Posts Tagged ‘oral-exams’

How to run a microphone test before taking an ACTFL exam on

  1. To avoid having your test recordings rejected for quality reasons (and having to take the entire test again), please run this simple microphone test OUTSIDE of 
    1. This microphone test can be run  either
      1. at the listening stations (see sign 433a, brown headsets) or
      2. (PREFERABLY) in the main classroom (see sign 434, black headsets).
    2. After logging in, put the headphones on. No need to re-plug anything.
    3. From the desktop, open Audacity  image.
    4. In Audacity, Press the red RECORD button image.
    5. Speak into the microphone.
    6. Check the results:
      1. You should see something like this: image
      2. Press the green PLAY button image and listen to your recording.
      3. Does the recording look AND sound OK?
        1. NO: let the LRC staff at the reception desk know the computer number and switch computers.
        2. Yes: Save the recording using menu: File / Export / [name = number of computer].mp3 to your “my documents” folder (if your test gets rejected, you have evidence that you ran the test and that the LRC headset hardware you used was o.k.).
  2. You also need to run the test WITHIN (which just tests for volume, not for quality).

Sanako recording during pairing won’t work

  1. Now: Records one party only – bad if you have to find this out only after an exam… You can see this in the graph here – low audio is partner speaking, and not audible: image and hear it yourself on campus here: "S:\coas\lcs\lrc\sanako\student\8-7-2013_2-35-18_PM ELTI level 2 final pair\Group A5 (falothma, maldubai)_sent.MP3"
  2. Then (example of how it is supposed to sound): "S:\COAS\LCS\LRC\sanako\student\2013-02-27 14_13-pair-no-names\Group B4 (LXCOED434-PC36, LXCOED434-PC17)_sent.MP3": image
  3. workaround: Instead of being able to default to mp3 format, as we used to, the teacher now has to save the audio of pairing activites in a Sanako proprietary format (MIFF) and, including the students, play it back with the Sanako prpoprietary player. If the teacher does not remember to change the format from the default MP3 to MIFF for pairing exercise recordings, the teacher (and students) will lose the assessment materials of half the class (and likely not find this out until when the files get opened for grading).

Protected: Continued bandwidth issues in the LRC?

2013/04/16 Enter your password to view comments.

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How a teacher can adapt a Sanako teacher-controlled class recording activity for individual student recordings

  1. Pedagogical need:
    1. A teacher wants her students to record a presentation,
    2. but allow the students to move around freely in their recording afterwards, when evaluating it, and submit the best out of 3 tries:
  2. Technical implementation:
    1. Using Sanako activity:model imitation of differing for multiple groups
      1. offers maximum control, least flexibility: students have to speak their presentation linearly
      2. if you anticipate presentations of considerably different lengths
        1. first try asking your students – might be useful to them anyway to realize if theirs turns out to be much shorter than others,
        2. if students are unsure about the length of their presentation,
          1. conduct the first recording with the entire class and
          2. have students note what time their recorder time counter is at when they finish, and send you the time as text via the button:envelope
          3. group your students (grouping step-by-step) into Sessions A-F by incrementing  time according to what the student icon bubble shows
        3. then differentiate class into as many groups as necessary (if <= the 6 “sessions”A-F  Sanako Study 1200 offers) end the recording at a different time for each group
      3. for each group (one or more up to 6),
        1. choose from dropdown activity:  model imitation recording
          1. and from dropdown: source: none) with more than one group at a time,
          2. and (optionally) for not more than one group at a time (suggest choosing the biggest group for that) from (dropdown: source: file )  the  background noise to play
        2. and after each group’s allocated time (+ buffer) is up,
        3. press button:end to end the recording
        4. after collection of the recordings from students is finished, you can
        5. press button:replay image, to let each student listen to her recording (linearly, without control), and
        6. press button:free image, to let  students freely move back and forth on the timeline)
        7. eventually, press button: clear, to be ready:
      4. for tries 2 and 3: repeat above steps.
    2. using Sanako activity: self access:
      1. provides
        1. the teacher some  control (none over this turning into more of an editing than coherent language practice exercise),
        2. and students more flexibility (hence requiring prior recording training for students);
      2. students individually
        1. record
        2. move around freely in the file
        3. replay
        4. record over prior footage and/or start completely over  (menu: File / new)
        5. press button:envelope to text message the teacher that they are finished and want their (final )  recording to be collected by the teacher
      3. teacher
        1. moves signaling students into a group  (grouping step-by-step) that is
          1. dedicated for collecting recordings (TBA:does this not empty their buffer?)
          2. and button:pc control: locked (= no further or accidental changes)
        2. once an appropriate  (compromise between finished students wanting to leave and teacher not having to collect each recording individually) number of students have been added to this group, presses
          1. button: end to collect and
          2. button: clear session to clear the button
        3. assesses the recordings in the folder that opens with audacity;
          1. in case of problems, moves students  back to the group dedicated to recording
          2. else lets students leave

