Saturday, May 17, 2014

A national language studies portal for Australian universities

Funding has been awarded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) for a new and significant national project to four leading scholars in partnership with the Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU).

A national Languages Portal will be created as the key outcome of this project. This will improve access to languages at tertiary level for all students around the country. The Languages Portal will make visible in a single online location all languages taught at all Australian universities, ranging from Indigenous Australian languages to global languages, from semester-long courses to full degree programs, and via a number of delivery methods.

In addition to improving access to information for students, the Languages Portal project will create greater co-operation across universities. A trial consortium will also be established to negotiate and facilitate the process of cross-institutional enrolment, as well as to share advanced language studies courses and courses in lesser-taught languages — through joint on-campus and online teaching.

The project is being undertaken by four scholars and LCNAU members across three universities — Professor Jane Simpson and Professor Catherine Travis (Australian National University), Professor Martina Möllering (Macquarie University) and Professor John Hajek (The University of Melbourne - and President, LCNAU). It will be carried out in partnership with LCNAU in order to develop, maintain and disseminate the Languages Portal.

ANU Language Teaching Forum

Wednesday 21 May 2014, 4.15 – 5.15 pm
Portuguese Online – a complex enterprise between Indiana and ANU
Dr Vânia Castro, Indiana University, USA and Dr. Carlos Pio, SLLL, ANU

ANU’s recent decision to start offering Portuguese as an elective course in collaboration with Indiana University (USA) proved very successful, but quite challenging. Delivered online and in real time by a course convener (Dr. Castro) based in the US mid-west to students in Australia, the course planning and delivery required profound coordination of a significant time difference between Bloomington and Canberra, the choice of a software fully compatible with both universities’ IT systems and logistics, in-class monitoring and tutoring as well as adjustments in calendars and marking frameworks between ANU and IU. It has also required a great deal of flexibility and agile improvising to handle last minute IT instability or failures.

Wednesday 4 June 2014, 4.15 – 5.15 pm
The Off-line Revolution?! – Using ePubs for content delivery
Dr McComas Taylor, College of Asia & the Pacific, ANU

Teaching on-line has certainly revolutionised content delivery, opening up many wonderful possibilities. It enables course conveners to be more flexible, expand their student bases, increase enrolments and bring delight to Deans and Directors. Online is definitely the flavour of the month and many parts of the university are under pressure to expand their programs in this direction. But how far can we push it? After five years of intensive online development, I hit five seemingly insurmountable barriers. As a result, with the collaboration of Grazia Scotellaro, I have now moved all my content off-line into an electronic publication entitled, ‘The Joy of Sanskrit’, freely available through ANU ePress,thereby solving my five big problems. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with you

Both the above talks will be held in Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU

The ANU Language Teaching Forum is forum is jointly coordinated by the College of Arts & Social Sciences (the School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics and the Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies) and the College of Asia & the Pacific (the School of Culture, History & Language). To join emailing list, contact

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Canberra Region Languages Forum Update May 2014

The May Update includes the following items:
  • Call for support for community radio, which is in danger of losing  federal funding in the upcoming budget
  • Plans for a training course for community interpreters
  • Languages Potluck, Sunday 18 May, 11am – 1pm
  • Talks to parent groups to help promote language learning and to support home languages
  • Applications now open for Participation (Multicultural) Grants Program
  • Other items from the May ACT Bilingual Education Alliance Update
    • Vacancies in after-school Mandarin class in Belconnen 
    • Filipino Language School Fun Day (Sunday 18 May, 2 - 4pm)
    • Using community radio to support and encourage bilingualism in the ACT region
    • Friday night 2XX Mandarin language program, children’s stories and songs and a chance for kids to hear themselves singing or speaking Mandarin on air
    • News from bilingual programs in the ACT: Mawson Primary School (Mandarin), Yarralumla Primary School (Italian),  St Nicholas Greek-Australia preschool and childcare centre (Greek)
For full details CLICK here 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Help protect community broadcasting

One of proposals of the Prime Minister's National Commission of Audit will reduce funding for Community radio, which in the ACT includes 2XX, CMS, Artsound and 1RPH.

As pointed out in the May Update of the ACT Bilingual Education Alliance (see previous post), broadcasts in other languages on community radio can help promote language maintenance and language learning in Australia. Ethnic and multicultural broadcasters also play a major role in Australia by linking new migrants and established communities with each other, their cultures, and the nation, as well as providing information about government services and events.

Community broadcasting acts as a ‘third sector’ media and is extremely cost effective. The small financial support from the federal government helps sustain the sector; reducing this support would have disastrous effects.

To show your support for community radio, you can

ACT Bilingual Education Alliance (ACTBEA) Update May 2014

CLICK HERE for more information about the following items:
  • Languages potluck in Canberra, Sunday 18 May, 11am-1pm
  • Talks to parent groups about the benefits of bilingualism and language learning
  • Vacancies in Tuesday after-school Mandarin class with the Mandarin for Fun group
  • Filipino Language School Fun Day (Sunday 18 May, 2 - 4pm)
  • A chance to contribute to the future of the annual multicultural festival (6-8:30pm Monday 5th May 2014)
  • Why not use community radio to support and encourage bilingualism in the ACT region?
  • News from bilingual programs in the ACT: Mawson Primary School (Mandarin), Yarralumla Primary School (Italian), St Nicholas Greek-Australia preschool and childcare centre (Greek)
  • Applications now open for 2014-15 participation (multicultural) grants.