On CALL News, Volume 21:1 (October 2003)

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CALLIS logo.In This Issue...

Emergent network technologies in CALL: MOOs and ESL Pedagogy
From the Chair
CALL-IS Contacts
Call for Submissions!
Discussion Group Reports
How the TESOL CALL Interest Section Began
About This Member Community

Emergent network technologies in CALL: MOOs and ESL Pedagogy

Mark Peterson, mark@cc.teu.ac.jp

The application in CALL of computer mediated communications (CMC) technologies raises a number of issues with regard to pedagogy. In recent years, educators have attempted to develop pedagogical approaches that seek to exploit the potential of network-based learning. Among the most promising of the numerous emergent learning environments now being investigated by researchers, are object-orientated chat environments, known as MOOs. This paper will examine some of the ways in which MOOs are being utilized in the language classroom.

MOOs and CALL pedagogy

The present literature highlights the value of integrating learning in MOOs with task-based pedagogies (Becker 2001, Shield et al. 1999). While current research into the use of MOO environments in CALL is still at a relatively early stage, a variety of task-based approaches have been adopted by researchers in a number of language learning projects. Drawing on current conceptions of the importance of interaction and collaboration in language learning, several recent projects have attempted to utilize the networked nature of MOOs to bring together diverse groups of learners in meaning-focused collaborative learning tasks (Peterson 2001).

MOO-based learning projects

Examples of the above approach may be found in a tandem learning project involving two groups of language learners conducted by Donaldson and Kotter (1999). In this 5 month project, a group of ESL students in Germany and a partner class of students of German in America participated in weekly MOO-based learning tasks. These included the building by groups of learners, of virtual spaces known as rooms within a MOO. These rooms were then utilized as a forum for various theme-based discussions. These discussions focused on issues relating to the cultural differences between Germany and America. Learners were then invited to present the results of their discussions in the form of MOO-based presentations to their peers (Donaldson and Kotter 1999:70). In order to foster learners' metacognitve skills, the project organizers provided learners with log files (transcripts of their conversations in the MOO) after each session and learners were required to edit, annotate and submit a number of these files as part of their grade. (Donaldson and Kotter 1999:75). In a further element of the assessment process, participants were required to undertake assignments describing their experiences in the MOO. The authors of this study concluded that the above tasks appeared to foster learner motivation, autonomy, exploratory learning and the development of a target language community. (Donaldson and Kotter 1999:74-76).

A recent MOO project conducted at Vassar college (Von Der Emde et al., 2001), mirrored many of the findings of the above study. In this project, ESL students based in Germany and native speaker students studying German in the US were brought together in a semester long collaborative learning project. The organisers of this project divided the semester into two parts. In the first seven weeks, learners were given opportunities to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the MOO environment. After this initial orientation period, learners were then encouraged to jointly create virtual rooms in which they discussed various readings and issues. During this stage of the project, learners also developed their online identities. These tasks took place within the context of an intensive text-based grammar review. Participants also took part in assignments designed to develop study goals, self-assessment skills and an understanding of the dynamics of online collaborative learning (Von Der Emde et al., 2001: 212). In the second stage of the project, learners in both countries worked in small groups to develop and later present joint research projects within the MOO. These projects involved extensive interaction and peer teaching between participants. The content of these collaborative projects was decided by the students themselves and mainly focused on the cultural differences between Germany and America. Topics of leaner projects included educational systems in Germany and America, immigration polices, music culture and national stereotypes. As a requirement of the course students maintained portfolios of their work in the MOO. These portfolios were utilized by students and teachers to evaluate performance (Von Der Emde et al., 2001: 213).

The authors of the above study note that participation in this project appeared to have positive effects on leaner motivation. Many learners appeared to develop autonomous learning behaviors during the project. This is characterized by a high degree of learner negotiation and exploratory learning (Von Der Emde et al., 2001: 215). The organizers of this project appear to have successfully the potential inherent in MOO environments. The combination of network-based interaction and task-based pedagogy in this project highlights the ways in which MOOs may be used to bring together geographically diverse learner groups for communication and the creation through collaboration, of personally meaningful artifacts. Moreover, the object-or learners had the chance to create a dynamic TL community based on meaningful interaction (Von Der Emde et al., 2001: 221-223).

