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Monday, September 29, 2014

Language Center Events in October 2014



Classroom Computers Now Printing to Multimedia Lab: Policy Update

Our current printer in the Classroom Support office is no longer working well. Given the limited use it receives, rather than replacing it, we have decided to try out a new policy and set LC classroom computers to print to the Multimedia Lab in Jones 135. We recognize that retrieving the printouts during class can be a hardship for instructors and have updated our procedures. Classroom Support staff are now available to assist instructors with the collection of printouts from Jones 135. Instructors should communicate with the staff in Jones 5 in person or by intercom. The Classroom Support staff will collect the printouts in Jones 135 and bring them to the classroom directly.

Instructors wishing to avoid this step may consider other digital tools for sharing handouts and collecting student work, such as the course Moodle site or Google Drive.


Monday, September 22, 2014

RSVP by Thursday, September 25, 2014 for upcoming PACE Workshop: "Using Cognitively Demanding Oral Tasks in Exploratory Practice"

Presented by Elaine Tarone
Friday, October 3, 2014, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Commons Hotel, Pinnacle Ballroom, 615 Washington Ave SE (East Bank)
Breakfast will be provided.

This event is open to all CLA Language instructors as a PACE professional development opportunity. Please register online by Thursday, September 25 and email elsie@umn.edu with questions.

OIT: ATSS Workshops Fall 2014

Academic Technology Support Services (ATSS) will offer a series of workshops for faculty, staff, and teaching assistants at the University of Minnesota this semester. There are no prerequisites, and the workshops are offered free of charge. All levels of technical skill and experience are welcome. Registration is limited to 10 participants per workshop session, and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Topics include:
  • Multimedia Presentations: Design For Engagement
  • Tools to Create Multimedia Presentations
  • Digital Storytelling Assignments
  • YouTube Your Course

You can see course details and register at the ATSS website.

New Focus for CLA Language Outreach in 2015

The University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts is reshaping its language outreach programming and will not be hosting World Language Day (WLD) in 2015. We are thankful for the thousands of high school students and hundreds of teachers who attended WLD between 2004 and 2014. The WLD planning and instructional team, and the units that support the event, have valued this partnership with Minnesota high schools.

As part of the changes in our language outreach, we want to update you on three new major language-related projects and programs underway that will enhance language education at the university and in the state.

  • Chinese Flagship: The University of Minnesota is now one of twelve United States universities offering a Chinese Language Flagship Program. The Flagship grant provides resources to expand language learning opportunities and intensive experiences to undergraduate students.

  • PACE Project: The Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement (PACE) project will provide an integrated program of language assessment and continual curricular improvement for students of French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish with a goal of helping move all students to higher stages of language proficiency.

  • Spanish Certificate: The Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency in Spanish is a new option for students who are interested in achieving advanced-level proficiency in Spanish, and having their skills formally recognized.

With the increased focus on connecting K-12 outreach on new programs and integration into CLA Showcases, we believe we can provide more enriched and ongoing experiences. We also invite teachers of all languages to consider a group campus tour for their students.

The University of Minnesota remains committed to K-12 outreach and language promotion. Please email elsie@umn.edu if you have questions about languages at the University of Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Instructors in Computer Classrooms: Please Help with Class Breaks

Language Center computer classrooms are scheduled to ideally provide a 15-minute class break between each class to allow staff to set up technology for the next class. Classroom Support staff have reported that this semester they have often had insufficient time to do this due to students staying after class to meet with their instructor and these conversations occurring at the instructor computer area.

Instructors: the Language Center requests your help in insuring that there is adequate time to prepare for classes. If you need a private location to meet with students after class, please reserve a small room in advance, or come to Jones 110 to request a walk-in reservation.

Upcoming PACE Workshop: "Using Cognitively Demanding Oral Tasks in Exploratory Practice"

Presented by Elaine Tarone
Friday, October 3, 2014, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Commons Hotel, Room TBA, 615 Washington Ave SE (East Bank)
Breakfast will be provided

This event is open to all CLA Language instructors as a PACE professional development opportunity. Please register online and email elsie@umn.edu with questions.

Elaine Tarone is the Director of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) and a professor in the Second Language Studies Program at the University of Minnesota. Her research publications focus on the impact of social context on learner language and second language acquisition. She has published research on oral second-language processing by low-literacy learners, interlanguage variation, interaction in immersion classrooms, language play, and genre analysis. A member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, she is a recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.

Monday, September 8, 2014

TandemPlus Fall 2014 Registration & Kick Off

Student registration for TandemPlus is now open! With the beginning of a new school year come new opportunities for language partnerships. This semester there are some exciting developments happening with TandemPlus.

  • There are a large number of Portuguese speakers on campus this year who are seeking native English partners for exchange; Portuguese learners are needed!

  • It is now mandatory for Arabic learners to participate in Tandem -- Arabic speakers are virtually guaranteed a partner.

To register, sign up at tandem.umn.edu.

Also, Tandem will hold its Fall Semester Kick Off on Wednesday, September 24, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in Nolte 140. Everyone is invited to come learn about Tandem, play language games, enjoy refreshments, and meet other language learners.

For more information about the Kick Off or registration, contact Tandem at tandem@umn.edu.

Alert: VCR and DVD players removed from Folwell Hall classrooms in Spring 2015

The Office of Classroom Management has announced that during the 2015 spring semester, VCR and DVD players will be permanently removed from the general purpose classrooms in Folwell Hall. This is part of a multi-year plan designed to encourage the safe storage of materials online and to limit the upkeep on outdated platforms.

