The Language Collaboratory

We are very pleased to announce the creation of The Language Collaboratory, a partnership for the advancement of intercollegiate dialogue on the teaching of languages and cultures, driven by language centers and institutes at the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The purpose of this initiative is to provide collaborative professional development opportunities for educators of language, culture, and literature at the five institutions.

Please join us for Spring 2021 sessions to engage with others on your own campus as well as with colleagues across our institutions. 

Spring 2021 Discussion Main Theme:

  • Striking a Balance in Remote Language Teaching and Learning: Promoting Instructor and Student Well-Being 

The Language Collaboratory’s spring series aims at furthering conversations that help uncover the complexities of striking a balance on the professional, academic, and personal goals to achieve the well-being of instructors and students of languages. What are the major challenges in promoting our own and our students’ well-being in the context of remote instruction and the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic? As language instructors, what are concrete steps that we might take to better care for ourselves and our students?

Individual sessions in the series might address topics such as:

  • Work-life balance
  • Issues of equity in access to technology or to functional spaces to teach and to learn
  • Balancing academic rigor with flexibility in language courses
  • Balancing ethical considerations with compassionate approaches to assessment
  • Facilitating meaningful interactions in remote language courses and in co-curricular programming
  • New models for student (dis)engagement


Session schedule is coming soon.

UW-Madison contact: Jana Martin, Associate Director, Language Institute

If you need accommodations to participate in any of the events, contact Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, University of Minnesota, at least three business days prior to the event.

Sponsors: University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Language Media Center; University of Michigan, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) Language Resource Center; University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Language Center; Michigan State University, Center for Language Teaching Advancement; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Language Institute


Past Sessions – Fall 2020

The pandemic offered us opportunities to deepen our existing collaborations through virtual connections across distance and institutions. In the Fall of 2020, we launched a robust professional development series focusing on three challenges – accessibility, inclusivity, and learner autonomy and agency. Representatives from all five institutions informally addressed one of these challenges from their perspective as a practitioner or researcher and engaged with what we hope has been a stimulating dialog with both their local conversant and the session attendees.

Discussion Themes

  • Accessibility: How can I ensure that my teaching is accessible to all of my students? 
  • Inclusivity: How can I be more inclusive in my teaching? What do I need to consider and address?
  • Learner Autonomy and Agency: How can I foster student engagement and autonomy? What does learner autonomy mean in a language learning environment? 

All sessions with the exception of the December 17 session were scheduled for 30 minutes, 3:30-4:00 pm central, 4:30-5:00 pm eastern. Each session required a separate registration.

Thursday, December 17, 3:30-4:30 pm central, 4:30-5:30 eastern: Language Collaboratory Networking Session

Monday, December 7: How Facilitating Learner Autonomy Can Foster Inclusivity. Pamela Bogart, University of Michigan; Session recording HERE

Thursday, December 3: Agency-Based Language Learning, Felix Kronenberg, Michigan State University; Session recording HERE

Thursday, November 19: Exploring Guided and Independent Learning Practices to Promote Learner Autonomy and Self-Regulation. Brian Barnett, Emily Groepper, and Katrien Vanpee, University of Minnesota; Session recording HERE

Thursday, November 12: The Hands-Off Approach to Student Presentations: Gallery Walks in Intermediate Language Classes. Janaya Lasker-Ferretti, University of Michigan; Session recording HERE

Thursday, November 5: Willkommen, Bienvenido, Bienvenue, You Are Welcome Here. How Do Foreign Language Teachers Make Sense of LGBTQ Identities and Queer-Inclusive Practices in Their Classrooms. William Coghill-Behrends, University of Iowa; Session recording HERE

Monday, October 26: Asked and Answered?: Rethinking Class Questions…and Other Examples of Asynchronous Instructional Design as Social Justice in a (Post-) Covid World. Jennifer Gipson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Session recording HERE

Thursday, October 22: Technological Phonocentrism: Teaching Strategies for Signed Languages. Rebecca Clark and Jannelle Legg, University of Iowa; Session recording HERE

Thursday, October 15: Accommodating Diverse Student Needs in the Online and Remote Teaching Environment. Mandy Menke, University of Minnesota; Session recording HERE

Monday, October 5: You’re a Teacher, Not a Cop”: Prioritizing Access in Course Structure. Cecil Leigh Wilson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Session recording HERE

Thursday, October 1: Is My Language Course Ableist? Identifying Tension Between Language Learning Course Design and Fairness for Disabled Learners. Caitlin Cornell, Michigan State University; Session recording HERE