News & Blog

Excitement About our Move

By Matthew Taylor

As the Spring 2016 term closes, we celebrate another great year of creative and scholarly pursuits by our team, the faculty who call upon us, and, most of all, the students whose classes and projects often take shape in our labs and studios, including:

  • Developing a virtual walking tour of Ancient Rome in Chicagoincluding in-depth video explorations of various sites
  • Learning how to research and author online maps to chart Shakespeare’s Circuits around the globe
  • Honing skills to ‘write’ audio essays, including one on Tom Dooley which won the History Department’s annual Joseph Barton Essay Award
  • Adding 84 new entries to the WildWords dictionary
  • Taking one of the 1,965 online language placement tests processed this year
  • Being in a group of 597 fellow students who perfected and evaluated their language pronunciation using DiLL in our computer classrooms

These experiences are part of the momentum we carry forward as we look ahead to our return to Kresge Hall. There, we will kick off the 2016-2017 academic year with great excitement in a brand-new space, once again strategically placed at the heart of language instruction and Humanities education in Weinberg College.


An early rendering of the main activity space, including enclosed collaboration suites.


Our new Space: an Overview

Building on our existing portfolio of services, we expect our new space to facilitate new interactions and connections, offer more robust capacity for multimedia creation, and encourage exploration of new models for teaching and learning. From our main activity space on the second floor of Kresge, we will offer:

  • Equipment Checkout Counter
  • Independent Learning Carrels
  • A Project Nook (eventually offering makerspace tools)
  • Collaboration Booths for small group activities
  • Collaboration Suites for enclosed group activities (tutuoring, project work, etc.)

We’ve recognized the importance of rooms that can offer increased sound isolation and access to studio recording tools and, down the hall, we will have new studio spaces that can be reserved for use by specific courses:

  • 2 Digital Media Editing Suites (1-2 people)
  • 1 Larger Editing Studio (small groups)

Our laboratory classrooms have also received a significant technology boost, each boasting high-definition, high-fidelity 4K projection and presentation capabilities, attention to sound and acoustics, as well as video conferencing equipment that permits outside audiences to participate in the local classroom discussion. Both classrooms will enable digitally-enhanced pedagogies, but with a slightly different focus and layout:

  • A digitally augmented structured classroom — suitable for many language and evaluative activities
  • A content-creation classroom — powerful tools at every seat, space for faculty to circulate and guide, and space to collect for group critique and review.

Interim Summer Operations

Getting ready for our new space requires significant preparation and, as such, we will follow a significantly reduced operating schedule for Summer Session before closing completely on August 13. As we schedule the breakdown of our existing equipment and classroom spaces, we will continue to work directly with each summer program faculty member to ensure that needs are met.

October Open House — Save the Date!

In celebration of our “homecoming” to Kresge, we plan to host a multi-day open house event spanning Thursday, October 13, and Friday, October 14, just prior to Northwestern’s official homecoming week.  On Thursday afternoon, we will open up our spaces to offer  a special sneak-peak those who might not be able to make the more formal Friday afternoon event.  Stay tuned for additional details!

Putting IT To Use: One Button Studio

By Cecile-Anne Sison

Since the MMLC has been in the Library, we’ve really been taking advantage of our proximity to our peers. I thought I would start a blog series called “Putting IT To Use” about how a language professor or other Humanists could incorporate some of the new (or at least new to you!) technology Northwestern has.

IMG_2969First up is the One Button Studio (OBS), which is similar to the Lightboard studio in practice.  A lot of units will most likely talk about these two studios in terms of how you can shoot segments to use in MOOCs or flipping/blending/hybridizing your courses. And they’d be right! It’s easy to use – all you need is a thumbdrive (oh and BTDubs did you know the MMLC has thumbdrives available for check out?) to save your recordings onto.

Full post

Humanities and Computer Science — What?

By Matthew Taylor

It’s holiday time. Time for big dinners, friends, family, and cheer. At the dinner table there might be those half-interested questions of “What do you do?” or “How is your work going?” This month, after attending the 10th annual Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science (DHCS), followed by an exciting talk by Mark Guzdial on how to boost society’s computer literacy, my response will be energetic and as clear as Ralph Parker asking Santa for a Red Ryder BB rifle : “Work has never been better! Increased access to tools and digital literacy are critical to scholarship and instruction of the humanities, and I’m happy to be a part of it!”

But it’s never that easy.

Full post

DemoCats I – Sylvie, Mochi, Kuma and Luna

By Cecile-Anne Sison


In what will hopefully become a recurring feature for the MMLC blog, our pet cats (and our colleagues’ pet cats) test out the equipment that the MMLC has available for checkout. If you have a tech-leaning Northwestern-affiliated cat who would like to become part of our team, please feel free to shoot me a message in the comments.


