In 1998 with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Columbia University established the Language Resource Center (LRC) to serve both as a hub for new language instruction and as a catalyst to promote the widespread adoption of technology to enhance language teaching and learning. As the administrative home to a number of less commonly taught languages and to digital resources used to support instruction in all of Columbia's language offerings, the establishment of the LRC has allowed the university to increase the number of languages taught, encourage the adoption of innovative language pedagogy, and deepen the opportunities and context for language study available to students. Moreover, by advocating the development of Web-based resources, adaptable software, and affiliations with other universities, the LRC has lent even further flexibility to Columbia’s language offerings.
The LRC focuses on promoting innovative approaches to learning across a broad range of languages as it seeks to foster better language teaching practices and methods for all its constituencies. The work of the LRC fits into the larger, university-wide effort to encourage collaboration across the boundaries of departments, disciplines, and schools. By working alongside, but outside of, traditional departments, the LRC can meet varied and evolving language needs arising from globalization and from the further internationalization of Columbia’s student and faculty population. In particular, this approach recognizes that students, especially those enrolled in business, journalism, law, and other professional fields, require time-efficient and topical language training in addition to the more standard language courses offered by traditional literature-based programs.
In order to fulfill its mission and meet the expectations of its various constituencies, the LRC offers the following services:
The LRC manages the university's language lab located at 352 IAB. The facility has 36 Apple 20" iMac computers available for student use. The lab has full access to the multimedia assets used by the Columbia University's language programs. Microsoft Office and multi-language input (including non-Western characters) provide international word processing capabilities.
The LRC actively supports three smart classrooms located at 253, 254 and 255 IAB. Each of these classrooms is equipped with extensive audiovisual and computing capabilities connected to whiteboard by Smart Technologies, which allow instructors to interact directly with the content displayed on the screen.
The LRC also supports two smaller teaching spaces located at 351A and 352A IAB. Each has a 50" plasma screen and a dual-processor Apple computer. Additionally, 352 IAB also features a multi–standard VCR, a DVD player,and a surround sound system.
The Language Resource Center also provides Columbia's language community with access to a state-of-the-art multimedia studio designed to allow faculty to create and edit digital media. The studio is equipped with a multi-standard VCR, a DVD player, five high-end iMAcs and software to assist faculty in video and sound editing, web design, and multimedia authoring. Authorized users receive 5GB of network storage space for their projects and can also request temporary increases or long term storage.