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Monday, April 27, 2015

Unconference: Technology in the Liberal Arts

Thursday, June 4, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Explore new ideas in technology, teaching, and research in the liberal arts. Share your questions and conundrums, projects, and knowledge. Learn some new skills. Work with others on a project. The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Team, CLA-OIT, invites you to join us at the Unconference on June 4!

An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture, what a party at your house is to a church wedding, what a pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee is to an NBA game, what a jazz band is to a symphony orchestra: it's informal and participatory.

This Unconference brings together faculty, staff and graduate students from CLA to learn from each other in a highly participatory and collaborative fashion. Participants create the agenda, and lead or participate in sessions. Technical expertise is not required: if you can pose a question or identify a topic to explore, you can lead a session. There is no registration fee, but registration is required. There is a limit of 50 participants. Lunch and some snacks will be served.

If you're interested in participating, please do the following:

If you have any questions, contact Cristina Lopez, clopez@umn.edu.

CLA Instructors: reMoodle Your Summer Course Websites

Teaching a course this summer? Now is the time to start work on your Moodle site! CLA's Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team can work with you to give a facelift and update to your existing course website, as part of our reMoodle service. ReMoodled sites provide high impact for students and low time commitment from you; the TEL team does most of the work, and you receive hands-on training on how to maintain your enhanced Moodle site. Learn more about the project, or email cla-tel@umn.edu to sign up for a reMoodle.

CLA Instructors: End-of-Semester In-House Technology Help

Need help with your Moodle Gradebook? Or need other technology support to help wrap up the semester? The CLA-OIT team will be making the rounds during the last week of classes to help you with your end-of-semester technology needs. Come find us at a location near you!

(Check with your department admin for room numbers that week--they are still TBD.)

May 4, 2015, 9:00 - 4:30 p.m., Social Sciences
May 5, 2015, 9:00 - 4:30 p.m., Folwell Hall
May 6, 2015, 9:00 - 4:30 p.m., Heller Hall
May 7, 2015, 9:00 - 4:30 p.m., Scott Hall
May 8, 2015, 9:00 - 4:30 p.m., Ford Hall

Language Center Staff Graduations

After this spring semester, six long-term Language Center employees will complete their undergraduate programs. All of them held unique positions in our department and made valuable contributions to language education at the University of Minnesota. Please join us in congratulating the following graduates, and wishing them the best in their future endeavors!

Brandon Adams, Classroom Support Assistant Lead Student, is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in English and Jewish Studies with minors in Hebrew and Religious Studies. He is currently applying for positions in libraries or education. One day he hopes to go back to school to pursue an M.A. in English, but after four years he looks forward to a break from school!

Chloe Gansen, Main Office Assistant, is graduating with a double major in Journalism and Public Health. In addition to her job at the Language Center, she is currently working in the communications department at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, which is housed in the Academic Health Center. She will continue in that position until the summer of 2016, when she will begin a master's program in health communication here at the University of Minnesota. After graduate school, she hopes to work at a health-related organization, doing communications and developing health campaigns.

Agnes Hong, AV Tech and Classroom Support Assistant, will be graduating with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Science. After graduation she is hoping for employment opportunities that would help her gain some experience in library work. Her current goal is to receive a master's degree in library science after working for a few years.

Abdulkarim Maalin, Testing and Somali LPE Assistant, will be graduating with a major in Biology. After graduation he hopes to find employment in the field of health care. His long terms goals are to study Public Health in graduate school and to eventually work for the CDC.

Jonathan Prestrud, TandemPlus Assistant, is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in German, Scandinavian & Dutch as well as in Linguistics, and minoring in History. After graduation he plans to use his language skills to traverse the globe and hopefully find El Dorado.

Molly Schloesser, Classroom Support Assistant, will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Family Social Science and Early Childhood Education. After graduation, she will be moving back to her hometown to work, ideally in the social services industry.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tandem Small World Coffee Hour

In collaboration with ISSS, TandemPlus hosted a sensational Small World Coffee Hour event on April 3, 2015. Thirty-five students participated in this first Tandem event on the St. Paul campus, many having braved the long journey from Minneapolis. With falafel and hummus from Wally's and Dunn Bros coffee on the table, a series of scavenger hunts, and an enthusiastic crew of language learners, it was a great event. Thanks to the collaboration, a number of participants learned about TandemPlus for the first time!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Congratulations 2015 SELP Honorees!

