Travel and Hotel Information --- Conference Registration

Learning Environments for Languages and Cultures


@ Muhlenberg College

PDF of Printed Program


Friday, March 3

3:00-5:00 pm

Language & Culture (LC) Commons


OPTIONAL Workshop ... please sign up with registration if interested.

Built Pedagogies: Planning, Design and Implementation
Luba Iskold & Tom Sciarrino (Muhlenberg College)

Space, whether physical or virtual, can have an impact on learning (Oblinger, 2015). Planning a new space or enhancing the old one can be challenging. This workshop will take place in the newly transformed Language & Culture Commons and will examine the principles and practices of learning space design. The session will consist of three parts: (1) Drawing on the strategies implemented by the presenters, the participants will prepare Needs Assessment Instruments that align with their own objectives. (2) The attendees will be walked through the technologies that “talk to each other” and tie-in our collaborative space: Epson Brightlink Interactive Projector, Smart Kapp boards, Samsung Smart TV, Mirroring 360, Zoom, and Interactive Digital Map. (3) During the hands-on part of the session, the participants will work in small groups to try out the available technologies and brainstorm student activities for their own technology-rich learning environments. Participants may expect to develop their own strategies and ideas for learning space planning and design.


5:30 – 7:30

Hoffman House

RECEPTION (included in Registration)

Address: 325 N. 23rd Street, Allentown PA 18104

Saturday, March 4

8:00 – 8:45



Ettinger Hall, 1st Floor Lobby

9:00 – 9:15




Luba Iskold, Muhlenberg College
Dick Feldman, NEALLT President, Cornell University

9:15 – 9:30





9:30 -10:00

Ettinger 201

First Step in my Intercultural Journey: An Online Experience for Intercultural Communication (presentation)

Elisabeth Arevalo-Guerrero (UMBC)

In a rapidly increasing technological and intercultural world, the need to learn about how to experience and be aware of meaningful interactions across cultures is a must for intercultural educators and trainers. Online teaching and learning modalities can facilitate an alternative venue to find a common space where to share with  each other, reflect, and experience intercultural communication.


Ettinger 211
Web Audio Lab: Platform for Fluency, Pronunciation, Listening and Community

Dick Feldman (Cornell University)

Audio Lab, written by Slava Paperno at Cornell, is a full scale platform for speaking and listening practice, with innovative affordances for student control over their learning as well as community building.  The presentation will demonstrate student environments for several languages, the teacher interface, and survey results. 

The program can be used, and materials developed, by other institutions.
The program has recently been upgraded with multiple new features, including text response by students, multiple video modes, and a unique flash card approach to listening comprehension, where students can choose parts of a passage to focus on, including selective repetition.  Students can upload their own media and commentary for other students.  The authoring interface affords choices by the teacher of practice versus test modes.



10:05 - 10:35

Ettinger 201

Maximizing Language Learning through Telecollaboration in a Discussion Forum

Theresa Schenker (Yale University)

This presentation outlines a telecollaborative project between learners of German using a discussion forum. The 13-week project aims at exploring how language learning in a discussion forum format can be maximized by analyzing the effects of group set-up on the type and amount of interaction that takes place. To that end, different groups were set up in which learners of German at a small university in CT engage in online discussions with either a)learners of German at other US colleges, or b) learners of German across the world, or c) native speakers of German. The purpose is to find out if group set-up affects students’ enjoyment of the telecollaborative exchange, their participation, and language learning. The project is ongoing and preliminary results will be presented.

Ettinger 205

Use of Multimedia Technology in an Innovative Chinese Curriculum

Frances Yufen Lee Mehta (Cornell University)

I adopt only authentic multimedia materials for the Intermediate High Chinese course. To develop confidence in becoming autonomous learners, students are exposed to information designed and used by native speakers.  Implementation of multimedia technology involves each individual’s utmost effort to ensure better use of lexicon, structures, pronunciation, and social-cultural appropriateness.  Working collaboratively helps students  acquire a deeper understanding through creativity and further strengthens community among themselves. Modified oral proficiency interviews and film projects are dynamic ways to effectively extend students’ learning and assess their proficiency. I will address the benefit of integrating oral proficiency interviews and film projects as a holistic way of purposeful learning, and how all Chinese language skills are met while exploring issues occurring in the Chinese speaking regions in the real world.  Preparation process from class activities, brainstorming, plans for the task, post-screening tasks will be discussed.  The result and its effect on learning Chinese will be presented. 



