Homework may get easier for introductory language students, as course materials once only available at Noyes Lodge on North Campus are being transferred to the Internet.
Since fall 2001, under the supervision of Noyes media development manager Dan Gaibel, audio and audiovisual materials have been steadily transferred to a web site devoted to the project.
According to Richard Feldman, director of the Language Resource Center at Noyes Lodge and a member of the project team, language lab assignments for first-year courses in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic are available on the site, along with much of the course work for introductory Chinese language courses.
“We have thousands of series [of tapes] in all,”said Feldman, “We have worked on the most commonly used series first … by the end of this semester, about half our total usage will be available on the Web. Cornell teaches more than 50 languages of various types, so our collection is very broad and deep.”
The focus has shifted now to materials in Burmese, Korean, Portuguese, and Japanese.
“The Noyes Language Center has been very helpful in digitizing materials,” said Eleanor Dozier, associate chair for language instruction and a lecturer for introductory Spanish courses. She added that “preparing web sites to make these materials available to students in a format that is customized for the needs of the course” will be an asset to the University’s language program.
Special projects have also been a priority for the web site team. One example cited by Dozier is the placement of “digitized videotaped storytelling segments,” on the Internet, in addition to vocabulary and transcriptions of the stories, allowing students to “manage their development of listening transcription at their own pace.”
Feldman and Dozier agreed that students benefited from the transfer of materials to the Internet.
“Teachers report students are more enthusiastic about doing their media homework,” said Feldman, “and they find that students have better speaking abilities as a result. No more trudging to the lab.”
“Everything worked fine,” said David Rand ’04, a student of introductory Italian, “and it was good that we didn’t have to go to the language lab.”
Rand expressed relief at the easy access to the assignments available on the Internet, the bulk of which were listening passages.
Feldman confirmed that, while much of the material has been moved to the web site for home access, the lab at Noyes Lodge is still available and operating as always.
“Students without good computer facilities or [Internet] connection of their own can always come in and use our facilities,” said Feldman. “The lab is quiet, with sound-muffling carrels [and] all the traditional series are also available on cassettes for those who prefer them.”
For more information, students should consult the web site at: http://lrc.cornell.edu.
Archived article by Stacy Williams