Full post

Students Produce Virtual Walking Tour of Ancient Rome in Chicago

By Matthew Taylor

Students of a recent course taught by Classics Professor Francesca Tataranni titled “Ancient Rome in Chicago” have completed an impressive virtual walking tour that explores how the city showcases its engagement with the classical past through its streets, buildings, and monuments.

A student-produced virtual walking tour highlights ways in which the classical world is memorialized in Chicago. The virtual tour uses StoryMapJS from the Northwestern University Knight Lab.

The 300-level research seminar course was designed to allow students to take ownership of their learning through knowledge creation, and to explore the nature of the humanities in the digital age. Full post

RT) New MMLC social media channels!

By Annette Hong

The MMLC is finally on Facebook and Twitter!

A quick introduction first: I am on the MMLC student staff as the department’s first copywriter in more than 12 years. I write for the blog, but now I also manage the center’s social networking accounts. Back in high school, I wrote and designed for the yearbook, the literary magazine, and the MUN conference magazine. Aside from that, I was also a PR intern at a fashion company this past summer, so I learned a thing or two about getting the word out. I am a fan of tangible media—film, records, old books—and all tools of communication. I suppose this is why people mistake me for a journalism or communications student almost 80% of the time (I am in Weinberg and undecided). I am also a fan of EXO, and trust me, that is very relevant, and I will explain why.

A lot of people who know me personally will know that I dedicate a large portion of my life to EXO. A lot of those same people often shake their head whenever I shove my phone in their faces because I feel the need to make inarticulate noises over someone’s new hair color or whatnot. This is where everything becomes relevant: I find out about magazine features, news articles, what happened at Seoul Fashion Week, all within a couple hours thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I am a whole ocean away, but I am seeing, reading, and hearing things almost instantly thanks to the online community. Full post

The Personal, Adaptive, and Sensitive Future of Learning

By Matthew Taylor

So I may be a language technology nerd. But I’m not alone. Each year, some of the geekiest geeks meet at the annual conference of CALICO, the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium.  This year, Cecile and I attended and occasionally pushed up our glasses as they would slide down the bridges of our noses — as all nerds do — and tried to fit in.

If there was a take-away message that prevailed, it was this: the future of learning will be increasingly personalized, adaptive, and deeply aware of the learner. Just how deeply aware? Perhaps more than we think. The growing prevalence of smartphones, smart watches, and other monitoring devices combined with an emerging interest in big data and data science could spell a future where learning systems can psychologically and physiologically detect and reproduce the conditions under which individual students learn best.

The vision shared at CALICO, even if more focused on language instruction, is nonetheless a harbinger for the rest of the educational field. In a recent EDUCAUSE article written by Learning Initiative Director Malcolm Brown, “Six Trajectories for Digital Technology in Higher Education,” Brown sees the opportunity of mobile devices in a post-digital-divide era, looks forward to open educational resources and learning spaces, and eyes a future for learning analytics. The language nerds at CALICO obsess over these themes constantly as they imagine the future.

The future, it turns out, is not only talked about in abstract far-away presentations. The future is taking place here at Northwestern, too. Full post

Canvas Tips and Tricks

By Sarah Klusak
Yay for a successful Canvas course!

For the last year or so, I’ve been leading a double life (cue exciting spy-movie music).  Oh yes.  Working at the illustrious MMLC is great, but I’ve felt compelled to broaden my mind and explore new educational adventures.  So last Fall I bid adieu to what little free time I had and started taking classes for a Speech Pathology degree. My last five classes were entirely online (both in Blackboard and Canvas), and my experiences have given me some insight as to what works and what doesn’t.  So whether you’re incorporating Canvas into your classroom-based course or teaching entirely online, here are some observations and suggestions to help your students get the most out of your class.

Full post

One Stop for Media Requests

By Annette Hong

Starting this fall, all media requests can be made via a single Course Reserve form that can be found within Canvas. Prior to this change, certain types of requests needed to be sent separately to either the Library or the MMLC, causing confusion.

Through a new streamlined process, completed Course Reserve requests are first sent to the Library, where they are carefully reviewed and then fulfilled by the Library or forwarded to the MMLC based on the keywords and information found in the request.

For every request, streaming video is made available to students through the new Library Media tool within Canvas. This tool is replacing both the old video streaming systems of the Library and the MMLC. Faculty still using older URL links to video and audio items should expect these links to stop working and plan to use the Course Reserve form to request new versions of the items.

A notable difference with the new Library Media tool is that access to the reserve items are made accessible only for the duration of the current course and term. Previously, course reserve links worked indefinitely. Now, each quarter, faculty must explicitly request media items again using the Course Reserve system.
Full post