2nd Floor


sponsored by Chester Technical Services, Inc, bringing you ... SANSSpace™ LIVE

SANSSpace™ LIVE offers the virtual language learning platform that connects your students to content, collaboration, and feedback 24/7. And with the Sansspace Mobile App teachers and students can now have access to virtual language lab functionality with real time speak to class, speak to student, pairing, recording, collection of recordings, etc. Record anywhere, anytime, with any device, with any browser. Track students progress with online reports, and set up tutoring or collaboration with Chat.


10:55 – 11:25

Ettinger 103

Enhancing the Study Abroad Experience

Mary Toulouse (Lafayette College)
Katherine Stafford (Lafayette College- Engineers in Spain)

In this presentation, we will report on a Lafayette College initiative to strengthen student connections with its semester-long engineering program in Spain.  Faculty combined mixed technologies--paper news blasts, QR codes, digital-portfolio class and travel blogs-- to bring home and engage the students in the real-life, study abroad experience.


Ettinger 201

Developing Teaching Portfolios: from Paper-based Folder to Web-based Product

Dongdong Chen (Seton Hall University)

Students trained to be language teachers for the K-12 setting often develop portfolios to present their understanding of theories and knowledge of practices. Usually the final product is a paper-based folder, that may contain, among others, resume, teaching philosophy, lesson plans, and teaching activities. While students possess the end product, it cannot be easily shared with potential or future employers. With advanced technology, students are now able to develop dynamic and engaging online portfolios, which can even include videos of teaching demonstration. This presentation reports how pre-service teachers in a graduate program took up the challenges in creating their e-portfolios via the open-source tool Wordpress, and what they eventually accomplished.  In describing the process and the product, we show that the development of electronic portfolios would empower students to think critically, and to reflect on what they have learned.


Ettinger 213

Coding and Languages: Report on Two Initiatives (presentation)

Jeff Ruth (East Stroudsburg University)

I will relay details from a recent and fruitful pair of modest initiatives that marry coding activity with language learning. The first is a small, grant-funded activity in which students with coding skills help develop apps that promote language learning. The second is the creation of a Girls Who Code club on campus, with the purpose of focusing the sample projects in that club toward language learning apps and games. Both initiatives are underway, new and promising. They are a collaborative effort between Modern Languages and Computer Sciences.



11:30 – Noon

Ettinger 201

Study Abroad Integrated Learning: Culture, Media, and Social Movements in Senegal (presentation)

Eileen McEwan (Muhlenberg College)
Paul McEwan (Muhlenberg College)

The presenters will share a short-time study abroad program in which the students learned about the multimedia industry of Senegal (radio, TV, cinema) and the ways in which the hip-hop movement has benefited from digital technology to spread its message of social justice and political change. The students spent the spring 2015 semester studying the history, culture, politics, social movements, and media industries of Senegal prior to traveling to Senegal for 10 days to work with a particular hip-hop group. Their collaboration with this group led to the creation of a new music video produced in French, Wolof, and English.


Ettinger 211

To Blog or Not to Blog: The Use of Blogging in the Russian Heritage Classroom

Svetlana Korshunova (Princeton University)

This presentation will introduce an interpretive case study investigating the use of blogging in the Russian heritage classroom. What benefits does blogging provide to heritage learners of Russian who usually have certain speaking and listening skills but lack reading and writing skills? What are the limitations of blogging as a teaching tool? What are the heritage students’ reflections upon this activity? This study will help us to set up the criteria for an effective use of blogging.