A taxonomy of MOO collaborative learning tasks

The findings of the studies outlined above indicate that the use of the following tasks appear to maximize the educational potential of MOO environments:

Student presentations
Discussions of readings and issues
Peer review and evaluation of partners writing
Creation of theme-based rooms
Study of log files
Role-playing activities
Cross cultural exchange
Creation of portfolios of MOO-based work


Preliminary studies have indicated that MOO environments when integrated with task-based pedagogies, offer new opportunities to engage learners in the process of L2 acquisition. By bringing together diverse learner groups in dynamic target language communities, MOOs appear to possess great potential as learning environments. However there use in the language classroom presents new roles and challenges for both teachers and learners. The successful application of MOO environments in CALL in the future, will depend on the ways in which educators rise to these challenges.


Becker, J. (2001). Using a modular approach to schMOOze with ESL/EFL students. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VII, No. 5, Retrieved November 5, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Backer-SchMOOze.html.

Donaldson, R. P. and Kotter, M. (1999). Language learning in a MOO: Creating a transoceanic bilingual virtual community. Literary and Linguistic Computing,14 (1), 67-76.

Peterson, M. (2001). MOOs and second language acquisition: Towards a rationale for MOO-based learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 14 (5), 443-459.

Shield, L., Weininger, M. J. and Davies, L. B. (1999). A task-based approach to using MOO for collaborative language learning. CALL and the learning community. In Cameron, K. (ed.). CALL and the learning community (pp. 391-401). Exeter: Elm Bank Publications.

Von der Emde, S., Schneider, J., and Kotter, M. (2001). Technically speaking: Transforming learning through virtual learning environments (MOOs). The Modern Language Journal, 85 (2), 210-225.

Mark Peterson holds an M.Sc. degree in TESOL and CALL and is a faculty member at Tokyo University of Technology. At present he is conducting doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh (department of theoretical and applied linguistics), in the use of MOOs in language education.http://www.teu.ac.jp/kougi/hp010/home.html.

From the Chair

Greg Kessler, kessler@ohio.edu

Dear CALL IS Members,

First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve as the Chair of the interest section. It is an honor and a privilege. It is also a serious responsibility that I do not take lightly.

As an interest section we have been fortunate to have extensive and intensive dedication from a number of individuals who have been keeping the IS and our realm within the conference vibrant and essential for quite some time. Without these individuals the IS, EV and CALL in general would suffer greatly. Without these individuals it would also be impossible to continue to kindle the spark of enthusiasm that is evident in so many who are new to the IS and its events each year.

Reflecting on Baltimore

From all accounts, it seems safe to say that the Electronic Village and CALL-IS sponsored events were quite a success this year. I spoke with many veteran CALL IS members who were very pleased with what they experienced. I also came across many individuals who were venturing into the EV for the first time, volunteering in the EV for the first time or attending our events for the first time. Most of the comments from these folks reflected their surprise at the energy and excitement present in these CALL IS events. A great big THANKS goes out to Steve Sharp, Jeff Nelson and Jon Aubrey for running the EV. I know how challenging it can be! I would also like to thank Laurie Moody for her coordination of volunteers. Without these efforts, our events would never succeed as they have. The overall attendance in the EV was up this year. I attribute this increase to the new events. The applications fair and mini-workshops provided an opportunity for more attendees to visit the EV. Further thanks goes to Tom Robb, James Mischler and Steven Sharp for coordinating the applications fair as well as Leslie Opp-Beckman, Laurie Moody and Yu-feng (Diana)Yang for heading up the Mini-workshops. The Internet Fair Classics Session, in its second year, drew in large crowds as well. Dawn Bikowski and I have coordinated this event the past two years and Ann Christensen helped out in Baltimore. Our more traditional events also attracted the usual large crowds and provided a wide range of experiences for all. Thanks go out to the teams who coordinated these events. The Internet Fair: Malika Lyon, John Skinner and Suzan Stamper; Developer's Showcase: Karima Benremouga, Greg Kessler, Susanne McLaughlin and John Lackstrom. In addition I would like to thank Jeff Nelson and John Madden for their continued work with the webmasters' workshop, which continues to serve the needs of the affiliate, caucus and IS communities. And, last but not least, thanks to the EV Online team of Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Susan Gaer, JoAnn Miller and Vance Stevens for continuing to expand the boundaries of the EV.

