Long-term Course Planning Scenario

Dan Mosser, English

for DLI2 Planning at Virginia Tech, June 1998

Long-term Course Planning and Resource Collection

Dan Mosser teaches a course on History of the English Language (HEL). He has been developing this course over the last few years and is especially interested in multi-media resources, speech excerpts, speech analysis game, and so on. He spends several weeks every summer reviewing his resources and searching for new ones to incorporate.

This summer he is focusing on videos. In the past he has been unable to use as many videos as he-d like because most are too long to fit into a single class period and/or contain information not relevant to the course. Hoping to find a more flexible digitized resource, he goes to VT’s digital library. First he searches the video collection for titles containing "English Language" and similar strings, for subjects covering English language and history and so on. He also quickly browses the videos currently in use by related courses at Tech. He is delighted to find one video, "In Search of the First Language" (NOVA, produced by Christopher Hale, BBC-TV, 1992) that he has used before in analog form. This reminds him of another good NOVA program, "The Iceman," but this production is not currently in the library.

Having seen "The Iceman" many times, Mosser knows it will be a good long-term asset for the library. He goes to the request page and fills in the necessary information: what class he hopes to use it for and its typical size. At this point he knows he'll be teaching it next year, but isn't certain of its subsequent scheduling, so leaves this blank. Soon after submitting the request, he receives an email notifying him that the request has been passed to Nan Seamans. He saves the note as a reminder, then continues with his work.

Four weeks later, he again receives an email notification confirming that the video has been acquired, and stating the copyright restrictions: Dan is allowed to refer to this material only as part of his HEL pages, and it will be accessible only users with a vt.edu account. For convenience, the notice also includes a direct point to the resource in the library repository. Mosser immediately accesses it and bookmarks the most relevant excerpts.

Course Activity Archiving

Dan Mosser regularly holds online discussions as part of his HEL course. Over the years he has realized that the quality of these discussions depends very much on the specific personalities and backgrounds of the individual students enrolled, but in general he finds them useful in getting students to "speak up" and express opinions he might otherwise never hear.

This week he has arranged for a synchronous discussion with another HEL class in England. The topic will be the "In Search of the First Language" (NOVA, produced by Christopher Hale, BBC-TV, 1992) that the VT Digital Library has recently acquired. For purposes of this joint discussion, he has gotten special permission from NOVA for short-term (just this week) access to this video by the students in England. Although the students are supposed to have viewed the video in advance, Mosser wants to make sure they have the resource available, so he loads it into the MOO video player in advance.

The two classes meet online at 9am, a reasonable compromise give the 5-hour time difference. As the discussion gets going, Mosser realizes that this is going to be a "good one;" there are several students from both classes with quite different ideas about language patterns, ideas that are quite clearly a function of their personal language backgrounds. He begins annotating the discussion as it takes place, marking points at which key exchanges take place. Later he reviews the discussion, moving from mark to mark and adding a bit of explanatory text. In a few places he adds links to excerpts from the video. He then adds it to his HEL class archives, under the topic "Cultural Factors."

Two years later, Mosser is reviewing this work in preparation for an invited paper at an HEL conference. He wants to include this archive as part of a new analysis. He first runs it through a "sanitizer," which substitutes random names for those of the participant students; this tool also inserts an authorization dialog wherever video excerpts have been included (non-VT users will see a reference to the start-stop time, but not the video itself.) He then submits it to VT's Digital Library, so that it can be made accessible to other researchers following up on his paper. In the submission process he identifies it as a "language archive" and gives it several descriptor terms. He also indicates that it is a "personal" contribution, meaning that it has not been subjected to any external review.

added Dec. 8, 1998 (GMc)