Ettinger 213

Pocket English Bangladeshi Style

Claire Bradin Siskin (English Language Specialist)

A team of professors of English at Daffodil International University (DIU) in Dhaka, Bangladesh is creating language learning apps for smartphones. This project is an effort to provide additional language practice outside the classroom while at the same time reflecting and reinforcing the curriculum in place at DIU. First-year students at DIU have very little access to desktop computers, laptops, or tablet. Almost all the students have Android smartphones, so the decision to develop a smartphone app was a logical one. The team has used the software tool LiveCode to develop the app, which is available free of charge in the Google Play Store. The presenter will demonstrate some of the language learning activities available in the app. If time permits, she will outline the steps involved in developing the app.




3rd Floor



1:00 – 1:30

Ettinger 213

Extensive Reading and Language Centers: A Perfect Match

Elizabeth Lavolette (Gettysburg College)

One of the ways that language centers (LCs) can effectively support language learning while making efficient use of space is to host extensive reading (ER) clubs. Extensive reading (ER) is a technique for language learning in which learners read large quantities of text. The texts are at an easy level to read without a dictionary, and the content is interesting for readers. Both SLA theory (e.g., Krashen, 2015) and empirical research (e.g., Nakanishi, 2015) show the promise of this technique. In this presentation, I will introduce the Japanese ER club that the Gettysburg LC hosts by providing books, ebooks, culturally appropriate snacks, space, equipment, and organizational support. Students in Japanese classes attend as an optional course component, and students no longer taking Japanese classes attend to keep in contact with the language. I will also comment on the ongoing process of organizing Spanish and Chinese ER clubs.


Ettinger 103

Integrated Visual Learning: Using Google Earth to Co-construct Lit Trips

Luba Iskold (Muhlenberg College)
Daniel Cojocaru '18 (Muhlenberg College)

Since their launch in 2005, Google Maps and Google Earth have had an enormous impact on the way we think and learn. Similarly, these tools have grown organically in the niche between literature and media. With easy access to spatial and cultural information, Google Earth is appealing to instructors for its ability to populate maps with “objects” that aim at enhancing student motivation and, at the same time, scaffolding learning. While there is lack of empirical evidence, many educators argue that literary trips built with Google Earth allow learners to relate to text in a more personalized and meaningful way. The presenter will discuss the benefits, as well as the challenges, of a virtual exploration co-constructed by students to connect in time and space to the events described by Svetlana Alexievich (Nobel Prize in Literature, 2015) in her highly praised oral history Voices from Chernobyl. Examples of student work will be provided in English.


Ettinger 201 From Special Collections to Twitter: Library and Social Media as Laboratory for Becoming a Citizen of the World (presentation)

Sophie Degât-Willis (University of Pennsylvania)
Vickie Karasic (University of Pennsylvania/Penn Libraries)

Part of learning another language involves becoming a citizen of the world. Increasingly, social media is being used as a vehicle not only to follow cultural trends, but also to connect students with resources in their target language. In a “French in the World” course, such resources become critical to explore how French is spoken across the continents. This project involves a movement from the print to the digital and social in tracking the evolution of the French language. Using library resources, students explore Francophone language and culture, collecting their discoveries on Twitter, where they also “follow” key Francophone organizations. The library – as a hub for teaching, learning, and technology – is uniquely positioned to strengthen students’ relationships with both print and digital resources by incorporating research and technology best practices into the course. With this project, students engage their learning of French language and culture beyond the classroom.



1:35 – 2:05

Ettinger 107

Virtual Exploration:  Learning Geography and Topography Vocabulary in Spanish

Christine Fernández (United States Military Academy)

This presentation illustrates how various Web 2.0 applications are currently used to teach geography and topography for L2 learners in Spanish.  The use of Google apps, such as My Maps and Google Maps, allows L2 learners at the United States Military Academy to familiarize themselves with vocabulary and the spatial orientation of Latin American geography and topography in a recently revitalized Spanish American Civilization and Culture course.  This presentation will also include sample flipped learning assignments, which along with the United States Military Academy’s own pedagogical approach, the Thayer Concept, helps facilitate L2 learners acquire vocabulary, culture, and become autonomous learners by virtually exploring and applying previously read cultural background knowledge.


