Enhancing the Multimedia Language Lab
Purpose and Goals of the Project
Activity 4, “Enhancing the Multimedia Language Lab” is a three-year Title III activity designed to improve the serviceability of the facility in 169 of the Delco Building for second language learner use. With the addition of Chinese and Arabic classes to the course inventory in the Department of Languages and Communication in the past two ears, it is even more important for students to have access to state of the art technology that allows them to practice text, audio and video exercises without having to wait on slow and outdated technology. Goals for the three years include:
- Year 1: To enhance the technology base in the Multimedia Language Lab (MMLL) so as to better serve the growing numbers and types of language learners: remove outdated and non-functioning workstation hardware; document enhancement of the existing local area network, and purchase, install, test and use a new file server with new server administration software; install new carpet; and remodel site to better service end users.
- Year 2: To complete the upgrading of the infrastructure of the lab: purchase and install hardware, software and furniture for content delivery and student use in the main area of the lab; and purchase and install hardware, software and furniture for content delivery and student use in the area to the right in the lab.
- Year 3: To develop a support system that enhances the overall ability of the lab to service language-learning end users: set up tutoring with student workers; and acquire additional media through purchase and development.
Activity 4 addressed a problem that was tri-fold and centered on the need to improve the delivery of content to students of Arabic, Chinese and Spanish. The issues addressed were:
- The need for remodeling
- The prior room orientation was not conducive to presentations to the entire lab, so there was a need to reorient student stations to face the side wall with the two large displays.
- The existing carpet was stained in many places and becoming detached
- There was a need for new furniture: presentation podiums and media cabinets
- The need for updated hardware
- There was outdated and incomplete technology at student stations: computers were slow and frequently crashed, with18 student stations lacking working computers
- The network was slow, with an outdated operating system
- There was no presentation equipment available for use, with a need for podiums and presentation hardware
- The need to accommodate students of additional languages
- In addition to offering some twenty-five classes in Spanish each semester, over the past three years the Department of Languages and Communications has begun to offer up to five classes of Chinese and four classes of Arabic.
By this final year, Activity 4 has completed the remodeling stage and purchased the targeted hardware and furniture for the student stations and the network and is set to work on the support system. Among the outcomes for Activity 4 include the following:
- University personnel coordinated the remodeling of the site, complete with redirected student stations, new furniture, and new carpeting.
- New technology was purchased, installed and tested, including 40 new 27” iMac computers, three 55” presentation displays, a new server together with new network hardware, and two podiums with presentation technology.
- A three-year subscription for a 50-position license with the online Rosetta Stone Classroom program allowing access to practice all levels of twenty-five languages was purchased.
- Bimonthly lab classes have been scheduled for all Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish second language classes.
- Library lab access has been maintained for students of second languages when classes are not in session.
- A six-station section of the lab is being set up for tutoring and small classes, with a student tutor of Chinese and the Arabic instructor available for tutoring of students in the lab.
- Surveyed faculty satisfaction with both technology and remodeling efforts >90 (N = 8).
- Eighty-eight percent (88%) of students surveyed were very satisfied with the new technology and eighty-one percent (81%) were satisfied with the remodeling (N = 325).
- Student scores for Spanish 1013, 1023 and 2013 (N > 600 per semester) have improved from fifty percent (50%) to sixty-nine percent (69%) on the mandatory digital text, audio and video exercises since before the current efforts of Activity 4.