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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meet the Development Studio Student Staff

This spring, the Language Center's Development Studio is home to Agnes, the AV assistant, and Emma, the web editor. Here are some short self-introductions!


Agnes

Agnes Hong

My name is Agnes Hong and I'm from Anchorage, Alaska. I immigrated from South Korea when I was 3 years old and I grew up speaking Korean at home. I also lived in Los Angeles, California for about 8 years. I'm a Senior studying Archaeology/Anthropology at the University along with a minor in Environmental Science. I have studied Japanese, Chinese, and Korean in the past. I love to cook, read, and spend time doing various crafts.
Emma

Emma Hage

My name is Emma, and I'm the web content developer in the Development Studio. Currently, I can stutter in four languages--English, Spanish, French, and Swedish--and I spend my time dreaming about all of the places I can travel abroad! I'm a first-year undecided student, but I'm considering a Linguistics major and ESL certification. My free time is dedicated to petting cats and eating ice cream, and my favorite color is Crayola's "macaroni and cheese."


Monday, February 23, 2015

TandemPlus Arabic-English Pizza Party on Friday

TandemPlus and the Arabic language program are hosting a pizza party on Friday, February 27, 2015 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at Punch Pizza in Stadium Village.

If you have ever been to one of our Punch Pizza events, it will be very similar, except this time it is just for Arabic speakers and learners!

Bring your partner, or if you don't have one, come join us and look for one. Get out of the cold, hang out, speak in Arabic and English, eat delicious fire-brick pizza and enjoy beverages -- on us!

This event is for all speakers and learners of Arabic, whether you are participating in Tandem or not.

CARLA Summer Institute Funding Opportunities

For instructors of French and Spanish


The PACE Project will provide funding for up to ten instructors of French and Spanish at the University of Minnesota to attend one of the 2015 CARLA summer institutes. These one-week institutes run from July 13 to July 31 and cover a variety of topics including second language acquisition basics for teachers, classroom assessment development, content-based instruction, and implementing technology in the second language classroom.

Funding will be awarded to up to ten instructors on a first-come, first-served basis until April 3, 2015. Each French or Spanish instructor may apply for funding to only one institute. Please note that some institutes fill up quickly. You can indicate your interest through this form.

Questions about this special funding can be directed to Stephanie Treat at treat002@umn.edu.

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

For LCTL instructors

CARLA offers instructors of Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) at the University of Minnesota a special scholarship to attend one of the 2015 CARLA summer institutes. These one-week institutes run from July 13 to July 31 and cover a variety of topics including second language acquisition basics for teachers, classroom assessment development, content-based instruction, and implementing technology in the second language classroom. Instructors are required to pay a non-refundable $25 commitment fee, but the balance of the institute cost will be paid by CARLA -a value up to $325!

A limited number of scholarships will be awarded to current University of Minnesota LCTL instructors on a first-come, first-served basis until April 3, 2015. Each instructor may apply for funding to only one institute. Please note that some institutes fill up quickly. You can indicate your interest through this form.

Questions about this special funding can be directed to Karin Larson at larso205@umn.edu.



Monday, February 16, 2015

Article by SLA Working Group Members Published in AASCU 2014

AASCU, The American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators has published a 2014 Volume titled Innovation and Accountability in Language Program Evaluation featuring a chapter by the following members of the 2013 SLA Working Group: Carol Klee, Charlotte Melin and Dan Soneson. Their chapter is titled From Frameworks to Oversight: Components to Improving Foreign Language Program Efficacy. The book is not available online, but can be purchased from CengageBrain.com.

Arabic Added to the PACE Project

The Language Center and the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures are pleased to announce that the Arabic language program has been added to the PACE Project effective January 1, 2015.

When the PACE Project proposal was submitted to The Language Flagship during the spring of 2014, the Arabic program was in a period of transition. A search was underway for a new Director of Language Instruction (DLI), and other instructional positions were open. The department did not have the personnel in place to commit to a two-year project.

Since then, a new DLI, Katrien Vanpee, has been hired, and open instructional positions have been filled. Under Dr. Vanpee's guidance, the Arabic program began a process of substantial institutional and curricular change. In addition to a revamped language program, the department is offering a new upper-level course for students on the topic of reading Arabic texts. ALL is in the process of hiring additional instructional staff and is planning for its first tenure-line faculty member in Arabic Literature & Culture.

To improve the oral language proficiency of its students, Arabic requires that students engage in some form of extracurricular language practice, which can include the Language Center's TandemPlus language exchange program. In this program, learners of Arabic are matched with Arabic native speakers for extensive oral practice and cultural exchange outside of class. Arabic language students meet with their partners regularly throughout the semester to practice Arabic, and to offer their partners help with English. The Arabic program works closely with TandemPlus on the coordination and supervision of the exchanges.

Dr. Vanpee is enthusiastic about the Arabic program joining the PACE Project. There is limited historical data about the proficiency level attained by Arabic students, and this is an outstanding opportunity for the program to receive concrete information about what Arabic students can do with the language, and to receive direction on how to further develop the curriculum. Dr. Vanpee is particularly interested in data about students' ability to speak Arabic and plans to use the data gathered by the project for continual curricular improvement.

