Language Lab's Web-Based Programs Offer Flexibility

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College undergraduates studying Spanish no longer have to visit the Language Laboratory in Lyons Hall to use audio instruction programs. A pilot project begun last fall makes it possible to access the programs through the World Wide Web in residence halls or other campus locations.

Now, students say they can do assignments in the tutorial, Fuentes Audio, almost any time they wish and often without having to step outside their rooms. As many as 40 have been logging onto the Web site overnight in recent weeks, according to Language Laboratory Director Cynthia Nicholson Bravo, who worked on the project with Interactive Multimedia Lab Assistant Director Scott Kinder.

Freshmen Will Sullivan (foreground) and Nicole Manning use the Web-based audio tutorials in the Language Laboratory. Students can use the program anytime from many locations, including their residence hall rooms. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Project administrators say it offers some exciting prospects for ways technology can enhance Boston College's academic resources.

"I was amazed to find the majority of the class has been using the Web-based version," said Adj. Asst. Prof. Mary-Ellen Kiddle (Romance Languages and Literature), coordinator for intermediate Spanish classes, which are participating in the project. "But it makes sense, when you consider the convenience and that this is a format with which people are increasingly familiar."

Access to the program, which runs with the Quicktime application and has a companion textbook, is restricted to the 585 students enrolled in intermediate Spanish. Users have the choice of working on individual activities within each chapter, or downloading the entire chapter at once. The activities include pronunciation exercises, fill-in-the-blank sentences and completing paragraphs.

Students who have used Fuentes Audio via the Web give it good marks. "I actually found it easier to rewind and fast-forward through the program, because the icon shows you where you are," said Sinead Lynch '02. "It was great to be able to work on it from my own room."

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