The language lab software includes Babilon, a system that allows groups of students to talk to each other over the network under the supervision of the instructor. Students in each group speak directly to other members of the same group. Using Babilon, the instructor can:
The Babilon screen shows icons for the waiting list as well as icons for
the currently configured groups.
To display the users in the groups, the instructor would click the mouse on the suitable icon along the bottom edge of the screen. The icons shown here are all empty. That is, there are no users present in either the waiting list, or any of the groups.
If there are users in the waiting list, the icon would be displayed as is seen here.
If there are users currently in a group, the group icon would show as is seen here.
When students first select the Babilon entry in the menu, they are presented with a message saying Waiting for Assignment. These students are in the waiting list. The instructor that is controlling the Babilon session may view the students waiting by clicking on the Wait icon and it will open to a list as shown on the right.
Any students that are currently signed on and waiting are shown in blue. Other students that have signed off are shown in white on black. These students may still be placed into groups so that when they sign back on they will start work in that group.
To place students in groups with other students they are removed from the waiting list by clicking on them once with the mouse (or using the cursor keys) and then typing the letter on the keyboard of the group that they are to be assigned to. By clicking on the icon for a specific group, the instructor may observe the students who are in that group.
If it is desired to move a student between groups, the mouse may be used to click on the student to be moved and highlight it, then typing the new group letter that they are to be moved to. The change happens immediately.
By clicking on a student in a group, the system also selects and makes that group active for other operations such as listening to the group, joining the group, or talking to a specific student in a group.
The students may be moved from groups and back into the waiting list by clicking on the student with the mouse and then pressing the Space Bar on the keyboard.
The screen below shows a student's screen.
An instructor can choose to either join a group or to listen to a
group. The group must first be selected by
clicking on the group with the mouse so that the caption bar on
the group turns blue. Then, using
one of these buttons:
With this button the instructor can listen to the conversation in a group. The students do not hear the instructor talking or have any indication that the instructor is listening. The highlight moves from student to student in the group to indicate which student is talking.
This button lets an instructor join a group as another member. The instructor can hear the conversation in the group and the students can hear the instructor. The students also see the instructor's name appear on the group list displayed on their screens. The highlight moves from student to student in the group to indicate which student is talking.
The buttons can be pressed either with the F2 and F3 function keys or by clicking on the screen button with the mouse.
Accessing the Options selection from the menu bar displays a menu with the following choices:
Selecting this option calls the selected student. Student and instructor talk directly to each other. Other members of the student's group cannot hear the conversation. The student is notified by the message "Attention, Speak to your Professor". The instructor can terminate the call by pressing the Exit button.
Selecting this option allows the instructor to talk to all students in the class. Pressing the Exit button terminates the broadcast.
There are two modes for assigning students to groups. In manual mode
students sign on and wait to be assigned to a group. The instructor
must select each student and assign the student to a group.
If the assignment is set to Automatic students are automatically assigned to groups. The computer tries to make sure that no student is left alone in a group. If necessary, other students are taken from their groups to provide company to a student who would otherwise be alone.
Selecting this option cancels all group assignments. Student names
are removed from the screen. If group assignment is set to manual,
students who are signed on reappear in the waiting list. If group
assignment is set to auto, students are reassigned to new groups.
This option also permits the changing of the number of members a group may have. If changed, the group icons are redrawn indicating the newly selected number of members.
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