San Diego State University
About San Diego State University
Funded under Title VI by the U.S. Department of Education, the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) at San Diego State University is one of only fifteen National Language Resource Centers. LARC seeks to develop and support the teaching and learning of foreign languages, particularly less commonly taught languages, through research, technology, and publications.
LARC desired a web-based program for use by military personnel, students, and faculty at SDSU. Ease of use was a key requirement for LARC in that learners often relied on multiple computers to access the program. The Center sought a tool that not only included less commonly taught languages, but that also facilitated content creation by instructors. The LARC was seeking a web-based system that would:
- Enhance quality of instruction and interaction between teachers and students
- Provide ease of access in that users were not limited to accessing the system via the same computer each time
- Track progress and allow teachers to see if students have completed assigned activities
- Allow instructors to easily create content to be shared
- Allow faculty to have access, not just students
Transparent Language's online language-learning system was identified as the ideal solution to meet their needs and goals. It allowed them to present content in a meaningful way and allowed teachers to author their own content.
LARC adopted this program Byki Online in the fall of 2010. Students of San Diego State's Pashtu language program have been using it heavily, accounting for about 70% of the program's usage since implementation. The Japanese language program at San Diego State accounts for the second-highest usage of the system.
San Diego State's Japanese program uses this technology to give students the extra practice they need outside of class sessions to improve their Japanese language skills. For students entering the Japanese program, learning a non-Western language can be an immense challenge between the unfamiliar script and oral pronunciation. Professors in the Japanese program are using the "classes" feature to create sections for their class levels, where they can upload custom content and make that content available to students. By using it to create flashcards from the end-of-unit vocabulary/phrases found in class textbooks and uploading them to the system, students can use this custom content as a resource to help solidify class materials.
Dr. Trevor Shanklin, Director of Lab Operations at SDSU and an avid user, describes the program as "very effective for syncing text and audio" and "a great product, especially when compared to other products and technologies out there." Evan Rubin, Director of Instructional Technology at LARC, adds that "[The technology] and language courses alone will teach you vocabulary, but when coupled together are very powerful."