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Language lab modernized

Nov. 19, 1998

BY SUSAN SEARFOSS

Staff Writer

Susan_Searfoss@baylor.edu

The Department of Modern Foreign Languages will launch a new Language Acquisition Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. today in 300 Draper Academic Building.

After conducting extensive research throughout the United States for the past two years, Dr. Ute Lahaie, assistant professor of German, Russian and Japanese, submitted a proposal to improve the outdated language laboratory.

'When I started here three years ago . . . what I had was a 1970s lab with only tape recorders and one single computer,' Lahaie said. 'My goal was to have software, computers and access to the Internet with audio and video possibilities.'

Lahaie traveled to George Washington University, which pioneered the video-file servers in its own language laboratories. After returning to Baylor, Lahaie revised her proposal for the lab to ensure it became an interactive facility. The proposal was adopted last summer and renovations began.

Before the renovations, students using the lab met with long lines and a limited number of videotapes and televisions. Now students may access video learning software from 95 computer stations in the lab.

The Language Acquisition Center allows teachers and students to interact in a technological setting.

'It allows the instructors to take control of the student stations,' Lahaie said. 'They can have access to both the screen and the keyboard. On top of that, the students and teachers can communicate through headsets. It gives us a lot of options.'

Renovations were not as simple as putting in computers, however. The third floor of Draper had to be completely remodeled.

'The layout of the old lab was a nightmare,' Lahaie said. 'They had to adjust ceiling heights and knock down walls. I wanted to have one big multi-purpose space and a testing lab.'

Students may use the facility from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, but times may be extended depending on demand.

Refreshments will be offered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and Lahaie will demonstrate the new system.

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