Looking Forward to Long Beach

CALL is presented with many promising developments each year. Technological advancement offers us unique promise within the larger field of language teaching. Many emerging technologies find their way into our events and sessions each year and this coming year will certainly be no exception. I look forward to these new tech developments as much as I look forward to the many interpretations of how best to incorporate these advancements into our teaching. It is, after all, these diverse and inspired ideas that keep CALL so vibrant. This is one reason that I look forward to an exhilarating conference in Long Beach. My first ESL teaching job was in Long Beach in 1990 and I haven't been back there since the last TESOL conference there in 1995.

Finally, as a representative of the CALL IS, I feel it is important to reflect on our mission. Our mission states: The CALL-IS exists to facilitate interaction among members of TESOL who desire to further the teaching of ESL, EFL, and languages in general through the medium of CALL. I have certainly witnessed a dynamic and impressive interaction among the members of this interest section over the past six years that I have been involved and expect it to continue as new members are brought into the fold each year. Let's keep this goal in mind as we move forward together.

CALL-IS Contacts Steering Committee

Contact any of the Steering Committee members for information about the interest section.


Greg Kessler, Chair, kessler@ohio.edu
Susanne McLaughlin, Chair Elect, smclaugh@roosevelt.edu
Suzan Stamper (Moody), Past Chair, smoody@cuhk.edu.hk

Steering Committee Members
01-04 John Avery, javery@grcc.ctc.edu
01-04 Ron Long, rwlong@iland.net
01-04 Christine Bauer-Ramazani, cbauer-ramazani@smcvt.edu
02-05 Malika Lyon, malika@ku.edu
02-05 Douglas Coleman, Douglas.Coleman@utoledo.edu
02-05 Dawn Bikowski, bikowski@ohio.edu
03-06 Randall Davis
03-06 Steven Sharp, ssharp@pgcps.org
03-06 Diana (Yu-fang) Yang, yuyang@wsunix.wsu.edu

Newsletter Editor: Chris Sauer, csauer@dwci.edu
Newsletter Shadow Editor: Hugh Crumley, hac5@georgetown.edu
CALL-IS Software List and Software Inventory: Deborah Healey, deborah.healey@orst.edu; Norman Johnson, johnsonn@lanecc.edu
CALL-IS Web Site: Leslie Opp-Beckman leslieob@oregon.uoregon.edu; Jeff Nelson, jtnelson@emirates.net.ae; Jonathan Aubrey,jonathan_Aubrey@yahoo.com

Call for Submissions!

We welcome your contributions of articles, reviews, opinions, announcements, and reports of conference presentations. We also like your suggestions, ideas and questions. Send one or more of the above to Chris Sauer at csauer@dwci.edu. Deadline for submissions: December 15th, 2003.

Discussion Group Reports
gkessler@ohiou.edu, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA

Online, 3D-game-like worlds with real-time chat among participants can provide language learners with realistic contexts otherwise unavailable to them. One of the discussion session leaders last year began the design and development of Langland, an internet-based 3D simulation environment for language learning. Since then, a few others have decided to take part in its development, including the other leader of this discussion session.

In this session, attendees discussed the adaptation of existing on-line 3D environments (such as Active Worlds and The Sims On-Line) to language learning purposes. They compared the limits of what can be obtained via this approach to the potential of a dedicated on-line simulation environment designed especially to create opportunities for language learning. The Langland Project, the subject of a separate presentation at TESOL 2003, was described as an example of such a dedicated environment. Some of the specific tasks that will need to be accomplished in order to fulfill a project like Langland were also discussed.

