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Bite-Sized Linguistics

    Mary Estrada, a lecturer in the Foreign Language Department, has recently partnered with DELTA to re-designed FL-424 (Linguistics for ESL). FL-424 studies the diachronic nature, phonetics, and semantic features of English in comparison with other world languages. It also includes teaching strategies based on recent studies of second-language acquisition. This course dives into abstract, complex subjects and can be a bit overwhelming for some. In order to make this subject more comprehensive, Mary came up with the brilliant idea of embedding videos within the curriculum that would further explain advanced concepts. This project is called “Bite-Sized Linguistics.”

    One thing that inspired Mary to embark on this project was the need for accessibility in education. She wanted to break down difficult concepts into small videos that could be easily found through modules on the course’s Moodle page. For example, when explaining something complex like the International Phonetic Alphabet, Mary would include videos of her voicing over a PowerPoint or her directly conversing with a non-native English speaker. Mary is also focusing on course alignment. She is determined to take the frustration out of trying to navigate online course material for students, giving them the ability to put all of their efforts into learning the actual curriculum. 

    When Mary was asked in her interview what her goal was for “Bite-Sized Linguistics,” she responded saying, “I want to reach every learner. And I want them to leave feeling like linguistics is cool, dynamic and exciting. I want them to feel like that the topic is for them.”  As mentioned before, Mary is intent on making this class more accessible. She wants every student to feel that they have a way into the content of linguistics. She also wants “Bite-Sized Linguistics” to emphasize just how fascinating and spirited English is as a system and that linguistics is a huge part of that. 

    Having received her MA in Linguistics from NC State and now working as a lecturer here, Mary is a huge believer in NC State’s mission. “Bite-Sized Linguistics” perfectly embodies NC State’s mission by enhancing student’s success through innovation. NC State is constantly looking for ways to elevate curriculum. These videos are a great enhancement when it comes to explaining the hard-to-grasp concepts of FL-424. Another way this project reflects NC State’s mission is by creating a high-impact learning experience. It is important for NCSU students to feel motivated and excited to learn. By having students involved in something that is as cutting-edge as this project, they will be inspired to deep thought in the classroom and innovative action in the community.

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