EACL 1999 Workshop


ELSNET co-organized with Mike Rosner (University of Malta) a workshop on Computer and Internet Supported Education in Language and Speech Technology at EACL 1999 in Bergen, Norway.

The idea for organizing a workshop on this topic was motivated by positive experiences with the Socrates Thematic Network for Speech Communication Sciences.


Our field is such that curricula have always been closely related to computational theories and related tools. However, the tools that are available are often no more than unrefined versions of programs developed in research laboratories that authors have generously made available to the public.

Consequently, the relationship between available tools and the goals of Education in Language and Speech Technology (ELST) is, more often than not, a casual one that individual course designers may seek to strengthen by, for example, adapting the functionality of the tools themelves, the user interface, the context in which they are presented, etc. In other cases, computatational tools are specially developed to suit the needs of particular courses. Given the number of courses in existence whose aims are basically rather similar, it is reasonable to suppose that a lot of work is being unnecessarily repeated.

One of the concrete objectives of this workshop is to establish a registry of computational tools that are currently being used to support ELST. A related aim, is to consider whether it is feasible or desirable to adopt common approaches to the development of tools and environments specifically designed with educational goals in mind.

No such discussion can be seriously entertained without also considering the role of internet which gives us the means to deliver course components, if not complete courses, at a distance. The advantages of internet delivery in general are obvious: practically limitless multimedia resources, asynchronous patterns of connection, access to world expertise, flexible styles of interaction ranging from student-centered, resource-oriented teaching to interactive virtual classroom discussions and demonstrations -- and more. Far less clear, and far less considered, are:

  • the particular areas of ELST where internet delivery is likely to have significant advantages over other computer-based delivery media such as CD ROM.
  • the special nature of course materials/authorware that are available or that need to be developed to support internetbased distance learning in the area of language and speech technology.

It came as no surprise that submitted papers did not fall into crisply defined categeories. Therefore, for the purposes of the workshop programme, papers to be presented have been fairly coursely sorted into three categories, each of which forms the title of a session. These are: tools (which comes after the keynote), courses, and environments. Tools have limited but well defined functionality and are typically portable: they can be used in a variety of contexts. Courses are altogether larger and less portable, but provide a coherent and temporally extended pedagogical experience to the learner. Environments are essentially a collection of support facilities that may well come into existence before the exact nature of the contents is known. The main idea here is to stimulate the development and evolution of such contents -- which might well take the form of tools and courses. The workshop offers a forum -- albeit a brief one -- for the presentation and discussion of the above issues and other related ones.

A medium/long term aim of this initiative is the establishment of a more permanent framework (e.g. a special interest group under the auspices of the learned associations and/or ELSNET) within which the educational issues in our field could be given the time and attention they deserve. I would like to express my sincere thanks to ELSNET, who have kindly sponsored our keynote speaker, to the programme committee and to the authors for making this event possible.

Workshop programme

Session 1: Courses
09.00-0905 Steven Krauwer (Utrecht): Welcome and Opening
09.05-10.00 Invited Speaker
Jo Calder (Edinburgh) 
Diamonds on My Windshield
The Use of Computer-based Instruction in Computational Linguistics
10.00-10.30 Gosse Bouma (Groningen) A Modern CL Course Using Dutch
10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
Session 2: Tools
11.00-11.30 D. Gibbon (Bielefeld)
J. Carson-Berndsen (Dublin) 
Web Tools for Introductory Computational Linguistics
11.30-12.00  W. Black (Manchester)
S. Hill (Manchester)
M. Kassaei (Manchester) 
Intranet Learning Tools for NLP
12.00-12.30 M. Cooke (Sheffield) Interactive Auditory Demonstration
12.30-13.30 Lunch Break
Session 3: Environments
13.30-14.00 D. Arnold (Essex) Web Access to Corpora: the W3Corpora Project
14.00-14.30 L. Borin (Uppsala)
M. Dahllöff (Uppsala)
A Corpus-Based Grammar for ELST
14.30-15.00 F. Verdejo (Madrid)
J. Gonzalo (Madrid)
A. Peñas (Madrid)
An ODL Web Course for NLP in IR
15.00-15.30 Coffee Break
Session 4. Present and Future
15.30-16.00 K. de Smedt (Bergen) ACO*HUM Survey
16.00-16.30 M. Rosner (Malta) Discussion and Proposal for ELST SIG
17.00 End of Workshop

Programme committee

The programme committe for this workshop consisted of:

Michael Rosner, University of Malta, email: mros@cs.um.edu.mt (coordinator)
Doug Arnold, University of Essex, UK
Gerrit Bloothooft, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Chris Bowerman, University of Sunderland
Anders Erikkson, Umea University, Sweden
Steven Krauwer, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Mark Huckvale, University College of London, UK
Fabio Pianesi, ITC-IRST, Trento, Italy
Koenraad de Smedt, University of Bergen, Norway
Mark Tatham, University of Essex, UK
Maria Wolters, University of Bonn, Germany
Felisa Verdejo, Spanish Open University, Madrid, Spain


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