For those interested, the Langland Project web page can be found at http://coarts_faculty.utoledo.edu/dcoleman/langland/. Participation by all interested parties is eagerly solicited.

http://www.learningcommons.evergreen.edu/, "Learning communities are attempts to create an environment in which learning is both interdisciplinary and an integral part of students' daily lives."

Discussion then ensued regarding the thesis that students can learn from each other by creating a website that allows them to participate, contribute, and explore information from other writers from diverse backgrounds. The nuts and bolts of creating a website were also discussed (HomeSite, FrontPage, WebCT, Blackboard) and the pros and cons of each.

Ms. Bowles then showed the website that she uses to create the virtual learning community at http://www.corndancer.com/ and the benefits that her students have derived by participating in this community.

The discussion then turned to the use of tutorial CALL in general. Participants made these observations: Administrators may not understand about language study; they may think that merely having paid for tutorial CALL has "solved the problem" of integrating CALL into the curriculum. It is sometimes necessary to "sell" other faculty on tutorial software. Faculty training on effective use is important. Teachers may send students to the lab believing that CALL software replaces them or does their job. Tutorial software can be used in communicative ways.

Several participants wanted guidance in choosing CALL software, and the following suggestions ensued: Bringing in an outside consultant can help in the selection process. Have students articulate their reactions to the software. At the TESOL conference, the Electronic Village at TESOL has software to preview, and it is also available in the Exhibits area.

Links to all of the resources mentioned as well as notes from the session may be found at http://www.edvista.com/claire/pres/tutorialdg.html.

http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/TESOL/DG03collab_online_activ.htm. Lastly, the participants and presenters resolved to model online collaboration by setting up a distribution list and a YahooGroup dedicated to sharing and collaborating in online activities. Anyone interested may request to join the discussion athttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/online_collab/. A YahooID is needed.

Coping with Internet Plagiarism

Francis Britto, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
Bernard Susser, Doshisha Women's College, Kyoto, Japan

Although the facilitators were prepared to stimulate discussion with 80 copies of a four-page handout, only three persons came for the discussion. The fact that the previous time slot held IS meetings rather than regular presentations may have contributed to the poor attendance.

Despite the sparse attendance, the discussion itself was successful. All persons present had a strong interest in the topic, and one of the attendees was in the process of writing her dissertation on the plagiarism issue. Discussion covered topics such as the following: plagiarism as a crime; Internet paper mills; teaching of citation formats; the postmodern rejection of authorship and hence plagiarism; cultural differences in copying sources, etc. One especially useful topic was a discussion of the other presentations on plagiarism at the conference. The participants were delighted to establish contact with each other, and at least some are planning to submit a colloquium proposal on a related theme to TESOL 2004.

How the TESOL CALL Interest Section Began

Vance Stevens, vance_stevens@yahoo.com

I got into computing in 1979. That was the year I sat myself down at the keyboard at the terminal connected to the room full of cabinets with spinning tape reels of a half million-dollar minicomputer recently installed in the language center where I worked in Saudi Arabia and just diddled with the keys like you would a piano. While I was trying to work out where the sound should be coming from, my director happened to pass by and, perceiving in my random gestures some precursor to expertise, called on me to head up the CAI development program he had been charged with getting under way. Back then we didn't call it CALL.

I succeeded in coordinating a team of developers in the production of the institute's first battery of computer-based drill and practice lessons only because I got to grips with the manual for the authoring system we were using and managed to stay at least one page ahead of everyone else on the team. That's essentially how I ended up as chair of the CALL interest section. It was only because I was in the right place at the right time and was only slightly further along in the manual than others who were catching up fast and could have done equally well or better at the time than I did.

