Eirik Borve Fund for Foreign Language Instruction: 2018 Funded Projects

Providing students of Intermediate Spanish with a subscription to News in Slow Spanish

Project Director: Clara Lipszyc-Arroyo
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

News in Slow Spanish, as the name implies, are newscasts from around the world spoken in a slower than usual pace. Besides being able to listen to real world language and expressions, students have access to a grammar catalog, an expressions catalog, flashcards, written transcripts of the newscasts, explanation of vocabulary, and podcasts that deal with current news stories. With access to News in Slow Spanish, students can listen to native speakers using the language in a real world setting. Students of Spanish will become more fluent in the target language as they have the opportunity to listen to native speakers use “real” Spanish at a slower-than-normal, appropriate language learning level pace. The students’ vocabulary will increase, as will their knowledge of colloquial expressions, and understanding of regional accents. With this betterment of listening skills, their own speaking skills will improve, as their confidence in their abilities also grows.

Continuation of Existing Grant to Help Students of Spanish Create Eportfolios

Project Director: Clara Lipszyc-Arroyo
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

The students of Spanish language courses will be participating in an innovative project as they continue to create eportfolios (electronic portfolios) which they started last year. Electronic portfolios are documents, managed by the students, into which they input text, electronic files, images, multimedia, blog entries, and hyperlinks. These eportfolios are taken by the students to the next course, where they will continue to add material to them. During and after each course, the students can reflect upon their own progression, assess how they’ve improved, and what results they still hope to achieve. Therefore, an eportfolio can be seen as a type of learning record that provides actual evidence of achievement. This will elevate the students’ work as they take ownership of their own portfolios to showcase their linguistic journey. Upon graduating, each student has a digital portfolio, which he/she can edit as wanted, and add to his/her resume to show potential employers his/her fluency in reading, writing, and speaking Spanish. An Instructional Designer from [U]-Tech will dedicate two hours weekly, in the Fall and Spring semesters, to the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures to help students and faculty with electronic portfolios. As well, the students will have access to state of the art animation software.

Deep Learning: An Adaptable Model for Using Neural Machine Translation as a Learning Tool in the Classroom

Project Director: Timothy Beal
Department: Religious Studies

Beal and his collaborators, Justin Barber and Michael Hemenway, will build a neural machine translation (NMT) model in the programming language of Python for translating classic texts, and then build a web application that enables students to create their own translations in conversation with the results (inferences) of the NMT model. The model and application will be based on translation of biblical Hebrew texts, but it will be adaptable to other foreign language corpuses, ancient and contemporary alike. Beal and his collaborators will move from previously built NMT models to a final version, and then build a web application prototype that would put the NMT into interactive “conversation” with student users. Finally, Beal will provide a humanities-friendly tutorial using Google Colaboratory (based on Jupyter notebooks) for adapting the model to other textual corpuses in other languages.

Intersecting Disciplines and DMLL World Languages in Special Topics: The Slow Food Movement

Project Director: Denise Caterinacci
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

This project will pioneer topic-centered overlapping of language courses being taught in DMLL in the fall 2018 semester and in the Department of Nutrition in the School of Medicine. Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and nutrition courses will focus on or feature the worldwide Slow Food movement, emphasizing the prominence of world languages and cultures in this topic, and fostering collaborations. Students and faculty will participate in the worldwide Slow Food summit “Terra Madre”, held in Turin, Italy September 20-24, 2018, and bring those experiences back to share around the campus and greater Cleveland area through various organizations, anticipating many more opportunities in the future.

International French for Specific Purposes Center

Project Director: Fabienne Pizot-Haymore
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

The International French for Specific Purposes Center initiative is based on an international collaboration with the French International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Students taking courses in French for Diplomacy and International Relations and/or Medical French and/or Business French in preparation for the DFP (Diplomas of French for Specific Purposes) will be trained according to pedagogical standards involving innovative uses of computer technologies. After completion of any French for Specific Purposes course, there will be an opportunity for students to have their level of competences evaluated according to the DFP’s internationally recognized standards. Upon passing the DFP exam for their chosen specialization, students will be awarded a Diploma which will increase their international mobility while fostering exchanges between Case Western Reserve University and universities and businesses abroad.

Upgrading Mather House 408 to Become a Technology Enhanced Classroom (Zoom-Room)

Project Director: Paul A. Iversen
Department: Classics

Funding from the Eirik Borve Fund for Foreign Language Instruction will be used to upgrade Mather House 408 – the classroom owned by the Classics Department that is primarily devoted to teaching the Greek, Latin and Akkadian languages – from a traditional chalkboard classroom to a technology enhanced classroom (specifically a Zoom-Room). This will enable instructors and students to use the newly installed large touch-screens like a traditional blackboard while at the same time being able to link these devices to a variety of media, tools and resources beyond the walls of the traditional classroom, including audio recordings of readings of authors such as Homer and Vergil, targeted videos on a point of Greek or Latin grammar, sharing homework in class via Google Docs, and displaying maps or other cultural content.

Japan Experience: Kyoto

Project Director: Yoshiko Kishi
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

“Japan Experience: Kyoto,” a study abroad course in Kyoto, will be the first Japanese study abroad program available as a regular course in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures for students at Case Western Reserve University. Currently, students interested in studying in Japan have to apply to programs offered by other universities. Establishment of a Japanese study abroad program at CWRU will provide easier access to study abroad in Japan coordinated with the curriculum at CWRU with direct academic credit in the CWRU Japanese Studies program. This program will promote innovation in teaching foreign languages utilizing highly contextualized teaching and learning methods with an experience-based focus in native environments. Traditional programs focus on classroom instruction with limited supplemental out-of-class activities, but this program flips the focus to practical learning outcomes derived from experiential and project-based learning activities incorporating local resources and collaboration with native Japanese students.

