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Language Matters Digitally Open Borders

Guiding Questions

  • How do regular conversations in a second language with native speakers outside class improve students' language skills and enhance their move from intermediate to advanced-level proficiency (ACTFL)?
  • How might working in a collaborative digital writing environment improve students' FL writing?
  • What kinds of cultural knowledge and competencies will students learn through international partnerships by discussing and writing on relevant social, political, economic, and cultural topics with a person from another culture in his/her native language and in the comfort of their own homes through the Internet?
  • How are cultural sensitivities expanded as students learn about an "other" through digitally open borders?
  • How might building a Digital Humanities Foreign Language (DHFL) research database improve language instruction and proficiency, expand interdisciplinary knowledge, create synergies and leverage collective research in DH to make broader national and global impact?


Faculty in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics teach and conduct research in Digital Humanities (DH), but each is currently an isolated case. Conducting a DH pilot classroom study to increase students' language proficiency and also building a web presence for DH language projects will enhance visibility and impact and expand DH research in Foreign Languages.


Language Matters will pilot two digital projects during the next two years: Pilot #1. A DH classroom enrichment module in Spanish speaking (year 1) and writing (year 2), partnering with Syracuse University Centers in Madrid and Santiago and the United Kingdom's "Digital Mediations" strand to establish innovative regular, structured digital connections between on-campus SPA 301 classes and citizens in those cities. We will also build a web presence for Language Matters and for the Digital Humanities in Foreign Languages.

Future Goals

Through this initiative, we will better connect Syracuse University students with the world, improve communications with faculty and students overseas, and publish linguistic, language proficiency, and cultural growth data in peer-reviewed journals. will also enhance campus internationalization and broaden the impact of the Digital Humanities. In the future, we will expand Digital Humanities modules in other language, literature, and linguistics courses.

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