(There is a lesson here for newcomers to CALL: it's a field you can get into at any time and become an expert in the latest software tool, Flash for example, faster than those with more experience can remember how to type in the code in BASIC that will get the computer to say BOO. It's a field where you break in fast just by starting out on a higher rung on the ladder than the next person down.)

In 1981 I moved to Honolulu to start in the MA program at the University of Hawaii. After struggling for a semester with typing out second and third draft revisions to an overwhelming number of papers I had to write, I bought an Apple II plus with 48K RAM (that's right, kilobytes). The computer, second floppy drive unit, and printer cost me over $3,000 (RAM has since increased, but you'll notice prices haven't changed much). Taken in perspective, the remarkable significance of the Apple was that it was the first ever mass-produced computer affordable to individuals and was thus poised to make possible the empowerment inherent in grass-roots development of a far-ranging variety of computer-based applications that most of us take for granted today. Though I only got 40 characters of type across the screen and had to track in my head that every other line would have a break when it printed on paper, I had at least put the days of re-typing behind me. I also bought a copy of Apple Pilot and steered my M.A. thesis onto a CAI topic.

One reason for my choosing Hawaii for my MA program was (the surf of course, and also) that the 1982 TESOL Conference was scheduled to be held there. This attracted a dozen presentations involving computers, notably one by David Sanders from Concordia University in Montreal on 'Design and Implementation of a Communicative CAI Program.' Joan Jamieson and Carol Chapelle also presented there, giving two skillfully choreographed back-to-back 3-hour sessions all day on Saturday, one on ESL lesson design and the other on programming in Pilot. Also at that conference, David Wyatt, whose software was on display at the ALA booth, chaired a 'Rap Session' on 'The Why, Where, and How of C.A.I.' (in addition to Carol and Joan, the panelists were Frank Otto, Anne Jackson-Muller, and Roberta Lavine).

The technology could be recalcitrant in that era. I remember Anne and Peter Muller struggling to get their program to load ten minutes into the time their presentation was due to begin while their audience grew restless with the delay, and this was typical of the way the technology could be expected to work, or not, as the case may be. I myself was not listed in the program, but my work in the ESL department at UH had earned me a cameo appearance at the video interest section's academic session. I had been playing with a crude authoring system which would cue a video cassette tape, play a segment, ask a question, and depending on response wind the tape to another frame, play that, and so on. The program required a ten-minute load to memory and even then didn't always work. In order to demonstrate it, I had to start the load-up during the change in speakers just prior to my turn, and that speaker had to endure distraction from the clicking of the disk drives and whirring of my VCR at irregular intervals during his presentation. The drives had settled down by the time it was my turn to speak. I could only hope that when I hit the Enter key, this would not be one of the times the program would be found to have aborted prematurely. To my great relief, text appeared on the screen, the tape played, and the program worked long enough for me to briefly overview it.

(My own interests at the Hawaii conference extended beyond technology. Since I was on home turf, I got someone to let me stash my surfboard under a table at registration and I skipped the plenaries to check out the breaks just a quick paddle from the beachfront of the conference hotel - when is TESOL planning to go back there, I wonder?)

Hawaii was not the first TESOL event where interest in CAI had been shown. David Wyatt had also presented on a computer-based topic in Detroit in 1981, and Joan and Carol had done a computer-based presentation as early as 1980 at TESOL in San Francisco. According to Carol "It was an introduction to CALL and authoring on PLATO. We got terminals from a Bay area PLATO rep, had phone lines installed, and taught people how to author." The following year, Carol and Joan (they had some system for continually reversing the order of their names) "looked at the benefits and limitations of three hardware/software environments for developing and using CALL: micro, mainframe, and instructional mainframe (the latter was PLATO). We had programmed the same material on the three, brought the three terminals to Detroit in my car, had phone lines installed in the conference room, and showed them live!!" Carol enjoys recalling these events: "These memories are very vivid because these events were extremely difficult to set up logistically, and they were very rewarding to conduct." Joan and Carol followed up their minicourse by sending a mailout to those involved. This was an early attempt at pulling together a community of CAI enthusiasts within TESOL, but Carol and Joan backed off from organizing further "after realizing how much secretarial work was involved!" (quoted from email 15 and 16 May 2003, with Carol's permission).

