, but I've lived in Minnesota for the majority of my life. I am a junior studying Biology and plan to go to nursing school when I graduate. I love languages, but I've only studied Spanish and Arabic so far. I hope to study abroad either this summer or sometime next year to work on my Arabic. When I'm not studying, I'm usually spending time with family and friends or watching my favorite sport, soccer!


Rachel Groe

Hello, everyone! I'm Rachel and am majoring in Management Information Systems (MIS) and minoring in Marketing. For most of my life I've lived in Bloomington, Minnesota. I've studied German for several years and completed my language proficiency exam (LPE) for German during spring semester of 2012. I studied abroad in Vienna last spring (and highly encourage those thinking of studying abroad to do so; it's a great experience!). I have worked with OFYP's Welcome Week program for the past three years. I also work with the Office of Classroom Management at the UMN, and as the Public Relations Officer for the UMN's Pokémon League. Things that I enjoy doing in my free time include reading fantasy/sci-fi novels, practicing my writing skills, watching anime, hanging out with friends, and playing video games (especially Pokémon).


Hodan Jama

Hello! My name is Hodan Jama and I am studying Nutrition and minoring in Public Health. I was born in Somalia but grew up in Minnesota. I have two brothers who are also in college. This is my second semester here, and it is good to see new faces here at the Multimedia Lab. I am planning to go to graduate school for Public Health and work as Public Health Nutritionist. In my spare time, I enjoy watching shows that center around crime investigation. My favorite channel to watch when I am not busy is Investigation Discovery, which features real life crimes. I also enjoy reading and talking to my friends.


Dathan Cook

Hello. I'm Dathan and this will be my third semester working at the Multimedia Lab. I am from Eagan, a suburb just outside the Twin Cities, and I have lived in Minnesota for all of my life. I'm currently a sophomore and planning on majoring in computer science, but I'm also studying French while attending the U. I would love to learn several other languages as well as have a study abroad experience before finishing my time here. I spend most of my free time watching some of my favorite TV shows, spending time with my family and friends, or exploring around the city and trying new things.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Food Drive in Jones 110 This Week

The CLA Student Board is sponsoring a food drive November 17-21, 2014 at various locations across campus, including Jones 110. Please bring non-perishable items this week, such as canned or boxed items.

CIC Courseshare: New Class on Sámi Culture for Spring 2015

SCAN 3670 / 5670: Sámi Culture, Yesterday and Today

The northern tracts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula seem for many a singularly remote locale--Europe's area of sparsest population, an Arctic region where snow can remain on the ground for nine months out of the year and where the annual daylight regimen swings from a summer of perpetual night to a long, dark winter during which the sun never rises above the horizon. Yet to its indigenous inhabitants--the Sámi (Lapps)--this land is rich and bountiful, an age-old ally that deserves to be reverenced and safeguarded. Here Sámi people have lived from time immemorial, sustaining themselves on various combinations of hunting, fishing, reindeer husbandry, farming, and trade.

In this course, we explore the culture of the Sámi people, both on Sámi terms--through examination of Sámi language, oral tradition, material culture, religion, literature, film, digital media, and other cultural products--and on terms imposed from the outside. We will examine how neighboring peoples defined and disenfranchised Sámi over time, depicting them as magicians, primitives, racial inferiors, and trouble-makers in a manner that allowed authorities to discredit and disregard Sámi views. We will look at the legacy of this process of colonization as it continues today and how Sámi have worked to preserve their culture and bring it into the future. We will compare the Sámi situation to that of indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world, particularly those of North America. We will look at the international "Fourth World" or indigenous peoples' movement that has resulted in legislation like the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ongoing battles throughout the world to secure self-determination, cultural preservation, and resource rights for some of the world's smallest and most endangered populations. Through it all we will see a culture of remarkable vitality and resilience, one that offers deep wisdom and pragmatic insights for a world contemplating the notion of sustainability.

This course is taught in English and there are no prerequisites. It is offered through CIC Courseshare and taught by Dr. Thomas DuBois at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. For more information, please contact: Thomas DuBois or Daniel Karvonen.

Folwell Hall Revised Technology Plan

In response to feedback, the previously planned technology upgrade in Folwell Hall was revised to better fit the needs of faculty, staff, and students. Rather than a full upgrade, classrooms in Folwell will undergo a scaled back "refresh" that includes the following:

  • Replacing video projectors with higher lumen machines
  • Replacing DVD players with newer DVD models
  • Removing all VHS players

Since this is a refresh and not a complete upgrade, no cameras will be added during this cycle. The Office of Classroom Management will oversee the project that begins during winter break and continues throughout the spring semester.

Yes, You Can!: Self-Assessment in the Hybrid Romance Language Classroom

Thursday, December 4, 2014
12:20-1:10 p.m.
University International Center 101

In this CARLA presentation, Sara Mack and Gabriela Sweet will detail the process, benefits, and challenges of creating a standardized self-assessment protocol for language learning.

