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HT Modules

Spanish Modules Chinese Module

How to use our models

Every module presents a series of learning activities that were piloted in heritage and mixed heritage/L2 classes at CUNY colleges and partner institutions. The CUNY pilot classes were four hour–four credit courses that met twice a week, and they generally included approximately 30 students.

  • The modules can be used as they are or can be adapted according to the needs of your classroom in terms of level of proficiency, target content areas, unit duration, timeline of the activities, and geographical location of the classes involved in the project.
  • Considering the timelines of our pilot courses, each module was designed to be completed in a month. However, the sequence of activities can be adapted to fit shorter or longer timelines.
  • Every module was designed and implemented as a sequence of tasks, with each task composed of a sequence of activities; however, single tasks and activities can also be modified to be used as stand-alone telecollaborative projects.
  • The activities were designed to be used within a telecollaboration project run with a partner class. Activities, materials, and resources were aligned and used in parallel by the two courses. However, the sequence of activities, as well as individual activities, can be adapted to enhance collaboration among students within a single course that does not run a telecollaboration project with a partner course.
  • Prior to implementing the activities, it is important to allocate adequate time to prepare for the telecollaboration with your partner instructor, as well as set up the learning environment and prepare the students.
  • If you would like to use our materials but need assistance in creating variations/adaptations for your own classes, we would be happy to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

2018 Community-College-Language Forum

Community-College-Language Forum

May 4, 2018

The Graduate Center, CUNY

Co-sponsored by the
Center for Integrated Language Communities (CILC) and the
Modern Language Association (MLA)

Pre-conference workshops May 3, 2018

Keynote Speaker: Marty Abbott, Executive Director for ACTFL

Featured Presentation: Modern Language Association

Select papers of the conference will be published in a forthcoming issue of the ADFL Bulletin.

External Links

Materials for Instructors

1. The Arab Culture and Civilization website

Originally sponsored by NITLE, and offering a wealth of information about Arabic and the Arabic-speaking world, this site also contains several excellent articles on various aspects of Arabic, its dialects, and its development.

​2. Preparing Yourself to Teach FusHa and ‘Ammiyya:

A short video of Kristen Brustad and Mahmoud Al-Batal, authors of the Al-Kitaab Arabic Language Program, discussing the pedagogy behind the third edition of the series, which encourages the simultaneous teaching of MSA and dialect.

​Arabic-Language Resources

1. BBC Xtra Podcast

A well-produced, near-daily, call-in-format, Arabic-language podcast that covers a wide range of social, political and economic topics. A great potential resource for building listening exercises with more advanced students.

​2. Aswat al-Arabiyya

A wonderful resource of authentic listening materials, from the University of Texas at Austin.

3. Say What? Exploring Arabic Language Dialects

A very funny video from the National UAE, where speakers of various Arabic dialects compare vocabulary words with one another. Predictably, hilarity ensues.

​​4. CERCLL Native Speakers Series

A series of videos from the University of Arizona of native Arabic speakers talking about themselves in MSA.

​5. LARC at SDSU Native Speakers Interviews

A series of videos of native speakers answering questions in dialect and MSA, from the Language Acquisition Resource Center at San Diego State University.

​6. CERCLL Written Texts by Students of Arabic

A collection of authentic texts written by students of Arabic.

​​7. Arabic Dialects Video

An (imperfect) video containing demonstrations of speakers of many dialects in the Arabic-speaking world. *Note that some of the dialects are taken from the media or from non-spontaneous sources, and so are not so accurate as representations of local dialects.

​Non-Academic Articles about Fusha and Ammiyya

1. Is Arabic Really Just One Language?

A short piece on Slate about diglossia in Arabic.

2. Arabic: A Language with Too Many Navies

A short piece in the Economist on dialects and diglossia. A polarizing article (see the 9 pages of comments!).

​3. Translating “Frozen” Into Arabic

An article in the New Yorker by Elias Muhanna on translating Disney’s Frozen into Arabic.

​4. Learning Arabic from Egypt’s Revolution

A piece by Peter Hessler on learning Arabic in contemporary Egypt, which (despite some issues) makes some interesting points about the language.