Although there were several computer-related presentations in 1982, I had the impression that most of the presenters had only recently benefited from the personal computer revolution, and, like me, had been working alone and were largely unaware of the surprising depth of interest that computers were starting to generate among language-teaching peers. What was clear at that conference was that the topic was growing in both interest and potential efficacy for language learning. Therefore, an invited symposium was scheduled for the next annual TESOL conference in Toronto, 1983, and this symposium was notable for many things that both happened and didn't happen. One important thing to happen was that John Higgins argued eloquently that the name of our endeavor should be changed forthwith to CALL, to place the emphasis on 'learning'. Someone (I think it might have been me) argued that since CAI was the term most widely used in the literature, we should retain 'instruction' in our acronym. Fortunately, John prevailed, and we eventually became the CALL interest section. One thing that didn't happen at this symposium was that, since it was an 'invited' event, a volunteer was stationed at the door to check badges against her list of invitees; thus was Earl Stevick turned away and he disappeared down the hall before anyone could reach him to invite him back.

However, the 40 some-odd people who had been invited did discuss becoming an interest section. Toward this end we went so far as to elect a chair. As David Sanders had taken the initiative to organize and convene the symposium, he was elected first chair of the interest section-to-be. Next on the agenda was election of an associate-chair. John Higgins was nominated, but he declined saying he was too busy for such an obligation and could not guarantee regular trips to TESOL conferences from the UK. Other sterling candidates were nominated: Frank Otto, Randall Jones, and Roger Kenner, but all similarly declined before Paul Hardin at last accepted his nomination. In order to make it a contest, someone nominated me as well. Paul and I left the room and on return I found that I had been elected associate chair of what we hoped would soon become an interest section in TESOL.

A steering committee was then elected, among whom was Roger Kenner, who took on the role of "Official Secretary", a job which from all appearances he has never relinquished. Roger has maintained an archive of CALL-IS history from its inception to now. His "A Short History of the Founding of the CALL-IS Interest Section" deals specifically and in greater detail than here with the behind-the-scenes leading up to the Toronto symposium and the years immediately after. http://rkenner.concordia.ca/call_is/founding.htm.

Despite the fact that, according to Roger's record, the symposium had been orchestrated to lead to the formation of an interest section, this was another thing that didn't happen in Toronto. We soon learned that certain steps in the procedures we would have to follow could not be taken until the next year's convention. Meanwhile, David Sanders developed other interests and his place in our lobbying efforts was assumed by his colleague at Concordia, Roger Kenner. These developments were communicated among the principles (David and Roger in Canada, the TESOL front office in Virginia, and me in Hawaii) through snail mail (what we used to call 'regular' mail).

We had managed to muster enough favorable reaction in Toronto among the higher-ups in TESOL that Roger and I were each treated to a night in the Hyatt in Houston, 1984, in order to attend a day-long TESOL leadership workshop there. Here we learned the hoops we would have to jump through in our interest section bid and how to approach them. Our proposal had to be put before each existing interest section, as each would have to decide how to direct its delegates to vote at the mid-week Interest Section Council meeting, where Roger and I would appear to make our case in person. The approval of other interest sections was crucial and fraught with politics. More interest sections meant greater subdivision of the pot of limited resources available to all interest sections (e.g. money, hence pages, for newsletters) and dilution of influence in the Interest Section Council, so that it was in the interest of the most powerful interest sections to stringently vet newcomers. However, our argument that we represented a substantive issue in TESOL backed with a groundswell of support won the day, and our petition was approved.

During the week, we met frequently with our co-conspirators in the spacious atrium of the Hyatt. When we learned we needed to quickly draft a Statement of Purpose for our group, Joan Jamieson picked up a napkin off the table and began jotting down our working notes and handed these over to Roger. Don Loritz, who was way ahead of most of us with his LISP-based parsers, happened to have brought his 'portable' with him (which in those days meant 'a kind of typewriter') so Roger went up to Don's room and clattered out the document we needed to attain the next hurdle in the ratification process.

