PLCC 2016 Conference Report

“The Design and Research Potential of Crow for Language Research and Teaching”

by Sherri Craig and Jie (Wendy) Gao

The 2016 Purdue Languages and Cultures Conference (PLCC) was the first time the School of Languages and Cultures partnered with the Second Language Studies graduate program to host an interdisciplinary three day conference. This unique structure offered a perfect opportunity for Crow to have its inaugural presentation, titled “The Design and Research Potential of Crow for Language Research and Teaching” provided by Sherri Craig and Jie (Wendy) Gao.
Listed in the conference program as part of a corpus linguistics panel, the presentation focused on answering a few questions: What is corpus? What is Crow? What are the previous research projects and future research opportunities related with Crow? How is the Crow project progressing?

At the date of the presentation, March 6, 2016, Crow was still in its beginning stages. Therefore, much of the presentation revealed a preliminary introduction of the whole project, and reported all the work the team had completed so far, including the environmental scans and persona and scenario design work. During the PLCC presentation, Sherri and Wendy revealed Crow’s ties to three previous projects rooted in the Purdue Second Language Studies program and Rhetoric and Composition program: COIN, PSLW, and the 2014-15 ICaP Assessment. Each of these previous projects contained elements of Crow’s new goals. COIN, now a defunct program, attempted to gather pedagogical materials for an online repository. PSLW is an active corpus of texts from second language writers containing over 3.4 million words. And the 2014-15 ICaP Assessment, led by Dr. Jennifer Bay, began to evaluate the pedagogical needs of writing instructors by gathering student texts and teaching materials. Despite the strength of the previous programs, Crow was designed to bring the interests of the SLS program and RC program together to develop an online repository and corpus for a broader audience.

After discussing the overview and related projects, the Sherri and Wendy discussed the environmental scans performed on MICUSP and Sketch Engine before discussing the 4 personas that inspire the user design.

Overall the PLCC presentation went off without a hitch. During Q&A the audience members were very interested in how to make better use of corpus in the future. One listener even asked if they could use Crow for their own work and courses. Others asked quite a lot of technical questions about the design of the future site and the development of the project and corpus. With the help of Dr. Staples and Dr. Dilger in the audience, all the questions were responded to and excitement for Crow spread. Everyone in attendance, including Sherri and Wendy, were strongly motivated to see how this project will develop as progress continues.

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