The Interactive Language Resource Center (ILRC) is the technical hub of the four foreign language departments at Miami University. Students enrolled in language courses use the ILRC to supplement and enhance their foreign language courses with language specific Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) software, access internet and network applications, and use various language learning specific software. Since the 1950s, when the Language Laboratory first opened to the public, the ILRC has strived to stay technologically advanced and up to date with the current trends in language learning techniques.
The ILRC serves a potential of 9,100+ student FTEs enrolled in language courses and yields about 17,800 visits each academic year. Since the ILRC began operations in 1956, we have recorded over 923,691 student visits to our facilities. In the 2007-2008 academic year the ILRC recorded an average of 11,500 visits; roughly 500 students were enrolled in summer sessions, 4,550 students were enrolled in Fall semester courses, and 4,100 students were enrolled in Spring semester courses. Students from several academic areas not related to the language departments within the university also have access to online movies and videos through our streaming video and file server. The ILRC also assists other areas in the university, such as students in the Departments and Programs of American Studies, Communication, Educational Psychology, English, Film Studies, History, Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, Music, and the Western Program. Since the language lab’s server inception in 2000, over 9,087,500 pages have been served, 27,083,800 requests have been made, and 4981GB of data has been transferred over Miami’s network to students learning foreign languages.
Additionally, the ILRC assists the Graduate School and the Department of Speech Pathology in administering the SPEAK test to all incoming graduate students whose native language is not English. The ILRC assists the College of Arts and Science, the four language departments, and the College’s Advising Office with the administration and maintenance of the foreign language placement exams throughout the year. During the summer of 2008 over 4,000 online placement tests were administered to 3,400+ incoming first year students and upperclass students enrolling in language courses for the first time.
The Interactive Language Resource Center is funded directly through the College of Arts and Science and is additionally supported through an endowment given to the ILRC by Mr. Phelps and Mrs. Beverly Wood. Without their gift, the ILRC would not be able to accomplish the language-related tasks that language students, faculty, and staff rely upon.
The ILRC Online
In 2001, Henry Montgomery (Class of 1960) provided a generous contribution to help the Classics Department in their efforts towards computerization and integrating computer technology into Classics courses. The Classics Department received a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help purchase a file server. Henry Montgomery and the Classics Department at Miami decided that it would be best for all the languages to share in this unique advance of technology and charged the Interactive Language Resource Center with finding the most cost effective solution to meet the needs of both the Classics Department as well as the needs of efficiently distributing information resources among all the foreign langauge departments.
The result was the first generation of the ILRC Online which was located at http://montgomery.cas.muohio.edu/. With additional funds provided by the Interactive Language Resource Center and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Montgomery File Server was born. The original server consisted of a 450MHz processor Macintosh G4 computer, a Macintosh X-Serve RAID which contains 1.26TB of data and ran Macintosh OS X 10.3 Server software.
In 2009, the second generation of the ILRC Online came to life through a $22,500 grant from Miami University’s Technical Fee Grant program. A new Macintosh X-Serve was purchased along with an 8TB Promise V-Track RAID storage array and Macintosh OS X 10.6 Server software.