Archive for August, 2008

Example 8: Auralog Tell-Me-More Speech Recognition Test

2008/08/29 1 comment

How usable is the Auralog Speech Recognition for language learning? This test, by a non-native speaker of English, gives some authentic data points.


The test shows: Auralog Speech Recognition

  1. can be easily tripped up; however, by errors that  a non-native language learner would not normally make
  2. more concerning is that the built-in AI, instead of e.g. escalating to additional feedback or help, like the pronunciation waveforms (which in itself seem to encourage only repeated attempts to mimic a given intonation, while not being fine-grained enough to spot mispronunciations on a word, let alone letter level) – lowers the requirements when a speaker repeatedly fails (which in extreme seems to amount to “waving through” any utterance).
  3. the preset dialogue – only few exercises including wrong answer options, most exercises testing only a comprehensible pronunciation of a given reading text which makes the exercise much easier for the built-in speech recognition, but also much less realistic and useful for a language learner (or more of a reading exercise).

Language Lab Techniques for (Self-)Evaluation and Grading of Student Recordings with Audacity

2008/08/18 2 comments

This quick and dirty (not narrated and uncut: time is money, and storage cheap…) video demonstrates a technique in (the free audio editor) Audacity with which instructors and students can more easily (self-)evaluate parallel recordings from (be it model imitation, question-response, or consecutive interpreting exercises in) the language lab (in this case the output of a Sanako Study1200, which automatically gets stored in a folder on network share):




how to load 10 student files à 5mb = 2:30min (but as a batch, allowing you do something else in the foreground instead of waiting)


how to select a part of the timeline to play


how to move tracks up to more easily work with them and the menu


how to play all tracks simultaneously (choir, normally not very useful for evaluation)


how to play only one track (solo): evaluate & compare

Automating Auralog Tell-Me-More with AutoIt. Presentation at EUROCALL 2008

Auralog Tell-Me-More is a leading language learning software system which provides a vast amount of content in an advanced technical infrastructure that we found lacking in usability within an higher education language learning environment.

AutoIt is a programming language for GUI automation which I used to better integrate the Auralog software into the higher education language learning process, including

  1. programmatic creation of courses and accounts
  2. programmatic extraction and digital repository management for over 30.000 learning units.Click to view a work sample from my portfolio
  3. programmatic creation of 10,000s of learning paths,

Results were presented (screencast) at EUROCALL 2008: “Automating Auralog (pdf)”:

    1. cpurse and account creation

creates 100s of courses , creates and enrols up to 2,000 student accounts every term,

  1. content extraction produces files for adding search and spreadsheet for sort/filter functionality:
  2. learning path creation.

More detailed background information here: plagwitz_auralog_accounts_project_pub.pdf, plagwitz_auralog_project_pub.pdf

e-Learning Centre manual