Improvements to Spanish lab make life easier

By Kerri Ginis

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Students taking Spanish this semester can expect to see changes in the Macintosh language lab that will help make assignment completion easier and decrease waiting time, said Lab Director David Sergeant.

"In the past, students have complained that there is too long of a wait to get into the lab and also have had problems understanding which assignments were due each week," Sergeant said.

The computers and syllabus now have assignments categorized according to due dates instead of listed in alphabetical order with a corresponding due date, Sergeant said.

"There is now more continuity between the computers and syllabus to help students," he said.

All students enrolled in Spanish 101 through 205 are required to do assignments in the lab once a week in addition to periodical exams and quizzes. The lab is in Modern Languages room 511.

About 2,400 students are expected to use the lab this semester, and with only 35 computers available, limiting the time each student spends at the lab was another focus for implementing changes.

Catherine Barrette, the new director of basic languages, said the lines to get into the lab are a problem every semester. By having different due dates for each level of Spanish and eliminating errors in assignments, students should be able to complete their work faster, according to Barrette.

Assignment deadlines used to be on Sunday nights, regardless of the level of Spanish a student was in; now each level has a different due date from other levels to help decrease lines, Barrette said.

The lab has also set aside one teaching assistant to proofread all lab assignments in order to eliminate errors that can potentially slow students down, Sergeant said.

Barrette is in charge of establishing the curriculum for the Spanish classes and helped to implement some of the changes in the lab this semester.

Barrette said another change this semester was to make all assignments available in other computer labs on campus. Now students can use any other computer lab on campus to complete their assignments and are only required to use the Spanish lab to take quizzes and exams.

Accommodating disabled students more efficiently was another change to the lab, Sergeant said.

"Disabled students used to have a computer up in the front of the lab to work on, but the location was bad because there were many distractions from other students checking in and out of the lab," Sergeant said.

This semester, space was made in the back of the lab to help avoid distractions, Sergeant said.

"It is good that there is space in the back of the lab to help lessen the distractions because it was hard to concentrate sometimes," said Matthew Messmer, chemistry sophomore.

Students will now be able to bring pens and pencils into the lab which were previously prohibited to help them with grammar or to help them remember key words they come across in their assignments, Sergeant said.

"One problem with the lab is that you can only do each assignment three times and there aren't many ways to help yourself in the lab and if you do poorly on an assignment it can hurt your grade," said Jon Martinez, political science junior.

Barrette said there are more changes ahead for the Spanish lab. One change she is working on is gaining access to the World Wide Web for students on and off campus.

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