(June 12, 2013) -- Students at The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) soon will be able to enroll in critical language classes such as Portuguese, Russian and Japanese thanks to a telecollaboration supported by a new University of Texas System grant.
The Institute for Transformational Learning grant will provide $204,903 for UT Arlington's Critical Languages and Cultures partnership with UTSA. The money will fund faculty and teaching, instructional and technical support, administrative coordination and international partnerships between the two UT System institutions and universities abroad.
"We are honored that our project was chosen to receive this grant," said Pete Smith, UT Arlington vice provost for digital teaching and learning. "The committee that selected us had impressive and innovative proposals from across the UT System to consider."
Sunay Palsole, UTSA associate vice provost for education technology called both UTSA's role and the collaboration with UT Arlington significant.
"It shows how we can leverage technology and available faculty expertise at both universities to provide an expanded educational opportunity to our students," Palsole said.
Factors that weighed heavily in UT Arlington and UTSA's favor include the strength of their Modern Languages programs, as well as their proven track records to use educational technology to teach language and culture. Among other things, the Institute for Transformational Learning National Advisory Council also considered whether the program would be sustainable over time.
Smith said the Critical Languages and Cultures partnership is expected to enhance the already rapid growth in enrollments for the less-commonly taught languages that are so important to government, business and industry in the 21st century.
Steven Mintz, executive director of The Institute for Transformational Learning, called UT Arlington and UTSA "pioneers" and "pacesetters" in the development of innovative approaches to foreign languages instruction.
"Just because a foreign language is less commonly taught does not mean that it is any less important in preparing students to become global citizens," Mintz said. "I believe that this investment is only the first step in ensuring that college students across Texas will have ready access to instruction in an expanding range of languages of critical importance."
Beginning this fall, both UT Arlington and UTSA will utilize Blackboard Learn and other technologies to deliver the courses as live or synchronous sessions. Both campuses already are equipped to support beginning-level language classes via digital videoconferencing classrooms. Available technology on both campuses also will allow the schools to link language learners and faculty in Texas with international partner institutions for team teaching by recognized international faculty in the country being studied.
UT Arlington does not currently offer instruction in Japanese language and culture. Through the partnership, UTSA will provide basic courses to UT Arlington students. UT Arlington will share beginning Portuguese courses with UTSA, where that language is not currently available.
The plan also calls for offering intermediate and advanced Russian courses online to students at both institutions. Additional languages for future sharing include Arabic, Chinese and Korean.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
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