The Arts Multimedia Language Facility opened October 6 by VP (Academic) Dr Luc Vinet and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dr Carman Miller.
Grand opening of the Arts Multimedia Language Facility (AMLF) by the Vice-Principal (Academic) Dr Luc Vinet and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dr Carman Miller, Wednesday, October 6 at 11:00 am
Main entrance of the McLennan Library Building
3459 McTavish Street
"The computer will never replace the teacher, but it does help him! Indeed, render unto the machine that which is the machines (exercises, repetitions, preparation - especially in interactive mode) and we free class hours to spend on more relevant linguistic and cultural activities. Furthermore, given the fact that computers offer immediate or deferred communication opportunities, they enrich the professor-student relationship." Such is the place of computers in the teaching of languages at the university level, according to Hélène Riel-Salvatore, Director of the McGill English and French Language Centre. This view is shared by her predecessor, Professor Hélène Poulin-Mignault, who has been the spearhead of the multimedia language lab project over the last four years.
Given the particular circumstances of language courses in the Faculty of Arts, it was necessary to ensure traditional audio lab functions in a digitalized environment. It was no mean feat to accomplish this while digitalizing, in only a few weeks time, the audiotapes of the English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Russian courses and to almost complete the digitalization of German, Italian and Arabic. The McGill language professors and lecturers have been pretty busy of late.
Installation alone of a fully equipped multimedia language laboratory is no guarantee of its optimum use. "The role of Yannick Roy, our educational technologist" stresses Professor Riel Salvatore "is to guide and train the teachers during the transition period towards a maximal use of the multimedia. And it is quite an adaptation to switch from the traditional linear teaching tools to the firecrackers of the multimedia language lab."
Meanwhile, even though they are presently using only 10% of the language labs resources, one must see at any given time of the day (or evening in a near future) the students of all the languages mentioned above literally riveted to the screen of any one of the AMLFs 40 computers. Some are listening to the personalized comments of their professors, who can be located in their respective offices or speaking from the computer station on the podium which dominates the labs rows of computers; others are busy preparing written or oral exams, while there are also those who are trying to fill in the blanks of the first verse of "Ne me quittes pas" , while listening to Jacques Brel.
Needless to say, an exercise session at the Multimedia Language Lab of the McGill Faculty of Arts is something one reserves way ahead of time. Students, as well professors, cant wait for the inauguration of the two other computer rooms planned for next year.