JAPN 215 The World of Manga

Project Director: Yukiko Nishida
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

Manga (comic books and graphic novels) is one of the most vital assets of contemporary visual culture in Japan. According to the All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association (AJPEA) (2018), its market sales in the form of physical books and digital copies amounted to 433.0 billion yen (about US$ 4.33 billion) in 2017. Manga’s attraction is not only as a form of entertainment, but also as business and a learning text for Japanese language learners. Its increasing demands and interests are reflected on different and limitless scopes and focuses of the manga that are studied at over 65 universities and colleges in the United States. This project will allow us to design and offer a course that introduces the fundamentals of manga, its history, genre, art and social impact, and such. Students will be expected to read a broad genre of manga either in translation or in original texts, and will engage in different types of projects depending on their proficiency levels of Japanese and/or their interests.

Arab Spain

Project Director: Cristian Gomez Olivares
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

Our project is an exploration trip in order to best assess our chances and expectations to create a Study Abroad Program, “Arab Spain”. We want to see first hand the possible accommodations, the class locations and possible sights to visit with the students. However we are familiar with history, culture and geography of Spain, this a quite comprehensive topic that needs a reasonable amount of time allocated, in order to best ascertain which ones are the best possible choices. Additionally, we want to delve in the necessary institutional connections that we need to establish and/or streamline, due to the fact that whatever outcome of this study abroad, something that goes attached with it is the name and prestige of CWRU. Therefore, we want to what could be the more suitable institutions that we would like to work with in order to make this time in Spain a wholesome educational experience.

Continuation of “TalkAbroad” Native Speaker Conversation Partners for DMLL Students

Faculty Sponsor: Alessandra Parry
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

The TalkAbroad online platform provides structured conversation sessions in real-time, with native speakers of many target languages such as Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, German and Portuguese. Students can interact with a variety of native speakers, allowing them to experience different accents, cultural exchanges and colloquialisms. Amazingly, students are instantly immersed in authentic encounters that take them out of the classroom. This service helps students advance in oral proficiency, listening comprehension and cross-cultural exposure. It is a convenient, well-conceived and user-friendly tool available to professors, students, and language enthusiasts.

Foreign Language Instruction through Virtual Archiving & Virtual Exhibits

Project Director: Cheryl Toman
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

There are countless examples of art and oral histories worldwide that are key to the understanding of people and their cultures but they remain inaccessible to most not only because of geographic location but also due to language barriers. Innovative foreign language instruction can expand the reach of virtual collections with students creatively curating virtual exhibits while perfecting their language skills and engaging in the study of the arts and culture. In doing so, students assist in making valuable resources accessible for students, researchers, and the general public. This project within the digital humanities promises to create a prototype for increased access to resources of smaller, typically under-funded cultural heritage organizations, particularly those located in developing countries. For this initial project, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will partner with the Department of Art History and Art and the Bito Museum in Douala, Cameroon to create the first set of multilingual, virtual archives for an online museum accessible to all. The project will then seek to partner with additional institutions anywhere in the world. Virtual resources will be linked to the DMLL website, increasing the global reach of DMLL, ARTH, and CWRU.

Revive and Transform German 308: The Munich Experience

Project Director: Susanne Vees-Gulani
Department: Modern Languages and Literatures

A course in our curriculum focused on short-term study abroad in Germany in early summer, German 308, has not been taught for a decade. Yet we have observed that such classes serve as great experiences for language and culture learning and as a key encouragement to continue language study after the trip abroad. It would help us attract new students as well as serve better our current majors and minors by offering an invaluable immersion experience. I am excited to use the Borve funds to redevelop the course so that we can offer this experience to our students again. Under the heading of German 308, I would like to create a variety of new experiences and opportunities for the students, focused on the city of Dresden. In order to accomplish this goal, I will travel to Dresden this summer for three weeks to explore possibilities for a meaningful course syllabus, including locating instructional spaces, living quarters, immersive study projects, and options for guided tours and learning opportunities, as well as identify possible short research projects, which students could undertake during their stay. The goals of the course are a cultural and language immersion which creates increased language proficiency and a better understanding of German history, culture, and customs. I hope to build a community of learners among students, and grow their attachment to German culture and language, which in turn would serve as motivation to continue language study and to become globally aware citizens.

Developing Language Instructional Materials on Green Culture in China for Chinese Courses

Project Director: Peter Yang
Department:Modern Languages and Literatures

The goal of this project is to enhance the Chinese language instruction by creating and using real life green culture materials in the target language country China. Professor Yang will travel to around 15 most important green culture sites in China, meeting stakeholders involved to discuss related green culture contents. At the beginning of each of these visits, our hosts will be requested to give an overview of their green program’s history, current status, and future plans, as well as challenges and possible solutions. Then our hosts will give a tour of their green facilities. At the end of each of these visits, I will conduct an interview with our hosts to discuss more details of their programs and related questions. All these activities will be videotaped. The valuable video materials as well as their text transcriptions will be transformed into useful instructional material, and eventually also further processed into multimedia materials, for example as addition of captions in Chinese and of exercises. This project will benefit our students in learning Chinese by using pedagogically enhanced, real life language learning materials and environment.