On December 8, fourteen instructors and staff from the four larger language departments gathered in Jones 35 to participate in the one-day conference held at the University of Pennsylvania, entitled Advancing Language Education Beyond the Classroom. The group heard streaming presentations from Marie-Noelle Lamy in the United Kingdom, Daphne Koller in California, and Carl Blyth in Texas, along with a number of panel presentations at the conference site in Philadelphia.
Presenters shared their experiences with completely online language learning in the United Kingdom, and the inexpensive options of MOOCs and Open and freely accessible learning materials. Instructors from U Penn shared their experiences with the Coursera system and with teaching completely online language courses. Our group in Minnesota had the opportunity to view and participate in the presentations and we were able to discuss among ourselves options and possibilities for online language learning here at the University of Minnesota. In all, it was an excellent experience, opening up new possibilities for accessing current and evolving technologies in the service of teaching and learning languages.