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Ameritech Fellowship will fund Spanish language program for health-care professionals

Applying IT to language training, Fong-Morgan is developing a way to accommodate the busy schedules of nursing students who want to acquire conversational language skills.
Jennifer Good (left) and Bridget Fong-Morgan teamed up to develop a voice recognition system for teaching Spanish.
Bridget Fong-Morgan, assistant professor of Spanish at IU South Bend, is one of 17 IU faculty members from across the state to receive an Ameritech Fellow Award for innovation in the application of information technology to teaching and learning.

Fong-Morgan will receive $15,000 for “Spanish for Health-Care Personnel: Supporting the Novice Learner Through Technology.” The money will be used for the technology and support equipment.

The Ameritech Fellows program was created in 1999 with a $1 million grant from SBC Ameritech to support faculty in their efforts to effectively integrate the use of technology for campus and distance learning.

The 100-level Spanish class will be designed for nursing students so they can take vocabulary drills and oral exams over their home phones using a voice recognition system. The instructor will be able to download their work and listen. Later, the instructor will give feedback through E-mail, phone or fax.

The pilot program will be offered in the fall. Students will use a first-year textbook and workbook that uses specialized Spanish for their profession and emphasizes conversational skills.

The class will offer flexibility and can be completed within a year.

Another Spanish class, geared for public safety students, will be developed within the next few years.

The idea for a voice recognition system struck Fong-Morgan when she was programming her own voice mail. “The system recognized when I stopped talking and asked if I wanted to continue.”

That recognition sparked her research on the possibility that a program could be developed at IU South Bend for language classes.

Fong-Morgan received support and assistance from fellow language instructor Jennifer Good and from other members of the department and college.

According to Good, there is great potential for teaching language through the program once the platform is built and the template is developed.

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Publication date: January 31, 2003
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