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Language Center News

Summer Session Reservation Requests Entered April 15, 2015

The Language Center will begin entering general Summer Session reservations on Wednesday, April 15. You may submit reservation requests before that date, and they will be held until then. To have the best possibility of receiving the rooms and equipment you need, please submit by 9:00 a.m., April 15.

See the Language Center Reservation page for details on policy, and to make an online reservation request. Summer classroom hours are listed below to help you plan your requests.

Summer 2015 Classroom Hours

Please refer to these hours when requesting Jones classrooms:

May Session (May 25 - June 12)
Monday - Friday: 8:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Summer Session (June 15 - August 7)
Monday: 8:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Late Summer Session (August 10 - September 4)
Monday - Friday: 8:00 - 4:00 p.m.

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 through this link. Have any questions about the Communities of Practice? Email Caroline Vang at

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

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.

Meet the multimedia lab attendants for the Spring 2015 semester at the Language Center! Here are some short self-introductions of new and returning staff.


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.


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 finished my Linguistics B.A. last semester, and will wrap up my GSD (German) major and History minor this 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.


Bryce Heller

Hello, my name is Bryce Heller. I am a first year student majoring in civil engineering. This is my first semester at the CLA Language Center. I have studied German in high school for four years. I went to Germany and Austria for a two-week long high school language trip that included a stay with a German family. I also traveled to Spain for a week and a half in a College of Science and Engineering Global Seminars program. I enjoy reading, playing video games, and working with computers.


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.


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).

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