5. Some Thoughts from Professor Emerita Aleya Rouchdy

An interesting blog post from Professor Aleya Rouchdy about various positions on the linguistic divide between Fusha and Ammiyya.

​6. الفصحى والعامية

An Arabic-language article from Jordanian Newspaper al-Gad on the subject.

​7. بين العامية والفصحى

A 2-part article on the issue of MSA and Ammiyya. Click here for the second part.

Surveys & Tests

Included here are surveys and screening materials that are currently in use at Hunter College. The content of these materials aligns with our Arabic program’s design and goals. Please feel free to use them as they are, or to adapt them to fit the design and goals of your own program. The initial survey is meant to be given to Arabic heritage learners at the beginning of their formal study at the university level. The final survey is meant to be given at the end of the HLL course sequence.

AHL Initial Survey

AHL Final Survey

Placement/Exemption Test

HLL Screening Tool


Active from 2014 to 2018, CILC (the Center for Integrated Language Communities) was a National Language Resource Center that focused on language education in the Community College context, heritage learners, and the use of educational technology to foster intercultural connections. A daughter center of ILETC, the grant that funded CILC concluded in August of 2018. This section of the ILETC site preserves the teaching materials and research products produced by CILC during its active grant cycle.

The output of CILC’s work can be viewed below:

  • Language at the Community College Nexus (LCCN)
    • This project provides the knowledge it generated about students and instructors of world languages at community colleges (CCs) across the U.S., including survey results, data sources, and references.
  • The Heritage Arabic e-Book (HAeB)
    • This free book includes assignments, tests, useful links for instructors, a glossary, heritage student profiles, and more.
  • Heritage Telecollaboration (HT)
    • These materials provide information about how to utilize digital communication platforms to enhance opportunities for long-distance interactions and intercultural experiences, specifically for foreign language instruction: materials, networks, a glossary, references, and more.
  • Writing Proficiency of Heritage Learners (WPHL)
    • This link provides a summary of important findings about heritage-learner writing proficiency, plus a downloadable assessment.

Additional information about CILC can be viewed below, and downloaded here (CILC Fast Facts) and here (CILC Fast Facts with Additional Details).

CILC Fast Facts_09-24-18 UPDATED 2022

CILC at ACTFL 2017

CILC was honored and excited to present several of our projects at the Annual Convention and World Languages Exposition of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in Nashville, Tennessee.

For those of you who could not attend, we are sharing our presentations on this page. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions!

Presentations are organized by project.

Language at the Community College Nexus


Heritage Arabic eBook


Heritage Telecollaboration


Writing Proficiency of Heritage Learners


Back from ACTFL 2016!

The weekend of November 18-20, CILC was honored and excited to present several of our projects at the Annual Convention and World Languages Exposition of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in Boston, Massachusetts.

We received very warm responses to our presentations and made many exciting connections with language educators and administrators from around the country. We extend a special thank-you to the ACTFL attendees who came to our presentations or stopped by the CILC booth. It was a privilege to meet you, and we hope this leads to many fruitful collaborations in the future!

For those of you who could not attend, we are sharing the presentations at the end of this blog post. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.


We would especially like to highlightTelePlaza, the platform we are launching to connect educators in the heritage Spanish field who are interested in conducting telecollaborations with other instructors and classes in the United States. As has been the case at other conferences, we saw a great deal of interest in TelePlaza from ACTFL attendees, and we anticipate quick development of the project over the coming months.

We are developing the platform now, beginning with the creation of a network of instructors. Over the course of the Spring semester, we will be putting together technical resources and pedagogical materials that you can use to implement telecollaborations in your classes.

Visit the Teleplaza site. Stay tuned for more details as the project develops!

ACTFL Presentations and Handouts

Below you will find our five ACTFL presentations, organized by project, and the project handouts (links go to PDFs, where available).

Heritage Telecollaboration

HT: What, Why, How?

Suggestions for Telecollaborative Web Tools

Suggestions for Telecollaborative Mobile Tools

Heritage Telecollaboration and the Construction of Latinx identity
(Michael Rolland, Prof. Laura Villa, Prof. Arancha Borrachero)

Intercultural Discussions with Foreign Partners Using Smartphones
(Valeria Belmonti)

Language at the Community College Nexus

LCCN: What, Why, How?