Ettinger 211

Digging Technology or Ditching it: Considerations on Student Speaking Time in the Language Classroom

Daniela Viale (Muhlenberg College)

If we assume that the instructor is a valuable source of comprehensible input in the target language, that the instructor’s speech is not to be frowned upon but to be utilized intelligently and in moderation, and that comprehensible input is an absolute necessity for learning a second language, then the question still remains: how do we maximize student speaking time (SST) in the classroom? I argue that SST can be enhanced in many cases thanks to a judicious use of technology, while in other cases it will be enhanced precisely by doing the opposite: by avoiding the use of technology. I will showcase a few communicative activities that I have designed and implemented, and focus on how they either benefited from the use of technology (simultaneous screens; google maps; text messaging) or benefited from the absence of technology.

Ettinger 105

The Language Resource Center's Role in Assessing Proficiency
Michael Stone (Seton Hall University)

The presenter will review some of the methods and tools for testing language proficiency such as the use of national and international benchmark data, speech contests and student portfolios, evaluating audio recordings and the use of audio-drop boxes, interactions between students and native speakers, and OPI-style testing. Research regarding the use of authentic language materials and rubrics to rate communication skills and comprehension will also be covered. The program will conclude with a discussion of the barriers and challenges to implementing assessment strategies across different languages within a department. These issues include balancing academic freedom versus the need for consistent quality throughout an academic institution. The presenter will facilitate a group discussion on how to develop a coherent strategy for evaluating students’ progress which acknowledges the fundamentally different character of various language groups and how to address potential faculty resistance. Other complexities include integrating part-time instructors into an assessment program.



2nd Floor


sponsored by Chester Technical Services, Inc


2:25 – 2:55

Ettinger 103

Mapping the Italian Renaissance Epic

Daniel Leisawitz (Muhlenberg College)

I will  present my work on a digital humanities project which seeks to analyze Ludovico Arioso's 16th-century masterpiece, the Orlando Furioso, through the use of digitally annotated text and digital mapping technology.  I am attempting to build a digital tool to explore and analyze the modalities, patterns, and characteristics of travel in this sprawling work of the early modern imagination. By mapping characters' journeys onto a map contemporary to the writing of the poem (M. Waldseemüller's Universalis Cosmographia, 1507)  I hope to allow users to re-conceive of the world as Ariosto and other European humanists were imagining it during the first half of the 1500s – an age which saw the explosion of common beliefs about the size and shape of the earth, which had been accepted as fact since the astronomers of Ancient Greece.  In other words, this project attempts to allow users a glimpse at the worldview of an early-16th-century Italian poet through the use of 21st-century digital technology.

Ettinger 108

Video Essays - A Flexible Vehicle for Student Analysis of Media Content

Michael Jones (Swarthmore College)

We were asked by several Professors to facilitate student analysis of course Media content using media tools. The assignments have typically asked students to create a 5-minute video essay elaborating or responding creatively to a key theoretical point made in a course reading (through text, image, sound, annotation) using video/images captured from a film or television show from class.  The assignment has proven popular and adaptive to a wide variety of classes and content.



3:00 – 3:30

Ettinger 201

Flipping the Classroom with Computer Mediated Tools

Geraldine Lebaudy (University of Pennsylvania)

This session will demonstrate ways of using computer mediated tools in Canvas to flip the classroom and thus maximize class time.   I will show examples of lesson plans and content units of an Advanced Conversation course in the context of Business Spanish that integrate Canvas quizzes and Canvas Voicethread voice-over powerpoints that  prepare students outside of the classroom (examples can be applied to other Advanced Language courses as well).  I will show how these tasks expose students to language, abstract concepts, authentic cases and current events, thereby  providing students with opportunities for improved preparation and understanding of course materials, fostering cross cultural awareness,  critical thinking skills, and connections with other fields.  Finally, the presenter will share students’ feedback that seem to confirm that these computer- mediated tools have helped them develop language and cultural competencies, including accuracy, understanding, and self confidence.


