Languages Advisory Group – Fall 2012 Meeting

Attending: Julien Weber, Roger Russi, Bettina, Matthias, Marcos Rohena-Madrazo, Stephen Snyder, Brenda Ellis, Adam Franco, Lisa Terrier, Terry Simpkins, Joe Antonioli, Joy Pile (minutes)

1.    Update on the Information Literacy Pilots  – Brenda Ellis began by giving the address go/link (go/infolit), which describes the information literacy initiative at Middlebury and handing out a printout from the site. Currently there are two departments building out the specific set of research skills students are expected to master for graduation – chemistry and the history of art and architecture.  She reiterated the long term goal is to build out information literacy learning goals embedded within each department on campus.

 2.    Update on the changes with the implementation of Moodle 2 Adam Franco demonstrated the few changes/upgrades to Moodle that will be implemented in January. The changes are minor, and in most causes limit the number of “clicks” for several operations – such as adding files to a Moodle site have been decreased. Joy will be updating the Moodle guide ( to reflect the changes.

3.    Update on the Virtual Language Lab  Joe Antonioli explained that this last year, a team invited demonstrations from several vendors for replacement of the old tape driven language labs in Sunderland. The team evaluated several, and was specifically looking for a virtual solution which would not be tied to either a specific space on campus or specific equipment. The group has engaged a vendor and will be running a pilot project this spring, with an eye towards having it fully in place by this summer’s language school.

4.    Demonstration/Discussion of MarkIn Faculty in the German department and the director of the German School abroad have been looking for a piece of software which would assist them in standardizing essay grading, help students see patterns in their mistakes – such as adjective endings, allow the students to understand how to correct their grammatical errors themselves and improve their writing skills. Roger Russi demonstrated how he and several other faculty in the German Department are using MarkIn for that purpose.

Currently, MarkIn uses a Windows platform. It is possible to run the program on a Mac using the Parallels Desktop Program which creates a “second desktop” running the Windows operating system.

LIS purchased 20 seats for this software. Faculty who are interested in using it should contact Lisa Terrier.

If the creators/owners of MarkIn moved the software to a “virtual environment” then machine platform wouldn’t matter. Joy will contact Creative Technology and ask if they have any plans to move the program to a virtual space.

5.    Discussion about etextbooks Terry Simpkins explained that Middlebury was approached by Educause last year and invited to take part in an etexbook pilot with publisher McGraw Hill. Educause and McGraw Hill were interested in adding the participation of a liberal arts college, since most of the usage of etextbooks to date has been by large research institutions. LIS worked with the bookstore to identify faculty using the textbooks offered by McGraw-Hill and contacted those faculty members directly. Terry apologized to any departments who felt that the request to use an etext should have been directed to the department as a whole and to department chairs in particular. LIS doesn’t have any plans at the moment to participate in any more pilot projects – but would do so if there is further interest and would consult more closely with departments before signing on to such an experiment. If LIS were to participate it would be with a project that included multiple textbook publishers so that there would be a broader number of courses/departments participating. Students particularly are hoping for ways to lower their expenses. Depending on the pricing model that publishers use, it is possible that ebooks may be a partial solution to mitigate some of the cost.

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