September 1, 2010

Underused University Program Offers News from Around the World

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With international students comprising more than 16 percent of the University and more than 500 undergraduates studying abroad annually, Cornell is an increasingly globalized community. However, few students take advantage of a University program providing international, foreign-language news.Dick Feldman, who heads the Language Resource Center, is pushing his programs more vigorously than ever in the hope of further expanding Cornellians’ international understanding.Foremost among Feldman’s efforts is the promotion of Satellite Communications for Learning Associated, which compiles television news broadcasts from over 100 nations around the world. Due to funding from the Office of the Vice Provost for International Relations, all Cornell students have a free subscription to the site, which provides newscasts ranging from “The Tirana Nightly News,” with updates on Albania’s capital city, to “Entertainment from Rome.”Broadcasts are organized into eight channels: European languages, Spanish and Portuguese, Chinese, Other Asian languages, African, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Eurasian. “Maybe you know some of that language, but do you know what’s happening in that country?” he asked, emphasizing the singularity of the resource. “These programs show local stuff. You’d have to be in the country otherwise to hear it.”The username and password required to access SCOLA are available to any Cornellian who contacts Feldman. SCOLA has been an under-appreciated resource since 1993, when it was beamed to campus via a 10-foot satellite dish attached to the Noyes Lodge. Since then, the program has gone online. Students can now download the broadcast of their choice and watch it whenever they wish. Despite the ease of use, Feldman estimates that only about six language classes and very few students currently make use of the program. However, recent promotions of the program in the Cornell Chronicle have led to a “flurry” of student interest, he said, and he invited all students to e-mail him to gain access to the enormous resource.“One of the main themes of Cornell teaching and learning is international understanding,” he said. “Through the vividness of local television broadcasts, this resource allows direct access to life and issues in these countries.”

Original Author: Eliza LaJoie