Re-envisioning the Language Resource Center
The Language Resource Center (LRC) at PLU has served as a virtual and physical hub for language study since opening in 1996. Our mission is to provide a multimedia environment with hardware, software, and learning resources that facilitate and promote the research and study of the world’s languages and cultures. The LRC has kept up with changing technologies over the years and continues to adapt to meet the needs of our students.
Over the summer of 2014, the LRC moved from the library into the Hong International Hall living-learning community. Our move was the result of several years of planning with Residential Life leadership and the Hong Task Force. This move was the perfect fit – housing a center that supports language study within a residence hall focused on languages and international studies. As a result of the move, both the LRC and Hong enjoy the benefits of an upgraded space: new furniture, including booths, couches, and different configurations for seating and tables, as well as an upgraded kitchen space in the first floor lounge. The open lounge space is a place where students can use their own computers, tablets, and other devices as they study individually or with others. LRC language consultants for each of the languages taught in the Department of Languages and Literatures are available for drop-in language help and conversations. There is a small media room on the first floor providing access to computers, printers, and many print resources.
Following a naming contest with entries from Hong residents, the LRC was renamed the “The Language Resource Center @ Hong: Campus Language Hub.” The LRC truly is a hub, a center of activity, where all PLU students, faculty, and staff interested in languages and cultures are welcome to participate in a variety of activities. For example, we have weekly conversation tables run by Academic Assistance tutors, regular International Coffee Hour conversations on global issues, film nights, dinners, and many other activities.
What happened to the rows of computers students expect to see in a language “lab”? The center has a laptop cart with 25 laptops that is delivered directly to language classes in the Hauge Administration Building. In other words, during class the “lab” comes to you. Language faculty members have used the laptops in classes to do research and writing, to record speaking activities, and to deliver multimedia exams.
Language centers and keeping them up-to-date is a popular topic in the language teaching world. Dr. Bridget Yaden, LRC Director and Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures, presented a workshop on renovating and updating language centers at the WAFLT-COFLT conference for language teachers in October 2014. She has been invited to present on this topic at an international conference on language teaching technologies (FLEAT-VI) to be held at Harvard in Summer 2015, as well as at Alaska’s state conference in Fall 2015.
Visit us at www.plu.edu/lrc and on Facebook to see more pictures, and be sure to stop by the new LRC next time you are on campus!
— Bridget Yaden