September 3, 2014
Find below seven items worth mentioning as we begin another semester and put behind us another summer of research and special projects.
1. First Years and new students and students who have yet to enroll in a language are asked to go through the TMC orientation prior to using the facility. Please encourage them to do so; you may wish to include the link (http://www.wlu.edu/tucker-multimedia-center/resources/orientation) in your syllabus should the bulk of your students in any given class be new to the campus or new to Tucker Hall.
2. Remember, as we begin another semester, that the TMC is glad to assist you and your students in the development of web pages, blogs, etc. and that our program of "Students Teaching Students" is in place to prevent you from having to use valuable instructional time for technology explanations and demonstrations.
3. The TMC site has undergone some revamping over the summer months, and one of our goals is to continually improve its usefulness and content. Please give us feedback; we enjoy knowing what you think. Room reservations and work orders are now being accepted.
4. For those in French, German, and Spanish, W&L will once again be participating in oral proficiency testing for majors/minors through ACTFL's Modified Oral Proficiency Interviews (M-OPI) to be conducted in conjunction with the conference of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA), and in collaboration with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Oral interviews will be conducted during the week of 22 September 2014. I will be forwarding to department heads sign-up sheets within a week's time.
5. FLAVA is presently reviewing the possibility of hosting ACTFL OPI training in multiple languages at the 2015 FLAVA conference. FLAVA is also determining the feasibility of conducting regional OPI workshops during the upcoming summer months.
6. As you are aware, the TMC is involved in a variety of major projects for the promotion of language and culture study and language education.
A. The Virginia Governor's Foreign Language Academies. Go here to learn more. This summer's June and July experience brought 200 world language enthusiasts to campus and was funded once again by the Virginia Department of Education.
B. Languages for Rockbridge. This program continues to thrive as we provide multiple language and cultural enrichment programs to elementary schools in the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington, as well as in Rockbridge County. Our offerings vary each year, but the staples include Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish which are the most popular thus far. Curriculums for French and Spanish were completely revised this summer. A German curriculum will be developed over the course of this academic year as we are adding German to our "repertoire." Go here to learn more.
C. Foreign Language Futures. This pilot project allows us to introduce for-credit, Chinese language and culture study into regional, rural high schools using the Internet and face-to-face tutoring. Thank you Professors Fu, Lu, and Su, from our own East Asian Languages and Literatures Department, for providing the formal instruction on MWF throughout the 2014-2015 academic year. Go here to learn more. This project is being funded by the Braitmayer Foundation.
D. Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) World Language Workshops: A Blended Learning Approach for the Professional Development of Language Educators. The TMC will be hosting three professional development workshops for the language educator this fall utilizing funds provided by the ACS under this grant. The three workshop leaders are renowned in their fields (content-based instruction, vocabulary development, and integrated performance assessment). Each leader will bring a wealth of ideas and practices in these completely interactive workshops using the Internet and multiple resources. Go here to learn more.
E. FLAVA - Foreign Language Teachers Workshop Series. There will be four FLAVA professional development workshops in the TMC during the course of this academic year as well. The four workshops should prove to be highly useful, motivating, and practical with topics ranging from proficiency-based speaking activities to student-established goals in the classroom. Paul Sandrock, Director of Education for ACTFL, will be leading one of our spring workshops. Go here to learn more.
7. Mango LanguagesTM continues to improve its content and language offerings. W&L recently renewed its contract and paid for an upgrade with the language service company. We now have more language study levels with advanced content, placement and assessment tests for the top seventeen languages, course outlines, full-feature films, and customizable certificates for those who wish to have proof of successful Mango-ing. Need more information? Give me a call.
That should do it for now. And there will certainly be more to come. But in the interim, please feel free to contact me if interested in becoming involved in any of the initiatives mentioned above.