Once the Interest Section Council approves an interest section its recommendation goes before the Executive Board, which meets after the conference and, assuming it supports the recommendations of the Interest Section Council, and then appoints the new interest section's chair and associate chair. As our group's two spokespersons behind the scenes at the Houston convention, Roger and I made sure that the right people had our names spelled correctly, and we were informed of our appointments later in the year.

The concept of the CALL-IS Hospitality Room and its evolution into the Electronic Village is another thread that is worth pursuing in tracking the development of the interest section. As mentioned in Roger's documents, I organized the first software fair in Houston in 1984. There was no precedent for this, but those of us presenting became aware that each of us was developing software the others might like to examine at leisure. So, at the next software fair organized by Roger and I in New York in 1985, I remember that some of us stayed behind to copy our freeware onto each other's 'five-and-a-quarter inch' truly flexible floppies before the computers we had assembled could be packed away at the end of the session. Neither Roger nor I were in Anaheim in 1986, but Roger's documents state that the first 'Hospitality Room' appeared at that conference. In 1987, Macey Taylor turned a room in the convention hotel in Miami into a CALL-IS Hospitality Room. She set up her Amiga there along with some DOS PCs and Apple IIe computers and kept it open to those wishing to drop by and learn more about our interest section. Roger recalls that the following year, 1988 in Chicago, Peter Lee arranged to provide computers for a Hospitality Room and crimes had to be committed and concealed through discrete tipping to get them in and out of the conference center, past the union watchdogs.

The idea of assembling computers in one place for the purpose of presenting language learning software led to the establishment of a regular venue for sharing and exchanging it. Soon, freeware and shareware software collections for Apple, Mac, PC, Commodore, etc. were maintained by separate librarians for each different platform. The collections themselves were brought to each conference; lists were published in newsletters during the year, and copies of the software were mailed to people who sent money to cover cost of postage and diskettes. In 1989 Claire Bradin Siskin compiled a number of these lists into one big list and brought it to San Antonio with her. She remembers that "before the conference started, I ran off about 100 copies and put them in the HR. They immediately disappeared, and people kept demanding copies of it. I think that we had neither money nor time to keep on making more copies, so we took one master copy and put it at the central handouts booth. The funny thing then was that the master copy kept disappearing from the handouts booth, and they kept asking me for a new master copy! I remember taking some people's addresses and mailing the list to them after the conference. None of us had anticipated the great demand for the list, and this experience was probably what led Deborah and Norm to start the first 'official' CALL-IS list the following year." (quoted from email 17 May 2003, with Claire's permission).

Deborah Healey and Norm Johnson produced biannual print-version updates of the CALL-IS Software List from 1990 through the rest of the decade. The 1999 version is still listed in TESOL Publications, http://www2.tesol.org/pubs/catalog/tech.html, and it was for a time a source of revenue for CALL-IS as well as TESOL. Claire recalls one important aspect of this arrangement: "When CALL-IS gave TESOL the rights to sell the printed version of the list, Deborah made sure that CALL-IS retained the rights to the electronic version. This is significant because it meant that in the many workshops that Deborah and I and others gave in the subsequent years, we could legally distribute the electronic file on a floppy disk [and] why we can have the list available on the Web today." http://oregonstate.edu/dept/eli/softlist (quoted from email 17 May 2003, with Claire's permission).

By now commercial vendors at TESOL had begun to take what was by-and-large a healthy interest in CALL-IS and the librarians were becoming heir to boxes of donated commercial software that had to be stored between conferences and then shipped to the next venue. In 1993, Deborah Healey and Jim Buell greatly aided the management of this situation by arranging through Lloyd Holliday at La Trobe University in Australia for the CALL-IS public domain, shareware, and commercial demo software collections (and the electronic version of the CALL-IS Software List) to become available via FTP from CELIA (Computer Enhanced Language Instruction Archive) http://www.latrobe.edu.au/education/celia/celia.html. Then in 1996, with the instigation of Elizabeth Hanson-Smith, these materials were ported to a CD-ROM which was published by TESOL. http://www2.tesol.org/pubs/catalog/tech.html.

