The Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Showcase

Several faculty members in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (DMLL) are using technology in their classes to expand their students' learning experience. The activities described below provide information on some of their technology-enhanced language and cultural learning activities implemented in recent semesters.

Student Audio Recordings

Second semester French students of Bernadette Beroud regularly record themselves speaking on topics related to their course and posting their recordings to Blackboard. The regular recordings provide students with additional practice in speaking, and allow their instructor to easily assess their performance. Students keep their audio recordings and are able to listen to their own progress over the course of the semester. By using the Assignment feature in Blackboard, Bernadette is able to manage the recordings easily and provide students with fast feedback.

Spanish instructor Clara Arroyo uses the threaded electronic discussion board Voxopop to provide students with an opportunity to gain additional oral and listening practice and to augment a teleconferencing project with college students in Chile. Voxopop is a freely available, easy to use tool that allows instructors to create a discussion thread and allow students (and others) to add a response.


Instructor Denise Caterinacci's third semester students of Italian have interacted with Italian media and music experts via teleconferencing. While the students in the classroom benefit from the live discussions made possible by the teleconferences, Denise also records the teleconferences to be used as part of a McGregor funded project to develop teaching materials for advanced conversation.

Professors Gilbert Doho and Cheryl Toman of the French section are continuing their McGregor funded collaboration between Case and the University of Buea in Cameroon. Part of their project consists of having teleconferences with the University of Buea to discuss contemporary literature from Cameroon. The teleconferences provide students with an excellent opportunity to learn about literature in a collaborative context. The video conferences also serve as a preparation and follow-up for Case students' trip to Buea in Spring 2008.

Clara Arroyo is continuing her successful group-to-group video conferencing collaboration with the Universidad Católica de Temuco in Chile. This program pairs up intermediate level learners of Spanish at Case Western Reserve University with peers in Chile. Students on both sides of the exchange are finding the program to be a great way to learn about the language and culture of their Western Hemisphere neighbors.

Learning in Virtual Worlds

Students in Spanish instructor Carolina Perera's classes are using Second Life to improve their oral proficiency. They use Second Life to visit islands such as Spain2, where they are likely to encounter native speakers and learn to communicate with them in a relatively low anxiety environment. They also meet in a special Salsa Cafe designed by instructional designer Sue Shick of ITAC (Instructional Technology and Academic Computing) on the ClevelandPlus island. The Salsa Cafe contains a dance floor (yes, it is possible to dance in Second Life!), tables to sit and chat, and a performance stage that allows avatars and even real people (via streamed video) to interact with the students. Last semester, we began working with Oberlin College to bring students together in this new space. We hope to expand upon this collaboration in semesters to come.


Wiki Building

Professor Antonio Candau has used wiki building as an alternative to the traditional term paper for his advanced level Spanish literature students. The most famous wiki, Wikipedia, defines wikis as: "a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content." To complete their assignments, students have been asked to thoroughly research a poem. They then build individual wikis in Blackboard to annotate the poetry with appropriate images, references, and definitions. Although students work individually, they are able to visit each others' wikis and provide comments, suggestions, and encouragement. Students find the multimedia possibilities provided by wikis to be a satisfying alternative to writing a traditional paper.

What's Ahead?

In Fall 2009, we'll be working even harder to provide students with a range of engaging, media-rich actitivites to augment their classroom learning experience, including additional video conferencing and Second Life projects, story telling using Comic Life and other applications, and the development of interactive quizzes. The Freedman Center will also be piloting the use of MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning) devices with ESL students and DMLL faculty and learners.

Want To Learn More?

If you are interested in any of the technologies and activities listed above, or have other ideas for projects incorporating instructional uses of technology, please contact the Language Learning Services Manager for assistance.

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