Language, Banking, Business, Culture, Politics, Religion, Ethics, Art… It’s All Here

This morning NPR’s Morning Edition offered a introduction in the origins of modern banking and international trade. Basically the Catholic Church said lending money was not allowed so the business people developed a work-around that ultimately funded the Italian Renaissance.  What grabbed my attention was the interdependency of all these areas of thought and how they show up on our campuses as majors and minors.


Discover Languages

Discover Languages® is the national campaign developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to raise awareness about the cognitive, academic, social, cultural and economic benefits that language learning provides our nation’s students. Find out what the research shows about the benefits of language learning.

International Studies Fastest Growing Major at Cofc

The College of Charleston’s new International Studies major is the fastest growing major at the College and will celebrate its first graduates in May 2011. The international studies major, housed in the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, was added to the curriculum in fall 2010 and the number of students declared has grown by 175% in just one semester. Read more…

Indiana University at Bloomington Offers Summer Workshop Language Programs

Please Note: to be considered for Title VIII or FLAS funding, the deadline for the SWSEEL application and all supporting documents is March 21, 2011.

Intensive language training has been offered at the Bloomington campus of Indiana University since 1950. The Summer Workshop provides up to 200 participants in Slavic, East European and Central Asian languages the opportunity to complete a full year of college language instruction during an eight-week summer session.

Utilizing the resources of Indiana University’s own specialists as well as native speakers from other universities and abroad, the Summer Workshop has developed and maintained a national program of the highest quality. Allowing all participants to pay in-state tuition fees, the program has as its goal the enhancement of speaking, reading, listening and writing skills through classroom instruction and a full range of extra-curricular activities. Fellowships and funding are available.

Colorado University Chinese Professor Uses Audacity in the Classroom

This article is available online at

Learning a new language is no easy task. And Jin Chen, an instructor in the Department of Asian Languages, is more than familiar with what it takes. First and foremost, talking in a language class is really important. Learning to speak Chinese requires certain logic in order to demonstrate coherence. Jin explains that she tests her students frequently to make sure they are on the right track.

Recently, she began using Audacity, a voice recording software program, to give her students speaking assignments through CULearn. Every other Friday she uploads four recordings that she has made, along with an associated set of questions that the students are required to answer. In addition, she gives a speaking assignment that requires students to record their own speaking based on patterns she gives them to follow. Students upload their voice recordings on CULearn where Jin then listens to them to provide students with feedback. This takes students about 50 minutes to complete.

Before using Audacity, Jin gave one-on-one tests in person. However, without a teaching assistant, this is quite time consuming. Jin explained that Audacity has allowed her to continue testing at the frequency she wants. And so far, most students have delivered very good speeches in their recordings. She has found that many students enjoy being able to talk on their own time. Jin recalled that in face-to-face testing some students would get intimidated, impacting the quality of their speaking.

Though Jin is pleased with the use of Audacity, there are potential technical problems she has avoided with a few tips and tricks. First, file size is an issue to consider. Student’s can post a file to CULearn that is up to 10 minutes long. However, it is important to convert the Audacity file to MP3 before you upload, which significantly reduces the file size.

To get started off on the right foot, Jin recommends instructors spend the first class day showing students how to download the software and upload a file. It took her about 20 minutes to show her students all of the steps in class. This will help to reduce the number of problems later in the semester. Jin also ensures things go smoothly by giving her students specific instructions of what they should do in case of technical problems.

Tools like Audacity are simple to use and can help language instructors “scale up” their class by providing more opportunities for practice outside of class. If you are interested in examples of language exercises, see the ALTEC website for a list of exercises available in eleven different languages.

You can also find out more about Audacity on their website.

–Written by Amanda Porter, ASSETT Assistant Director

OPIc Evaluations for Graduating Seniors

Graduating Seniors in Spanish and French are required to take the OPIc language proficiency evaluation in order to determine their achieved level of Language proficiency. OPIc stands for Oral Proficiency Interview- computer. We are asking seniors to have their Spanish and French skills evaluated using the OPIc during their final semester before graduation. Seniors will receive an email inviting them to sign up.

For more information, click here.