As the Hospitality Room grew into a place where conference delegates could come each year to try out a growing collection of commercial and non-commercial software in a setting free of promotion and bias, the job of arranging for the computers at each conference, installing software on them, and maintaining and networking them grew increasingly complex and labor-intensive. Roger mentions the guitar jams we used to have late at night in the CALL Hospitality Rooms. These occurred because CALL-IS volunteers and steering committee members used to have to work late nights after each conference day to maintain the computer software and networking in the HR (networking was a late development - initially we resorted to 'sneaker-net' - and Deborah nostalgically recalls hours happily "spent copying those damn shareware floppies" (quoted from email 16 May 2003, with Deborah's permission). We would keep our guitars under the tables during the day and send out for food and drinks as darkness fell. Early to late evening we'd maintain and copy, and man you shoulda heard us, just about midnight.

Roger notes that 1997 in Orlando was the year that the HR became known as the EV, or Electronic Village. By now the CALL-IS has succeeded in getting TESOL to contract out for setup and maintenance, and network administration, of the EV, and CALL-IS organizers can walk away from the conference like everyone else after the last discussion session has wrapped up. This has led to marked improvements in the stress and sleep deprivation levels of the organizers, but has also to loss of what used to be a great source of entertainment and community spirit in what was once a much smaller and very close knit CALL-IS. But size has its advantages as well, and it is gratifying to see events set in motion 20 years ago develop into an interest section whose many offshoots have become institutionalized for the benefit to so many people.

And that is how CALL IS began. But there's a lot more, much of it recorded in Roger's "The CALL Interest Section Community History"http://rkenner.concordia.ca/call_is/call_is.htm, accessible via the History link from the CALL-IS home page at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~call/. If you read through this, you can't fail to notice first that Roger has taken great pains to document our beginnings and maintain that record. You also can't fail to notice that as the years go on, the documentation gets sparser. Who is going to fill in the gaps and refresh the record before memory fades? Could it be you? If you can help, contact roger.kenner@concordia.ca.


CELIA (Computer Enhanced Language Instruction Archive). Retrieved May 15, 2003 from http://www.latrobe.edu.au/education/celia/celia.html (timing out May 20, 2003)

Healey, D. and Johnson, N. (1999). CALL IS Software List Produced by the TESOL CALL Interest Section. Alexandra VA: TESOL. Electronic version retrieved May 20, 2003 from http://oregonstate.edu/dept/eli/softlist

Kenner, R. (2000, 2003). The CALL Interest Section Community History. Retrieved May 20, 2003 from http://rkenner.concordia.ca/call_is/call_is.htm

Kenner, R. (1996). A Short History of the Founding of the CALL-IS Interest Section. Retrieved May 20, 2003 fromhttp://rkenner.concordia.ca/call_is/founding.htm

TESOL CALL-IS Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section. (2003). Retrieved May 20, 2003 from http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~call/

TESOL / CELIA '96 CD-ROM: Computer-enhanced language instruction archive. (1996). TESOL/CALL-IS/La Trobe University CD-ROM. Alexandra VA: TESOL.

TESOL Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (2003). Technology. Retrieved May 20, 2003 from http://www.tesol.org/

About This Member Community Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section

Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) exists to work toward a definition of issues and standards in CALL, to facilitate communication and exchange, to contribute to the computer orientation of other members of TESOL, and to foster research into the role of CALL in language learning.

Community Leaders:

Chair: Greg Kessler, kessler@ohio.edu
Chair-Elect: Susanne McLaughlin, smclaugh@roosevelt.edu
Newsletter Editor: Chris Sauer, csauer@dwci.edu
Discussion e-list: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected/ to join CALLIS-L, or http://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=callis-l if you are already a subscriber.
Web site: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~call/