LRC offers generating audio files from your foreign language texts

2013/03/01 2 comments
  1. Would you like to expose your student to L2 listening materials beyond the audio learning materials that come with your textbook?
    1. Materials customized to the learning needs of your classes? From current affairs maybe?
    2. Would you prefer no to send them to  internet audio that may be difficult and time consuming to integrate?
    3. Do you lack the time to record speaking cues, oral exam questions or reading models yourself?
    4. Do you need audio files that you and your students can rewind/fast forward/replay, edit and record into with voice insert?
    5. And would you prefer using audio in your classes that comes with aligned text, whether that audio that has been transcribed or vice versa, to create glossaries,  captions,  multimedia assignments?
  2. The LRC now offers generating audio files from your foreign language texts in many languages.
    1. The service is based on the quality voices of Google Translate text-to-speech (better (simpler) than its actual translation portion, let alone its naïve use).
    2. Unlike Google translate, the service persists longer than 100 character texts to audio files (mp3) that (and the underlying digital text) we can work with further, in your syllabus, the LMS and the digital audio lab.
    3. Technical background and samples.
    4. Languages that are available in good quality: See links under this post;  other languages: please test with me..
  3. To request an audio file generation for your class, send the following information to the LRC
    1. regular reading/listening materials: plain digital text should do;
    2. SANAKO oral exam cues: please enter the text in this MS-Word table and add information in the additional columns for exam customization.

Protected: Slides for ARBC1201 Oral Exam

2012/11/28 Enter your password to view comments.

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A classroom-management-system-based emporium to improve tutoring support for Hybrid Spanish students

  1. [T]o bridge the gap between students’ demand for introductory Spanish courses and adequately staffing”, UNC-Charlotte – using, among others, a UNC-Chapel Hill pilot as a model, which, however, served a different student population and was soon faded out again – introduced a hybrid model for 1st year Spanish:
  2. Weekly contact hours were cut in half (effectively doubling student numbers per teacher ) ,
  3. and attempted to be replaced by more extensive assignment of homework exercises/quizzes from the online textbook component
    1. for lack of own technical resources (p.54), not that the components were designed for a hybrid purpose – but always nice to see language teachers adopt technology for ROI in creative ways when they have to.
    2. for the same reason of incapability of “adequately staffing”, so that teachers do not have to operate the computers, only those activities from the  online components were chosen that could be automatically graded (while the continued reliance of online quizzes on right/wrong black/white schemes instead of at least considering editing distance (maybe reasonably also for foreign language diacritics), not to mention attempts on a truly semantic understanding of student input, makes one wonder if this subset of assignments could effectively and should be left to auto grading).
  4. and other, auxiliary syllabus guidelines, like:
    1. taking more advantage of the online textbook component for
      1. heavier formative testing
      2. outcome testing
    2. requiring “oral testing administered two or three times a semester” (p.46, 64)
    3. increased focus on taking advantage of contact hours by communicating, what is now often deemed flipped classroom pedagogy and used to be called homework preparation
  5. tutoring,  for students that could not handle the cut in face-to-face time with teacher (note, tutors were from the grad student teacher pool – not all teachers were grad students)
    1. face-to-face:
    2. online, during off-hours (weekends):
      1. seems a welcome extension, and a convenient time-saver
      2. however,  little adoption
      3. additionally, hindered by a technology change from Wimba to Centra.
    3. also hybrid? The LRC
      1. could be host to an emporium like Virginia Tech’s: computerized for access to online assignments, but under tutor guidance;
      2. could provide the Sanako classroom management and digital audio lab system for making this learning experience even ore efficient. The tutor on teacher station can monitor many students (simultaneously or automatically cycling through student stations at an interval of choice, while stopping interactively where desired) via screen sharing. Interact with any student computer via remote control, with the student over headphones, without disrupting,
      3. easily escalate presentation of tutor or model student screen and audio discussion of endemic problems to either student group as a whole or subset (meaningful as long as 2 or more students overlap in their assignment activity and have similar issues) via the Sanako – and of course also use the classroom projector.
  6. Hybrid Spanish clearly constitutes a radical program change, dictated by shortness of funds and requiring measures to efficiency and effectiveness of instruction, upholding of standards, and management of attrition.

How to conduct a Sanako Study 1200 functionality test before oral exams

  1. Why? Before high-stakes oral assessments, it is best practice to test the functionality of all computers in the digital audio lab.
  2. How?
    1. Log into 2 computers with your own account (these will serve as a backup computers. Should you need backup computers later, there will be no delay waiting for them to start up and become operational).
    2. Change Sanako classroom layout names to computer or position name (whatever makes it easier for you to identify any non-functioning machines).
    3. If you are doing this for a first time with a class, load your test exam audio into Audacity and display the voice graph to students on a projector. This way you make sure that students  understand from the voice graph that they are supposed to
      1. hear an instruction over the headphones and
      2. respond to the instruction by saying their names into their microphones.
    4. Perform a name-test recording using Sanako activity:”Model imitation”and examine the results:
      1. Make sure the Sanako collection folder opens – meaning all student recordings could be collected. If not, identify the offending positions from the Sanako collection dialogue and open the folder with the remaining collected recordings manually from the Sanako collection dialogue
      2. Drag the recorded files into an empty Audacity window and examine the collected recordings visually, plus, where in doubt, aurally, by clicking “solo” and play on the track in question.
    5. React accordingly:
      1. If some positions show problems, move students to one of the backup machines that you logged into earlier.
      2. move backup machines not needed to a different session by right-clicking on their classroom layout icon.
      3. if more than one backup machine is indeed needed, Sanako – since it is you who are logged in on both – will ask you later for permission to number collected files for duplicate students sequentially. Allow that and rename the files manually.
    6. Don’t forget to change Sanako classroom layout names back to student login name. image. Or else here is how you can later recover student recordings by student login names.