News on Sunday

The University of Mauritius Launches First Digital Language Lab

Digital Language Lab

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the University of Mauritius launched its first digital language lab on the 16th August. The Digital Language Lab will serve as an efficient platform for university students to record, assess but also enrich their language proficiency.

It is a first for the University of Mauritius. The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH) of the University has set up and launched a Digital Language Lab on Thursday 16th August. The software has been introduced and is supported by the company Rosetta Stone and its partner Formaclic, which offer digital solutions for language learning.

The setting up of the digital interactive platform is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, which celebrated its Silver Jubilee last year, initiative to keep improving and reinventing itself. The Digital Language Lab will provide the resources, facilities and both actual and virtual support for language instruction and learning. The state-of-the-art teaching space is equipped with the required software resources which are adapted to the needs and aptitudes of all different categories of learners. Further support will be provided to students by a pool of trained academics and other support personnel.

Students will have the capacity to record audio and video, access to foreign language digital media content and to corresponding character sets which support learning in multiple foreign scripts. The Digital Language Lab is equipped with the ability to support a range of large scale online assessments in different formats and it can also offer oral diagnostic assessments, placement reading tests as well assessed pronunciation, comprehension and writing skills.

The most important objective of the setting up of this Digital Language Lab at the University of Mauritius is to encourage learners to move beyond rote text book learning and to take part in the process of ‘languaging’. The digital interactive platform will also offer them the opportunity to engage with others and collectively work on semantics.

It took 25 years

The Digital Language Lab project has in fact been in the pipeline for the past 25 years. “The idea of setting up a language lab at UoM came to my ears for the first time as far back as July 1993, when I just joined UoM as Assistant Lecturer/Lecturer... Prof. V. Hookoomsing who was then my senior as linguist in the Department of French, was the one who suggested the idea. As I was then on a split side-MPhil/PhD program with l’Université d’Aix en Provence, in France, he asked me to find out how language labs looked like in French Universities and how we can explore possibilities to have one at UoM.... The fact that on the one hand, Mauritius was (and still is) a multi-lingual country, heavily dependent on its tourism industry and trade with other countries, and on the other hand, as we were then the only public university on the market, the necessity of having a Language Lab in the Flagship TEI of the country seemed so obvious to me... However, unfortunately, for reasons which were beyond our control but related mainly to infrastructural and financial constraints, we’ve had to wait for 25 years to see the project materialized,” stated Professor Arnaud Carpooran, Dean of the FSSH.

Rose Armand: “This Digital Language Lab will broaden our career prospects”

Rose Armand shared that the Digital Language Lab will help her to enrich her linguistic capacities. “This Digital Language Lab will enhance our employability and also broaden our career prospects, such as in the tourism sector. In addition, the fact that the certificate is internationally recognized is a big advantage.” The second-year student in BA French said that she is learning Spanish through the software. “I have learned so many things in Spanish and also practiced my speaking skills as well as written proficiency in Spanish. Moreover we can access the software at anytime and anywhere, as it is available on smartphones, laptops and tablets. This is a huge advantage for us students.”

Christophe Roquelor: : “This will help me to develop further my linguistic aptitudes”

The third-year student in BA French stated that the Digital Language Lab will definitely improve their linguistic skills. “As a language student, this state-of-the-art lab will help me to develop further my linguistic aptitudes and also to learn the right pronunciation. It is also giving me the opportunity to learn a foreign language, namely German. All along, we are assessed. This allows us to know areas that need improvement. It is a great advantage for everyone, especially for the youth to learn foreign languages, given the global world we are living in.”