Meet the iTunes U Language Learner

Meet the iTunes U Language Learner

Have you ever wondered about those students who are learning foreign languages on iTunes? There are over 600 free language learning collections on iTunes. People are using them. What do you know about these students?

Earlier this year, I presented a paper at the e-Learning Symposium in Southampton University in the UK about the iTunes U language learner. I wanted to share the results with you. The findings show that most iTunes U learners have quite a different profile compared to university learners: from their age and gender to their occupation and motivations for accessing iTunes U language resources.

Before watching, think about who you think the iTunes U language learner is. Mostly male? Mostly female? How old? What do they do? Do they listen on mobile devices or on their home computers? Do they think they are learning by engaging with the language resources they download from iTunes U? And what implications do the answers to these questions have for the design and implementation of iTunes U resources from your own institution?

Now watch the presentation.

How do your answers to the questions above compare with the actual results? Feel free to comment on your impressions and implications for teaching and learning through iTunes U.

Fernando Rosell-AguilarFernando Rosell-Aguilar is a lecturer in Spanish and coordinator of iTunes U content for the Department of Languages at the Open University, UK.

Read more about open language learning on iTunes.

 

Shareworthy: COERLL’s Webinar Series

Shareworthy: COERLL’s Webinar Series

Your foreign language department will thank you for sharing COERLL’s Webinar Series, all about open educational resources (OER) for language learning. Here’s what we covered:

Finding Open Media for Foreign Language Instruction Learn how to search for and find high-quality authentic OER (multimedia, realia, interviews, etc.) for use in language teaching and learning.

 

The Practice of Using and Teaching with OER Explore the practice of implementing OER into teaching and learn specifically about integration of COERLL’s popular French curriculum, Francais interactif, into foreign language classrooms.

 

Focus on SpinTX: An Open Video Archive for Language Learning We unpack one of our most recent projects, SpinTX–a resource for bilingual Spanish speakers in Texas. Learn how to search and tag videos for features that match your interests, and create and share your favorite playlists.

 

Join our June 26 Webinar!

Join our June 26 Webinar!

Focus on SpinTX: An Open Video Archive for Language Learning

In the final installment of COERLL’s summer webinar series, we’ll unpack one of our most recent projects, SpinTX. Short for Spanish in Texas, SpinTX is a video archive that provides access to selected video clips and transcripts from the Spanish in Texas Corpus, a collection of video interviews with bilingual Spanish speakers in Texas. We will hear from Project Manager Rachael Gilg who will show you how to use SpinTX to search and tag the videos for features that match your interests, and create and share your favorite playlists.

The webinar series is free and offers CPE credits. To receive credits, you’ll need to pre-register and make sure to participate in the webinar at the listed time.

Join Our June 19 Webinar!

Join Our June 19 Webinar!

The Practice of Using and Teaching with OER

For this webinar, we’ll be joined by two French language instructors, Amanda Dalola (UT Austin) and Stephanie Roulon (Portland State University) who will talk about their experiences using OER in their classrooms. Together, we’ll explore the practice of implementing OER into teaching and talk, specifically, about their integration of COERLL’s popular French curriculum, Francais interactif, into their classrooms.

The webinar series is free and offers CPE credits. To receive credits, you’ll need to pre-register and make sure to participate in the webinar at the schedule time.

Next webinar …

Focus on SpinTX: An Open Video Archive for Language Learning
Wednesday, June 26, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Presenters: Garin Fons (COERLL), Rachael Gilg (COERLL)

Join Our June 12 Webinar!

Join Our June 12 Webinar!

Finding Open Media for Foreign Language Instruction

Just a friendly reminder to tune into COERLL’s June webinar series where we’ll explore topics around Open Educational Resources for language learning. For the first in the series, we focus on the practice of searching for and finding high-quality authentic OER (multimedia, realia, interviews, etc.) for use in language teaching and learning. We’ll share some of the reasons we’re passionate about supporting the creation and sharing of resources in this emerging field. We invite you to learn more about what this movement is all about and to share your experiences using, making, or searching for OER.

The webinar series is free and offers CPE credits. To receive credits, you’ll need to pre-register and make sure to participate in the webinar at the listed times.

Next webinar: The Practice of Using and Teaching with OER, Wednesday, June 19, 3 p.m-4 p.m. (CST)

The Mixxer Launches Spanish and English Language MOOCs

The Mixxer Launches Spanish and English Language MOOCs

In January, Todd Bryant shared his plans to begin developing online courses using his language exchange website, The Mixxer. (See MOOCs + Learning Networks = The Mixxer.)  He is happy to announce the first offerings from this project:

Free Language Learning MOOCs from The Mixxer

Todd curated a variety of open resources to build these courses. The English learning content came from BBC’s Big City Small World,Voice of America’s Learning English and grammar material through Purdue University’s OWL reference site.