Ettinger 213

Exploring the Effect of Tolerance of Ambiguity on L2 Listening Comprehension

Alba Fano-Trabanco (University of Delaware)

In-class listening activities are generally one of the most stressful tasks for students. Many students feel discouraged if they do not understand every single word. For this reason, they disengage from the listening activities very easily. Focusing on the concept of tolerance for ambiguity (TA)—which refers to the degree of acceptance of uncertainty—the present study investigates the way in which students tackle listening activities and whether their level of tolerance for ambiguity has an impact on their listening comprehension. The study was carried out following an explanatory mixed-method research design, and was experimental since a group comparison analysis was used to identify the effectiveness of a listening model specifically designed to increase the students’ level of TA. The experimental group was trained to develop listening comprehension strategies aimed at increasing their level of TA, whereas the control group was exposed to regular listening instruction based on comprehension checks.



3:35 – 4:05

Ettinger 205

Minding | Mending the Holes

Melanie Peron (University of Pennsylvania)

This presentation discusses a course that explores the dark years of the French Collaboration and the holes it left in the national memory. To deepen their comprehension and engagement, the students created characters who lived during the time period and wrote their memoirs. The narrative combined traditional fiction and experimental writings under constraints. The interweaving of the different structures aimed at representing the holed memory. It was written on a blog before being turned into a printed text. As a final project, students completed Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas with their own digital panel called “Ghosts.” These technology-mediated projects enabled the students to weave connections between there and here, then and today but also between the other and I. What started as a linguistic and cultural project quickly turned into a means to motivate positive personal and social change. The presenter will also discuss her project of an interactive digital map of occupied Paris.

Ettinger 103

Language Center Tasks and Training: Student Workers’ Voices

Angela Pegarella (Gettysburg College)
Betsy Lavolette (Gettysburg College)

Undergraduate student workers are the largest group in the workforce of many language centers (LCs), and they are often the first employees encountered when entering a LC (Parkhurst, 2003). However, little has been written about LC student workers, and their own voices are rare in the literature (cf. Fujishima, 2015). The importance of LC student staff interaction with LC stakeholders is one impetus for effective and efficient training, and we hope to discover suggestions for achieving this.

The current project, a collaboration between a LC director and an undergraduate student worker, explores the role of student workers in their own words, with a focus on their tasks and how they are trained. The first author conducted exploratory interviews with LC student workers at institutions of various sizes. Based on a thematic analysis of the interviews, the authors are developing a questionnaire for wider distribution and invite audience feedback on it.


4:10 - 5:10


Moyer Hall
Miller Forum


Embracing Hybridity in (Language) Learning Space Design

Felix A. Kronenberg (Rhodes College)

(light refreshments will be served)


Language & Culture (LC) Commons

Luba Iskold, Fulvia Alderiso, Daniel Cojocaru, Miranta Louka and Dylan Ahston



7:00 – 9:00

DINNER @ Dime (requires extra registration)


Sunday, March 5

9:00 – 9:30

Light Lounge in Seegers Union


9:30 – 10:30

Seegers Union 111

Learning Space Trends (presentation)

Michael Jones (Swarthmore College)
Luba Iskold (Muhlenberg College)
Felix A. Kronenberg (Rhodes College)




10:30 – 11:30

Seegers Union 111

Increasing LC Visibility: Building Partnerships on Campus
Moderator: Luba Iskold (Muhlenberg College)
Monica Cocca (Muhlenberg College)
Fulvia Alderiso (Muhlenberg College)
Tom Sciarrino (Muhlenberg College)
Jenna Azar (Muhlenberg College)

Once the LC space has been transformed, how do we make sure it contributes to the College’s objectives of global learning and international education? Who knows about this space and how do students, faculty, and staff from across the campus use it? This panel will discuss LC Commons partnerships with Academic Resource Center, OIT, Digital Learning Team, Trexler Library, Office of International Recruitment and Support, and other departments. The panelists will present examples of collaborative work they have already done in the newly transformed space and will discuss ways to move forward. Attendees are encouraged to participate in discussion.

11:30 – Noon

Seegers Union 111

Your Turn ... question and discussion period


Seegers Union 109


Noon – 1:00

Seegers Union 109

LUNCH (requires extra registration)