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LANG always strives to provide the Language Departments and language students with helpful resources to enhance language learning. The projects below, conceptualized and developed by LANG, are examples of resources that can benefit language learning at the university of Toronto.

a) Multimedia Database
(http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/chass/rescentre/multimedia/)
Welcome to the Multimedia Database hosted by CHASS, at the University of Toronto. This database allows users to search through multidisciplinary collections of objects that refer to a multitude of topics and are stored in a variety of digital formats. In technical terms, the database is comprised of metadata only, that is - information on objects, not the objects themselves. Information on objects includes items such as type of object, format, author, copyright holder and location, as well as the object's description. The latter contains a number of keywords, which the search and retrieval engine uses to return to users those objects that match their search criteria. Once the search is completed, the results are returned in a hyperlink format, so that users can call the object(s) directly from their web browser.

The short-term objective in creating a multimedia database at CHASS was to provide our users with an easy way to locate audio and text files used at the Multimedia Centre for Learning in the Humanities for the purpose of language instruction. From the very beginning we were, however, aware of the fact that the concept of a metadata database is much broader, and can be used to store information on, and allow search and retrieval of, objects from any discipline, on any topic, and in any format (as long as the object can be, eventually, accessed via a computer). In this sense the multimedia database resembles a sophisticated library catalogue, with one important difference - the object can be brought to the user's screen, read, viewed and listened to, among other things

b) Toolset/Placement tests:
( http://www.lang.utoronto.ca/pt_prototype/)
LANG received funding from the Provost and the Dean of Arts and Science to design and develop web-based tool sets for online evaluation.

Placement test functionalities:

  • Keep track of student results, both individually and for whole groups, preferably with built-in data analysis and reporting functions
  • Keep track of student's profile while entering a language department (answers to a questionnaire will help in building, over time, a database on students specializing or taking a ‘minor’ in the language departments
  • Produce text entry and multiple choice questions/answers, matching, cloze and short-answer questions using first text and, later, audio, and/or video as a question prompt and as responses (e.g. in multiple choice or matching questions)
  • Will accept voice recordings as responses for short answers and allow archiving of answers in some central, network accessible, location
  • Set response time limits on individual questions or sections of a test
  • In the case of audio/video questions or prompts, allow author control over the number of times an item can be played (limited time for testing, unlimited for practice)
  • Programming will provide combination of some relatively low technological functions common to a number of existing systems
  • Oral comprehension testing that offers text input possibilities
  • Database driven online environment to create, over time, students’ learning profiles
  • User-friendly authoring environment with excellent support for foreign language fonts including activities and testing with audio/video as a question response

Use of the placement test database:

  • Database analysis for statistical purposes: all information should be organized into fields that can be searched, counted and summarized. For example: search all students with OAC French and sort them by score to the placement test or by FSL course they were instructed to register in; compare scores with actual FSL course registered in.
  • Link with student records. Two possibilities here, depending on confidentiality constraints:
    - The grades obtained in a given course are accessed through ROSI and the information used for sorting (access limited to authorized personnel)
    - The grades are added in a field for all students as part of our student profile.

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