For the Spanish lessons, he drew from Practica Español, a joint venture of Instituto Cervantes, EFE and Fundación de la Lengue Española. Other lessons came from Professor Barbara Kuczun Nelson’s “Spanish Language and Culture” site at Colby College. COERLL’s “Spanish Proficiency Exercises” and Bowdoin College’s “Spanish Grammar” site provide additional references and exercises.

Todd will be presenting these MOOCs at the 2013 New Media Consortium‘s summer conference on June 7. Congratulations to Todd for having his project selected as one of six “Big Ideas” for the Emerging Leaders Competition. We thank him for creating this open educational resource for the language learning public and wish him the best of luck!

Free Online Professional Development for Foreign Language Educators

Free Online Professional Development for Foreign Language Educators

Skip the convention centers and stuffy conference halls. COERLL will be bringing an exciting professional development opportunity directly to your home or office or fave coffee house, where ever you’re plugging in at the time.

In June, COERLL will roll out a webinar series for professional development and collaboration amongst foreign language educators. The series is free and offers CPE credits. To receive credits, you’ll need to pre-register and make sure to participate in the webinar at the times listed below. But, you have the freedom to join in from anywhere and using any type of internet-enabled device.

Finding Open Media for Foreign Language Instruction

Wednesday, June 12, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Presenters: Garin Fons (COERLL), Nathalie Steinfeld Childre (COERLL)

The Practice of Using and Teaching with OER

Wednesday, June 19, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Presenters: Garin Fons (COERLL), Amanda Dalola (UT Dept. of French and Italian)

Focus on SpinTX: An Open Video Archive for Language Learning

Wednesday, June 26, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Presenters: Garin Fons (COERLL), Rachael Gilg (COERLL)

So here’s what to do: 

  1. Mark your calendars for the webinars you’d like to join.
  2. If you want CPE credits, pre-register for each webinar.
  3. At the time of each webinar, go to https://meeting.austin.utexas.edu/coerll-june-webinars to login and join the event.

Be sure to pass this information on to your friends and colleagues! Oh, and please comment below if you have a question or a topic you’d like us to cover during one of the webinars.

5 Ways to Open Up Corpora for Language Learning

5 Ways to Open Up Corpora for Language Learning

Corpora developed by linguists to study languages are a promising source of authentic materials to employ in the development of OER for language learning. Recently, COERLL’s SpinTX Corpus-to-Classroom project launched a new open resource that seeks to make it easy to search and adapt materials from a video corpus.

The SpinTX video archive  provides a pedagogically-friendly web interface to search hundreds of videos from the Spanish in Texas Corpus. Each of the videos is accompanied by synchronized closed captions and a transcript that has been annotated with thematic, grammatical, functional and metalinguistic information. Educators using the site can also tag videos for features that match their interests, and share favorite videos in playlists.

A collaboration among educators, professional linguists, and technologists, the SpinTX project leverages different aspects of the “openness” movement including open research, open data, open source software, and open education. It is our hope that by opening up this corpus, and by sharing the strategies and tools we used to develop it, others may be able to replicate and build on our work in other contexts.

So, how do we make a corpus open and beneficial across communities? Here are 5 ways:

1. Create an open and accessible search interface

Minimize barriers to your content. Searching the SpinTX video archive requires no registration, passwords or fees. To maximize accessibility, think about your audience’s context and needs. The SpinTX video archive offers a corpus interface specifically for educators, and plans to to create a different interface for researchers.

2. Use open content licences

Add a Creative Commons license to your corpus materials. The SpinTX video archive uses a CC BY-NC-SA license that requires attribution but allows others to reuse the materials different contexts.

3. Make your data open and share content

Allow others to easily embed or download your content and data. The SpinTX video archive provides social sharing buttons for each video, as well as providing access to the source data (tagged transcripts) through Google Fusion Tables.

4. Embrace open source development

When possible, use and build upon open source tools. The SpinTX project was developed using a combination of open source software (e.g. TreeTagger, Drupal) and open APIs (e.g. YouTube Captioning API). Custom code developed for the project is openly shared through a GitHub repository.

5. Make project documentation open

Make it easy for others to replicate and build on your work. The SpinTX team is publishing its research protocols, development processes and methodologies, and other project documentation on the SpinTX Corpus-to-Classroom blog.

