World Languages Success Stories

iLrn and Conectados Showcase the Power of Online Language-Learning

Patti Marinelli, a senior Spanish instructor at the University of South Carolina, has helped create a contemporary textbook and online curriculum for teaching Spanish that can be used for traditional, flipped, hybrid, and online courses. The product is Conectados, co-authored by Patti and Karin Fajardo, and the online component is the iLrn™ Language Learning Center all-in-one course management system.

Conectados reinforces a general rule of thumb in language teaching: that you don’t do in the classroom what could be done at home. Students study outside of class and spend classroom time on what isn’t as easily done at home: speaking Spanish with other people. The key benefit of iLrn is that it enhances the effectiveness of the flipped classroom model by engaging students in speaking and practicing Spanish outside of class, thereby further promoting skill development and proficiency.

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iLrn Gives Spanish Students the Grounding They Need in Grammar, Culture, and Communication

More than three thousand students take Spanish every year at Pellissippi State Community College, and program coordinator Marilyn Palatinus wants every one of them to be engaged—and to learn. Ensuring that instructors have the tools and support they need is also on the agenda, and Marilyn and her colleagues count on Cengage Learning. “My faculty really likes Plazas and iLrn™, and the customer service from Cengage Learning is excellent,” she says.

For Marilyn, teaching Spanish effectively means balancing development of communication skills with the fundamental mechanics of the language. Given that many of the students don’t understand grammar, they need practice with grammar, as well as the opportunity to apply it in conversation. Marilyn and the other instructors appreciate that iLrn’s varied activities give students the chance to practice what they’re learning in real-life scenarios.
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iLrn Facilitates Online Language Learning at Mississippi State University

Amie Russell loves her job — teaching Spanish at Mississippi State University. For three years she has used iLrn™, an all-in-one course management system created specifically for languages, to complement her Cengage Learning Spanish textbook and ensure that her students get valuable practice in communicative skills.

Amie and her colleagues were introduced to iLrn when they selected Nexos, Enhanced Third Edition, for its focus on high-interest cultural themes and meaningful communication. “We wanted to move away from traditional texts based on grammatical structure, and were looking for a resource that focused on communicative skills. We also wanted to get into online learning,” she recalls. “Nexos teaches from a conceptual level and with a cultural perspective—for instance, how to communicate at the grocery store rather than how to conjugate verbs. It was accompanied by iLrn, so it was ideal for our needs.”

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iLrn Accommodates Diverse Teaching Styles at the University of Wisconsin – Madison

As Assistant Director of lower-division Spanish at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Anna Gemrich is focused on meeting the needs of both instructors and students. When her department’s previous intermediate Spanish textbook introduced a digital component, Anna was concerned about its high learning curve and complex set-up. Instructors had been wanting a textbook change anyway, so a search led to Cengage Learning’s Exploraciones Curso Intermedio. The text, accompanied by the iLrn™ all-in-one online course management system and a multimedia eBook, offered a range of resources and teaching flexibility that satisfied everyone.
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Exploraciones with iLrn Makes Grammar Relatable to Students

Jennifer Rogers, Foreign Language Coordinator at the Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, MO, has found the Discovery Learning Approach that Exploraciones takes to be highly beneficial to her students.

Instead of explaining a specific grammar concept, the Exploraciones videos show the grammar being used in a realistic way. She also believes that Exploraciones presents culture in a way that is more engaging to students; presenting the culture thematically (as Exploraciones does) gives students a greater appreciation for the culture and how it relates to language.

What’s more, Jennifer has found iLrn to be a very powerful tool to use with Exploraciones. She believes that the secret to her success in using iLrn is to introduce it to the students gradually through the first few weeks of class. Once students are up to speed with iLrn, Jennifer encourages them to use it not only for their required homework, but to study and prepare for exams as well as practice vocabulary and grammar with the many features available to the students.

In this Success Story, you can read more about why Jennifer believes Exploraciones has the best approach to teaching students concepts, and why iLrn has the tools to drive those concepts home.

