Language Learning Center relocates

By Dmitri Bulgakov


The Language Learning Center (LLC) moved last week from Mosley Hall to University Hall, where they have more room and more services.

The lab is comprised of a computerized multimedia classroom, a video viewing area, and a listening center.

“This is a part of the renovation project,” Ron Skulas, the director of the lab, said. When hired in September 2001, Skulas was assigned with writing a grant to get the new LLC, because the old one was out of date, still using some equipment from the 1960s and 1970s. “We need a new [lab],” Skulas said. “So I wrote a grant. It was $90,000, and I have got it.”

“If this project would have been proposed six months later, it wouldn’t have happened because of the budget crunch,” Skulas said. “It is not going to happen any more. We have got this. We would make [the lab] last, and we would keep improving it as we can.”

Apart from the grant money spent on infrastructure, like software and hardware, the University gave $147,000 to renovate the lab’s three rooms, 302-304 in University Hall.

Already a popular place among the language learners, now the language lab is becoming more important as more and more foreign language classes are scheduled to take place in the lab. “The LLC affords an environment and the technology for creative language learning in all models and permits group and individual work on authentic materials that were previously available only in print,” said Timothy Pogacar, chairman department of German, Russian and East Asian Languages. “It also enhances the efficiency of class time.”

One of the main advantages of the current LLC is that it is very well technologically equipped, according to Skulas.

“The listening center was like the old language lab, where the kids were coming and getting tapes,” Skulas said. “Now they come in, log in, they go to our Web server. And everything is being digitized. So they have MP3 quality sound, we do not worry about returning tapes, tapes being rewound or wearing out or breaking or anything.”

But teachers will probably receive the most benefit from the new capabilities of the lab.

“Sophisticated materials sharing is possible for the first time,” Pogacar said about the new lab. “Students can respond to recording or written material available on the LLC server, and the instructor can access their work without having to leave her or his office.”

“[The LLC] can be a very useful tool in a language education, very important supplement one-on-one tutorial,” Spanish teacher Nathan Richardson said. “Though it is not a substitute to work in a classroom — language is a social experience.”

The lab is open Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.