CLA faculty and staff that require assistance in transferring their DVDs and tapes to a digital format can contact their department's relationship manager.

The Language Center can also assist CLA language instructors request digitization through the DCL. Instructors may also reserve a portable DVD player or an external DVD drive from the Language Center to bring to the classroom.

Spanish Certificate: Student Orientation, ACTFL Exam Prep and Self-Assessment Workshops

Students interested in pursuing the Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency in Spanish are invited to attend one of two orientation sessions to learn more about this certificate and and ask questions.

  • Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in Jones 15

  • Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in Jones 15

The events will begin with general information about the Certificate program from Spanish Advising representatives. They will summarize the six Required Steps for the Certificate, including the ACTFL exam of advanced-level proficiency, which is the capstone of the certificate program, and discuss how the PACE program will provide an opportunity for Certificate students to take the ACTFL exam at a significantly reduced rate.

Next, Language Testing staff will help students take the self-assessment and interpret their results. Students will also have the opportunity to demo the speaking section of the ACTFL exam.

Registration for the event is not required. However, potential candidates for the Certificate are encouraged to fill out this short form to be informed of upcoming events and opportunities.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Meet the PACE Administrative Team

PACE is supported by a team of new and continuing staff and representatives from all six language programs. The primary contacts for the project are:



PACE & the Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency in Spanish

The PACE project will provide a very concrete benefit for students pursuing the Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency. From Fall 2014 through Spring 2016, students can take three of the four ACTFL tests FOR FREE! Qualifying students may register to take the Reading, Listening and Speaking test at no cost, and pay only for the Writing test. Some restrictions may apply.

Also, PACE will offer additional opportunities for some Spanish students to take the Reading, Listening and Speaking tests. If, between Fall 2014 and Spring 2016, students take some ACTFL tests outside of the standard period for Certificate students, all tests they pass will count towards the Certificate completion. Students must still complete all Required Steps to receive the Certificate.

There are two opportunities to learn about the Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency this semester:

Spanish Certificate: Student Orientation, ACTFL Exam Prep and Self-Assessment Workshops

  • Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in Jones 15

  • Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. in Jones 15


PACE Kick Off and Orientation, Friday, September 12, 2014

All instructors, students and staff are invited to an opening reception and presentation of the PACE project to learn more about PACE and ask questions.

Friday, September 12, 2014
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Nicholson 155

Coffee and cake will be served.

First PACE Professional Development Event Held August 29, 2014

The first in an ongoing series of events supported by the PACE project was held Friday, August 29 on the topic of "What is 'Proficiency'? What is 'Acquisition'?"

Under the guidance of CARLA Director and Professor Elaine Tarone, participants considered samples of learner language to gauge language proficiency development in terms of dimensions used by second language acquisition researchers. Of particular importance was the interplay among three crucial areas of focus: Accuracy, Fluency, and Complexity. Approximately 100 language instructors representing a variety of language programs were in attendance.

The next event will be held October 3, 2014. Details will follow later this semester.

Language Center to Administer Language Flagship PACE Project

The Language Center is pleased to announce that the University of Minnesota has been awarded a federal grant from the Language Flagship. The Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement (PACE) project will provide an integrated program of language assessment and continual curricular improvement for students of French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish with a goal of helping move all students to higher stages of language proficiency.

The PACE project has three components: assessment, professional development and sustainability. A cross-section of students will be assessed at various stages of language development from first year to upper-division courses and study abroad. A systematic professional development program will provide opportunities for language program instructors to work with national and international experts in workshops and to collaborate with one another to improve curricular and extracurricular opportunities available for students. A sustainable self-assessment program will help students understand and articulate their own competence and will empower them to be responsible for their own second language learning.

PACE is funded through a federal Language Flagship grant and administered by the Language Center with the support of CARLA and the six CLA language programs. It began August 1, 2014, and will run for two years with a goal of sustaining a culture of student-centered assessment, self assessment, and curricular improvement long into the future.

Other recipients of the Language Flagship Proficiency Initiative awards are the University of Utah and Michigan State University.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Multilingual TV in the Multimedia Lab: Now with Persian

The Multimedia Lab in Jones 135 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.

The schedule has been updated to include Persian on Monday mornings from 7:45 - 9:30 a.m. This language is now offered through CIC Courseshare in Jones 135B, which is conveniently located inside the lab.

Big News in Classroom Support, Professional Development

Congratulations to Caroline Vang and family! Michael Shou Vang was born on Labor Day! He is 6 lbs 15 oz and 19.5 inches, and mother and baby are doing great. The character for 'Shou' is also the character for 'righteous' or 'correct' in Japanese.

The Language Center pleased to announce that we have excellent temporary leadership for both the Classroom Support and Professional Development areas during Caroline's parental leave, which will run through mid-October.

Jenny Boe, the former Language Center graduate assistant in the Office, Classroom Support and more, has graciously agreed to provide supervision in the classrooms. Jenny is also a full-time ESL instructor.

Elizabeth (Beth) Dillard-Paltrineri will assist with some of the professional development planning. Beth is a CEHD grad student who works with Martha Bigelow, and she assisted with the May 21-22, 2014 workshop on backwards design.

Since both Jenny and Beth will work limited hours, we ask that questions about their areas be directed to elsie@umn.edu.