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iLrn Makes Course Materials “Come Alive” in Melissa Erskine’s Intro to German Course

Melissa Erskine, a Professor of English and German at Blinn College (Brenham, Texas) uses iLrn in conjunction with the Vorsprung textbook for her Intro to German course.

In this success story, you’ll see why Erskine has found iLrn to be extremely valuable in helping her teach Intro to German.

Students are engaged and motivated to use a solution that allows them anytime/anywhere access. They enjoy iLrn’s interactivity, and actually find themselves using their textbooks more frequently.

Through features such as iLrn’s video assignments, students gain valuable practice. Their apprehension is reduced because they can hear themselves speaking the language before sharing with the class. What’s more, with iLrn, students receive instant feedback that tells them right away if they’re making errors. The feedback also helps students keep track of their strengths and weaknesses are in the course.

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Conectados Helps Sue Griffin Engage Students at Boston University

Sue Griffin has been a Spanish instructor for almost twenty years and is currently a Senior Lecturer for Spanish at Boston University. Throughout her teaching career Sue has always incorporated technology into her instruction, and decided to implement a flipped classroom for the Fall 2014 semester of Introductory Spanish at Boston University.

Sue designed the course to facilitate more in-class interaction – students would read grammar outside of class and class time would be focused on conversation. For the Fall semester, Sue used a printed workbook, which was not a good fit with the flipped environment she had implemented. She soon realized that she needed one learning solution that would be appropriate and engaging to
beginning as well as more advanced students in her course. She looked at Conectados with iLrn and discovered it was designed the way she had in mind.

In this success story, you’ll learn how Conectados with iLrn helped foster more engagement in Sue’s Spanish course. You’ll also see how the activities that students completed outside of the classroom allow for more effective self-paced study. What’s more, you’ll read about the tools within iLrn that allow the instructor to monitor student progress outside of class — critical for an effective flipped classroom.
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iLrn Keeps Heather Bonikowski’s Online French Students on Track

Heather Bonikowski is a French instructor at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. She has used the Horizons textbook for her French I and II courses since 2003, and uses iLrn in conjunction with the textbook.

Heather is teaching a self-designed online version of French I and II. She has found that keeping students on pace with the lesson is a major challenge when teaching online, as students tend to procrastinate and, therefore, fall behind.

With iLrn, Heather’s students have the tools to stay on task with each lesson. eSam assignments encourage students to do the practice that needs to be done to be successful, while the pre- and post-tests measure their mastery of a lesson prior to the exam.

What’s more, Heather has found that iLrn’s grading tools not only help save her time, but provide students with valuable feedback. Additionally, different grading options allow Heather to provide general feedback on critical areas for the entire class.

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iLrn Engages Students Inside and Outside of Cecilia Marrugo-Puello’s Spanish Grammar Class

Cecilia Marrugo-Puello is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Tarleton State University, a part of the Texas A&M system of schools. She uses iLrn in her Advanced
Composition and Grammar course, which is an upper-intermediate Spanish course required for every Spanish major and minor at Tarleton State.

Cecilia believes that iLrn is extremely effective at reaching different language learning styles, and also believes that iLrn is highly effective at reinforcing concepts when students are working outside of class. iLrn also helps her reach two very distinct student populations in her classroom: native and non-native Spanish speakers.

As a result of using iLrn in her course, Cecilia has seen the following results and benefits:
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iLrn™ Is Key to Communication Competence in Debora Rager’s Online Intro and Advanced Spanish Courses

Debora Rager is the full-time instructor of Spanish at Simpson University in Redding, California, and has more than 25 years of experience teaching Spanish and French. The university recently implemented a rule specifying that any course with more than one session must include at least one online session. Consequently, Debora now teaches both an online and a traditional session for both her Spanish I and Spanish II courses.

When she realized that she would be taking some of her classes online, Debora started looking at the available options, including iLrn™, an all-in-one course management system featuring communication tools that encourage students to use language outside of the classroom. She attended an iLrn presentation as well as one from another publisher. “Hands down, iLrn was so much better that it really wasn’t even a choice. It was the obvious choice,” she says. Read More…