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Language Center News

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!

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 cevang@umn.edu.

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.


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