CILC Survey of Students and Instructors of Language at Community College
(Dr. Alex Funk)

Writing Proficiency of Heritage Learners

WPHL: What, Why, How?

Writing Proficiency of Chinese, Korean and Spanish Heritage Learners
(Dr. Alberta Gatti, Dr. Cynthia Martin, Dr. Elvira Swender, Dr. Teresa O’Neill, Inés Vañó García)

Heritage Arabic eBook

HAeB: What, Why, How? (Handout)

HT News: Fall 2016

From the desk of Valeria Belmonti.

Greetings from the Heritage Telecollaboration team!

We hope that everyone had as enjoyable and productive a summer as we did. Below are some updates from our projects and activities.

Project Development

During the summer, we finalized the design of two telecollaborative modules which will be piloted this semester in Professor Cheng’s Heritage Chinese class at Hunter College, in partnership with Professor Guo’s English class at Inner Mongolia Normal University in Hohhot, China.

This semester we will also begin to analyze the data collected in the other pilots that were run by HT faculty last year. The findings of this research will eventually be disseminated through publications; we will release more information about our studies and publications towards the end of this semester.


As communicated in June, our HT projects will be presented at the upcoming ACTFL Convention in Boston. Below you will find the details of our presentations. We hope to see you there!

Telecollaborative Mobile Apps

Presented During:  ACTFL Roundtable Presentations III
Friday, November 18, 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Room: Exhibit Hall A & B1

Roundtable Presenter: Valeria Belmonti

Participants will be introduced to freely available mobile applications that can assist in connecting students to other speakers or learners of the target language and engaging them in telecollaborative projects. Programs’ interface and setup will be demonstrated, followed by a discussion on sample learning activities and teaching ideas.

Heritage Telecollaboration and the Construction of US Latin@ Identity

Saturday November 19, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Room: Room 261

Session Presenters: Laura Villa, Aránzazu Borrachero, Michael Rolland

How can heritage language educators use telecollaboration (TC) to tackle questions of language variation and identity? Presenters will offer insights from two pilot courses connecting US Latin@ students from diverse areas and backgrounds, encouraging students to rethink Latin@ identity while working to expand their linguistic repertoires.

Intercultural Discussions with Foreign Partners Using Smartphones

Saturday, November 19, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Room: Room 204B

Session Presenter: Valeria Belmonti

The presentation shares a task-based model of telecollaboration in which students complete intercultural activities with foreign partners using the free mobile application WeChat. Sample tasks, assessments, excerpts from student chats and presentations, and the feedback of from students and instructors will be discussed.

PLEASE NOTE: Even though two of our sessions will take place simultaneously, you can also obtain more information about our projects by stopping by our booth during the convention!

Our Chinese HT projects will also be presented at the NECTFL 2017 Conference, which will take place in New York City, February 9–11, 2017. For more information please visit:http://www.nectfl.org/.


On October 1, we will conduct a professional development workshop for the language faculty at Bennington College, VT. The topic of the workshop will be Telecollaboration and Technology for Language Teaching and Learning. If you are an educator interested in organizing a technology professional development opportunity for your language teachers, please contact Valeria Belmonti at vbelmonti@gc.cuny.edu.


During the summer, we established a partnership with the UNI-Collaboration network, a European-based platform aimed at supporting the organization of online intercultural exchanges among universities. Our HT coordinator, Valeria Belmonti, has joined the Uni-Collaboration Liaisons Team and she will be, together with Sabine Levet at MIT, the US liaison to the UNI-Collaboration organization.

Inspired by the work of the Uni-Collaboration network and by the continuously growing interest for our Spanish HT projects, we are also in the process of creating a virtual network dedicated to US Spanish educators interested in designing domestic telecollaboration projects to explore topics and issues related to Latin@ Identity in the US. Stay tuned for more information.

Valeria Belmonti is the Associate Director of Technology at CILC and Coordinator of the Heritage Telecollaboration project.