Arabic students will be tested using the same speaking assessment as other PACE languages, the ACTFL OPIc. Reading and Listening will be assessed by brand new adaptive tests developed at Brigham Young University and available through ACTFL. The full list of PACE languages is now Arabic, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

TandemPlus Orientation Kicks Off Huge!

TandemPlus held its semesterly Orientation and Kick-off event on Wednesday, February 4. Lured by the possibility of meeting new friends and speaking in their second languages -- as well as the appeal of chicken shawarma and hummus from Wally's Falafel -- more than 70 people crowded together in Peik Gym, making this the biggest Tandem event yet. Attendees from a multitude of cultures and languages came and participated in the interactive, online orientation session (utilizing NearPod), and utilized their first- and second-language skills to chat with other attendees; many new language partnerships were formed, including Chinese-Spanish, Korean-Spanish, English-French and Arabic-English. You can see pictures on Facebook.

Tandem's events are growing in quantity and frequency; check back soon for information about our next event, tentatively scheduled for the week of March 9. Registration for Spring is still open at tandem.umn.edu.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Mac DiLL Working Once More!

The Language Center Mac DiLL is working again! A new server has been installed to replace the old DiLL server which failed on Tuesday.

Audio recordings created up until January 28 at 3:15 p.m. have been successfully recovered and restored to the server. All existing accounts have been restored as well.

Instructors can use the DILL in our classrooms once again. Our users should be able to log on to the DiLL as before to access their recordings.

If your class used the DiLL during those three days (January 29 through February 2) that we were not able to restore and you need access to the recordings, please contact Diane Rackowski, Language Center Technical Coordinator. We will work with CLA-OIT to try and recover those files.

Many thanks to the CLA-OIT Server Team and Swift Education who worked so quickly to get a new DiLL server in service!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mac DiLL Server Issues

The Language Center Mac DiLL, the audio lab application used in Language Center classrooms, is currently not working reliably. Problems started last week, and several server re-boots and assistance from the DiLL developers have not been able to fix the problem. We believe that the sudden and persistent software problems are a sign of hardware issues and are working to purchase a new server and to get it into service as soon as possible.

In the mean time we have requested to have the server re-booted each morning, in hopes that this will keep DiLL operational during scheduled class times.

If you have reserved a Language Center classroom and are planning to use the DiLL, make sure you have a back-up plan in case DiLL is not working. Classroom Support Staff can help you to use Audacity, QuickTime or other options if you would like your students to do a speaking activity.

Unfortunately, we can't know for sure at what times DiLL will be working. It will probably be a few weeks before a new server is set up and put into service. If you have any questions about the DiLL please contact the Technical Coordinator, Diane Rackowski. Caroline Vang, the Classroom Support Coordinator, can assist you with using other audio recording applications during those times when the DiLL is not working.


The "UnTest": Implementing ACTFL's Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) Workshop

The Professional Development Peer Team of the PACE Project will be presenting a workshop for all CLA language instructors on Friday, February 27, 2015. The focus of this workshop is ACTFL's Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA), and how it might influence curricular choices and activity development. Some language programs at the University of Minnesota have begun experimenting with IPAs to develop curriculum and to assess student language competence by engaging all three modes of communication: Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational. The goal of IPAs is to develop higher order thinking skills and evidence-based learning with a focus on cultural practices, products, and perspectives. We have invited Dr. Francis Troyan from Ohio State University, co-author of Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment (2013) to facilitate this workshop, in which participants will work through the concept, structure, and evaluation of this instrument and begin to construct an IPA relevant to their own curriculum.

In the morning session Dr. Troyan will walk us through the concepts of the IPA (content and development). At lunch we will ask you to share some "food for thought" and to brainstorm ideas for future professional development opportunities with members of the PD Peer Team. Discuss ideas that arose during the morning or venture into new territory, exploring interests and areas that we might investigate together over the next couple of years. The optional afternoon session will provide an opportunity to explore topics suitable for an IPA, to review IPAs developed by our instructors, and/or to develop ideas for an IPA. Dr. Troyan will be here the whole day to facilitate the process.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Morning workshop (STSS 412): 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lunch session (STSS 131 A& B): 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Afternoon workshop (STSS 412 - optional): 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.


Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Feel free to bring a laptop or tablet (not required).

Please register online by Friday, February 13, 2015. If you have any questions, contact Caroline Vang at cevang@umn.edu.

Dr. Francis Troyan is assistant professor of Foreign and Second Language Education and the faculty advisor for the BSEd and MEd programs in Foreign Language Education at Ohio State University. His research interests include classroom-based performance assessment, functional linguistics in foreign language teaching and learning, and high-leverage teaching practices in foreign language teacher preparation. His work has appeared in The Canadian Modern Language Review, Foreign Language Annals, The NECTFL Review, and The Language Educator. He is a co-author of Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment.

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