Openly sharing language corpora may have wide-ranging benefits for diverse communities of researchers, educators, language learners, and the public interest. The SpinTX team is interested in starting a conversation across these communities. Have you ever used a corpus before? What did you use it for? If you have never used a corpus, how do you find and use authentic videos in the classroom?  How can we make video corpora more accessible and useful for teachers and learners?

gilgRachael Gilg is the Project Manager and Lead Developer for COERLL’s Spanish in Texas Corpus project and the SpinTX Corpus-to-Classroom project. She has acted as project manager, designer, and developer on a diverse set of projects, including educational websites and online courses, video and interactive media, digital archives, and social/community websites.

Improving the Recipe for Effective Language Learning

Improving the Recipe for Effective Language Learning

Fernando Rubio checks back in with us after finishing his first year teaching a Spanish MOOC.

I ended my previous post inviting you to think about the role of MOOCs and the intersection between teaching and certification.

The conversation that has been going on since my last post has been just as polarized as it was before. MOOCs have recently been called a new form of colonialism because they are an attempt to address the demand for higher education by some of the top universities in the U.S. They have also been touted as a disruptive game changer if MOOC providers can create the right recipe that combines free access and credit. Let’s take a look at some offerings from MOOC providers.

Fremium Model

MOOC2Degree is a result of a number of universities teaming up with online course developers Academic Partnerships. Students receive the first course in an online degree program as a free MOOC in hopes that they will then pay tuition to complete the degree through regular online coursework. This is simply a version of the freemium model that we all know and love.

User-Centered Model

Outside the U.S., as part of the UK’s Open University, Futurelearn has thrown its hat in the ring by promising a for-credit MOOC-like experience without the drop-out rates and plagiarism problems of a MOOC. As they say, “it would be a shame to deliver that on a platform and infrastructure that was powered on another continent.” (Did anyone mention neocolonialism?)

Blended MOOCs

I am writing this blog post as I read the New York Times’ front page story on how San Jose State has “outsourced” to Udacity some of the mentoring for its basic math courses. The article includes this interesting quote from a higher education officer at the Gates Foundation: “2013 is about blending MOOCs into college courses where there is additional support, and students get credit.” This quote gives me the perfect segue into the point that I want to make today.

My main concern is still the same it was when I started teaching my MOOC — What can MOOCs teach us about learning and how can they create a more effective learning environment? And perhaps blending MOOCs into regular for credit (either online or face-to-face) courses is the way to take advantage of what the two formats can offer. My next challenge, for Fall ’13, is a blended course on Spanish Applied Linguistics that will combine 50% face-to-face instruction and 50% MOOC. For-credit students will participate in both formats and will hopefully benefit form the opportunity to interact with a large number of students who will be following the free and open MOOC component of the course. I will keep you posted!

In the meantime, please send your thoughts on developments in the world of MOOC language learning. 

Fernando RubioFernando Rubio is Co-director of the University of Utah’s Second Language Teaching and Research Center (L2TReC) and Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics.  His research focuses on the acquisition of Spanish as a second language and on the intersection of language learning and technology.

Language Knowmads Wanted

Language Knowmads Wanted

We found a kindred thinker in education futurologist, John Moravec at the University of Minnesota — take a look at his vision for Society 3.0 (that’s us!). Moravec describes members of Society 3.0 as agents of:

  • change
  • globalization
  • innovation fueled by knowmads (“nomadic knowledge workers”)

Sound familiar? A key aspect of Society 3.0 involves online open access, crowd sourcing that promotes sharing, remixing, and capitalizing on new ideas. We know that much of this happens through online communities — where knowmads gather in virtual spaces to push ideas into reality.

Pages from COERLL-Newsletter-Spring-2013In COERLL’s Spring 2013 newsletter, we share what we’re doing to nurture Society 3.0’s language communities.

First, we’re launching eComma, a web application and resources for social reading — where groups of users annotate the same text together.

Also, COERLL’s SpinTX Corpus-to-Classroom Project aims to create a self-sustaining community of linguists, technologists, and Spanish language educations collaborating on a video-based website for teaching Spanish.

And check out the facebook language communities we moderate: COERLL, Francais interactif, Deutisch im Blick, Brazilpod, Spanish in Texas.

Finally, this. Us. Here. At Open Up, we want to connect with other language learning  knowmads looking for ways to accelerate change toward open education. So please get in touch with us with your ideas for sharing, remixing, and capitalizing on open language resources. Join the conversation!

For more about fostering language learning communities, see MOOCs + Learning Networks = The Mixxer by Todd Bryant.