As part of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL), a group of foreign language faculty and technologists are working toward a Collaborative Language Diagnostics and Refresher Framework, including a visual dashboard to help faculty efficiently assess the language proficiencies of new students. In ancient and modern languages, faculty are seeking better procedures and tools to place students in the appropriate course level and support them in closing gaps in understanding or skill. To this end LACOL’s Language Instruction working group has been building appropriate online tools and resources.
In 2017 two workshops have made concrete steps toward realizing the framework, and additional collaborative work is planned for spring 2018. In May, the working group met at Swarthmore College to identify common categories to be used across languages and consortial campuses in a language learning skills map. The group then built prototypes of diagnostic tests and refresher modules in Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. In October, language learning technologists and Carleton’s student “Data Squad” gathered at Carleton College to work on platform requirements for a dashboard prototype. They resolved technical issues that will enable the flow of useful data from a language skills diagnostic test into a data-rich visual display. Ultimately the goal is to produce a user-friendly dashboard tool can help students gain feedback on their skill levels and close gaps as they traverse the liberal arts language sequence.