Monday, February 3, 2014

Smartphone Journalism by the BBC

The BBC has a series of three videos that highlight best practices when shooting video or stills from an iPhone. View link here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 available now as a New Online Training Resource

The University Human Resources has partnered with the Division of Information Technology and the University Libraries to bring to the university's faculty, staff, and students. is an award-winning industry leader in online training, with a digital library of over 2,300 courses covering a wide range of technical, business, software and creative topics.  The acquisition of lynda is a major institutional commitment that will provide e-learning opportunities for employees as a cornerstone of UHR's new Workplace Learning & Development program, and it places the university on par with most of our CIC (Big 10) peers in making this robust training resource available.

Accessible 24/7 from your desktop or mobile device, visit lynda by logging in through with your university Directory ID and password.  You may watch an entire course, or individual videos--some are as short as four or five minutes. You will be able to bookmark courses that suit your interests, keep track of the courses you have taken, and when you complete a course, lynda will award you with a certificate.  You have the opportunity to refine or develop your professional skills, learn new software, and explore other areas as you plan for your career growth.

Lynda also offers tremendous potential for UMD supervisors and employees to create employee development plans as part of the university's PRD process.  Effective supervisors are committed to developing their staff, and they understand fundamentally that supporting a workplace culture that fosters learning and development requires continuous personal commitment and access to resources. Lynda is one such resource that can have a major impact.

As you work with lynda, we are very interested in your experiences and feedback.  If you would like to use lynda in the PRD process or if you have questions about UHR Workplace Learning & Development, please contact Cyn Trombly Allen, Assistant Director, at, or 301.405.5651. If you need assistance with the lynda login process, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 301.405.1000.

Monday, December 23, 2013

IALLT Fall Journal Highlights

FROM THE IALLT Listserv....
It is my great pleasure to announce the fall issue of volume 43 the IALLT Journal for Language Learning Technologies. ( this issue we present three articles dealing in turn with the format of student recordings in formative assessment of spoken language, the relation between motivation and online opportunities to engage in target language communities, and the role of learner agency and motivation in participating in an online writing course:

Effects of Technology Modes on Ratings of Learner Recordings
Elizabeth (Betsy) Lavolette
While research has investigated the effect of visuals in tests of listening comprehension (e.g., Suvorov, 2009; Wagner, 2008, 2010), student-recorded video for oral formative assessment is relatively unexplored. In this study, I examined 15 teachers’ ratings of speech recorded by 39 ESL learners to see if teachers assess speech differently depending on whether it is presented with visuals. The learners recorded 4 speech samples: 2 with webcams, 2 with microphones only. A third speech condition was created by removing the video track from the webcam recordings, resulting in 3 conditions and 6 samples for each individual. The teachers rated all 6 samples. I used repeated-measures ANOVAs to determine whether the teachers assigned significantly different scores based on the speech conditions. The results showed that the teachers rated the audio stripped from the video significantly higher than the video/audio recordings (p = .004, d = .38). This suggests that teachers may be biased in favor of audio-only recordings and that teachers should not give students an option of making either an audio or video recording for a given formative assessment. Further analyses examined how the students’ and teachers’ preferences for audio-only or video recordings were related to the ratings.

Cultures and Communities in the Virtual World: Beginning the Exploration
Kelsey D. White
Most of today's college students grew up as part of the Net Generation (Cooke-Plagwitz, 2009), and pedagogues may assume that motivated students use technologies outside of class to improve their target language skills. However, little research has been conducted to see how students actually use technology to engage with foreign cultures and communities beyond the classroom setting. This exploratory study draws from both quantitative and qualitative data sets to reveal the ways first-semester students use technology to learn about German-speaking cultures and communities, and using Dörnyei's L2 Motivational Self System (2005 & 2009), also shows how students' out-of-class learning via technology relates to their diverse motivations as language learners. Discussion includes suggestions for exploring cultures and communities through digital tools both within and beyond the classroom setting.

Learner Agency, Motive, and Self-Regulated Learning in an Online ESL Writing Class
Jie Zhang
Online learning has become a viable popular alternative to traditional ESL writing classes over the past decade. However, the effectiveness and validity of online ESL learning remains controversial. Furthermore, most researchers have used surveys to assess student perceptions of online learning. This study presents a case study of two participants in an online ESL writing course at a university in the Northeastern United States. Using activity theory as a framework, I explore what makes a successful learner in an online environment and how learner agency, motive, and self-regulation impact student performance and academic achievement in the online learning context. Data from different sources were collected to provide a triangulated analysis. Results suggest that learners who employ good self-regulation strategies and are motivated to learn and adapt tend to benefit more from the online learning experience, while students who do not employ such strategies and are motivated solely to fulfill a degree requirement are more likely to be frustrated. The results also reveal that the physical distance created by technology could be a challenge for those who do not seek assistance from instructors or peers. In other words, learners need guidance and support on how to be self-motivated and self-directed in the online environment. I also discuss how to effectively design and deliver an online ESL course.

This issue also includes our regular columns. In “Legal Issues & LLT” Judy Shoaf writes about implications of the recent court decision regarding Google’s practice of digitizing millions of printed books. Deanne Cobb-Zigadlo writes about major issues that were discussed online in the LLTI listserv and in Facebook in the “LLTI Highlights” column. And guest columnist Jack Burston contributes to the “Language Learning Technology” column. He presents a case for considering Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) along with the growing numbers of students who bring their own devices (BYOD) when planning updates and replacements for existing computer facilities.

The IALLT Journal publishes praxis-oriented research and review articles addressing the interface of technology with language teaching, learning and/or research. Often, these articles are written in the form of case study ethnographies, quasi-experimental classroom research or emerging technology reviews. Generally, articles are between 6,000 – 12,000 words in length and draw upon relevant research and professional literature in order to present original research findings or offer new insights into existing areas of study.