Did you know that the Language Center employs approximately twice as many undergraduate student staff as continuing non-student staff? Our undergraduate student staff provide primary assistance to students and instructors in public areas like the Main Office and Multimedia Lab, and provide Classroom Support for our four classrooms. In addition, undergraduate students play a vital role on the following teams: Dev Studio, TandemPlus, Technical Support, Testing and Instructional and more. The Language Center could not run without our dedicated and skilled undergraduate team members.

The Student Employee Leadership Program (SELP) provides an opportunity to recognize student employees who go above and beyond expectations in their work at the university through the annual SELPie awards for Outstanding Student Employees and graduates of the SELP program. Award winners will be honored May 7, 2015 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in McNamara Alumni Center.

The 2015 winners from the Language Center are:

  • Brandon Adams: Outstanding Student Employee Award

  •  Dimitra Andreadaki: SELP Graduate

  • Salma Bile: Outstanding Student Employee Award

  • Chloe Gansen: Outstanding Student Employee Award

  • Jonathan Prestrud: Outstanding Student Employee Award

Congratulations to all!

CLA Language Instructors' Communities of Practice

The PACE Professional Development Peer Team is currently discussing the creation of "communities of practice" with foreign language instructors in the College of Liberal Arts. The goal of these communities is to create miniature interest groups in an environment where educators could gather on a regular basis to share insights, reflect on their teaching pedagogy, and to create a support network across departments based on the theme of the community.

Below are a few of the "Communities of Practice" that have been proposed.
  • Integrated Performance Assessments
  • Technology to Support Language Learning
  • Flipping the Classroom
  • Pedagogical Innovations Reading Group
  • Shaping Curricula Through the Use of Assessments
  • Developing Advanced Proficiency

If you are interested in joining any of the Communities of Practice (or proposing other themes), please indicate your interest here. Have any questions about the Communities of Practice? Email Caroline Vang at cevang@umn.edu.

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Technology Tricks Swap Shop Held on March 23

On March 23, the PACE Professional Development (PD) Peer Team held its latest Swap Shop event. Swap Shops are short, informal opportunities for language instructors from all departments to share activities and learn from one another. The most recent event, a "carousel"-style forum, included instructors from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Five instructors from four language programs shared their "tips and tricks" related to a particular language learning technology:

  • Rick Treece, French instructor, introduced his new project on micro-financing in French, which used the online microlending site Babyloan. In small groups, students select a project in Babyloan for actual funding (€50) by a donor. The group then gives a class presentation explaining the rationale behind the project they selected, the economic/commercial setting and issues of that region, and other factors related to the project.

  • Liz Lake, Spanish instructor, fielded questions about Moodle, including questions about the gradebook, forums, inserting YouTube videos in assignments, and using Kaltura video. Liz also demonstrated how to take a screenshot of an activity from eText and animate it with Powerpoint.

  • Fumiko Matsumoto, Japanese instructor, presented lecture videos that she created (along with how-to instructions) for her recent experiments with "flipping" her class. Her flipped class design included concept checks of the videos and general feedback she received from her students regarding the new "flipped" method.

  • Sean Killackey, French instructor, demonstrated how to use Poll Everywhere to boost participation of quieter students and explore controversial culture topics or texts with ethical dilemmas. He showed how an instructor can prepare poll questions before class on the Poll Everywhere site, then insert them into a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. Students respond to the poll using their tablet, laptop, or smartphone to enter text or choose an option on the website, which then updates in real-time on the instructor's PowerPoint slide. Poll display options include word-cloud, wall of text responses, and bar charts for multiple choice.

  • Caroline Vang, ESL instructor, offered tips on using Google Docs to create an in-class and take-home group activity that can be accessed remotely by both students and the instructor. Through Google Docs, students were asked to create a mock advertisement based on an item or a vacation spot that they had researched online. The goal was to use a specific grammar point as they created the advertisement together.

The PD Peer Team is planning for one more Swap Shop before the end of the semester. Stay tuned for details!

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