The Basic Outcomes Student Self-Assessment (BOSSA) protocol was introduced in Fall 2014 in Intermediate Spanish classes at the University of Minnesota, and is currently in use by students of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. They will explain how the protocol was created and present qualitative and quantitative data exploring its efficacy. They will also discuss best practices and the challenges of creating a self-assessment protocol to support instructors and learners across multiple sections and languages.

Sara Mack (Ph.D. 2009, University of Minnesota) is Lecturer and Coordinator of Spanish 1004 (second semester Intermediate Spanish) at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Her current research investigates psychosocial aspects of second language learning, with a focus on how metacognitive self-assessment can be used to improve learning outcomes. Other research interests include mobile learning, learning and memory, and sociophonetics.

Gabriela Sweet is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement (PACE) Flagship project. Her test development work includes the CARLA Articulation and Assessment projects on the Graduation Proficiency Tests; Second Language Testing, Inc., working with state boards of education to develop and translate high stakes assessments at all levels of primary and secondary education; and the CLA Language Testing program. With the PACE project she works on alternative assessment, particularly self-assessment, to promote increased metacognitive awareness and student empowerment.

Monday, November 10, 2014

CLA Student Board Food Drive Next Week

The CLA Student Board is sponsoring a food drive November 17-21, 2014 at various locations across campus, including Jones 110. Please bring non-perishable items that week, such as canned or boxed items.

Monday, November 3, 2014

PACE Swap Shop: Special Halloween Edition

On October 30, 2014, the PACE Professional Development (PD) Peer Team held its inaugural Swap Shop event. Swap Shops are short, informal opportunities for language instructors from all departments to share activities learn from one another. In keeping with the Halloween season, the theme was "Bring Out Your Dead."

Sean Killackey, French, Ph.D. candidate, and Beth Kautz, German 1003 Coordinator, each brought out "one of their dead": an activity which had great potential, yet did not work out the way they had hoped in their class. Instructors from Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish brainstormed ideas that might bring new life into these activities.

Sean showed excerpts from a film dealing with stereotypes between two francophone cultures on the border between Belgium and France. His film choice focused on cultural differences and tendency to stereotype. Students watched the entire film during two class sessions and completed a homework assignment in response to the film. The activity seemed to go awry when the follow-up class discussion turned into a teacher-centered session and did not lead to engaged student conversation or insights into cultural differences. Swap Shop participants were then given a few minutes to discuss what could have been done to make this activity more meaningful and engaging for the students that would allow for deeper critical thinking and focused attention on cultural stereotypes mentioned in the film.

Beth followed with a jigsaw activity on sustainability and tourism. Students first read a text outlining criteria for determining the degree of sustainability of a project. Then they were given descriptions of four different "green" vacation packages. They were asked to describe two packages for homework, talk and compare them in groups in class, and then analyze and rate how sustainable each vacation package would be. While students were able to identify particulars of each package, they could not easily apply the criteria successfully. Students had a variety of interpretations of "sustainable," and also tended to rate the vacations more according to the degree of "fun" than of "sustainability". The Swap Shop participants made suggestions for scaffolding this activity by adding a pre-discussion of the criteria for "sustainability," modeling the task with one example, and asking for separate rating systems for "fun" or "sustainable" vacations to provide opportunities to apply learned concepts to new material.

Participants shared ideas and experiences and generated options for approaching tasks to increase both student engagement and application of critical thinking. Many thanks to those who participated in the Swap Shop and made these good ideas even better!

The next Swap Shop is scheduled for Monday, December 1, 2014. Stay tuned!

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

Introducing the PACE Professional Development (PD) Peer Team

The PACE PD Peer Team is an important part of the PACE project, because it puts language instructors in the driver's seat.

The team includes representatives of the seven PACE languages: French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish as well as members of the PACE Admin Team. This team is tasked with building and sustaining energy around a culture of continual and collaborative professional development in the various language departments. The PACE project aims to build a culture of data-informed exploratory practice among the language departments. This will be accomplished via assessment and professional development. Assessments will give instructors an independent indication of the proficiency level(s) of their students, while professional development opportunities (both large and small) will build the skills necessary to understand this data and ask questions about it.

The purpose of the PD peer team is to serve as a central conduit between the data derived from assessment and the professional inquiry into this data. The team will connect the language programs with the PACE Admin Team and colleagues across languages in order to engage in collaborative projects and pursue questions of practice.

The members for 2014-2015 are:
  • Dora Dias, Portuguese
  • Jonathan Fulk, French
  • Sean Killackey, French
  • Sugyung Kim, Korean
  • Natalia Krylova, Russian
  • Elizabeth Lake, Spanish
  • Jacqueline Listemaa, German
  • Sara Mack, Spanish
  • Helena Ruf, German
  • Dan Soneson, PACE Admin Team
  • Gabriela Sweet, PACE Admin Team
  • Elaine Tarone PACE Admin Team
  • Caroline Vang, PACE Admin Team

Instructors from all languages may contact the members of the team or email elsie@umn.edu at any time with questions and ideas. The more informed the team is of the needs and goals of language instructors, the better able it will be to design events and projects to move language education at the university forward.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.