Strategizing the Design and Implementation of a Language Center for the Twenty-first Century

  • Jane D. Tchaïcha

Abstract

The language center, (a.k.a.language laboratory) has undergone
tremendous transformation in the past fifty years, but the general
mission of the center has remained constant. Whether called a
resource center, media center, or CALL center, the facility provides
a place for students who are studying a language other than their own
(L2) to practice and learn. What has changed inside the language
center over the years is the variety of resources and delivery formats
that can be used to bring language to the learner. For institutions that
are planning to update or construct a state-of-the art language
facility, the amount of resources and the expense of putting together
an infrastructure to support these resources can be daunting. In
order to meet this challenge, language practitioners and
administrators at these institutions can benefit fromknowingwhat
kinds of questions and issues need to be raised before and during the
construction process. This paper presents a five-phase plan used at
Bentley College (USA) for its Center for Languages and International
Collaboration (CLIC) thatopenedinJanuary2001. In each of the five
phases, a specific strategy is outlined to meet the challenges of
updatingordesigningthe new language center. Some of the topics
addressed include building a team of players, balancing pedagogical
value and investment costs, and making technical, pedagogical,
managerial, and design recommendations. The case study illustrates
that at the core of the success of the strategic framework is the
collaborative integration of expertise among administrators,
technologists, and faculty.

Published
2003-04-15