Welcome back to campus! As the leaves start to turn brown around us, we wanted to share a few updates on the current state of the Virtual Reality Initiative in Spanish and Portuguese.
Drs. Claudia Quevedo-Webb and Juliano Saccomani are working at full speed on the project both at UChicago and beyond.
This past summer, Dr. Saccomani received the Provost’s Global Faculty Award in order to foster a partnership with the Tourism Education Department of Universidade Federal Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro. Alongside the host professor, Ari Fonseca Filho, they put together a week-long colloquium at the University of Niterói. In the event, several professors and students talked about their research and other critical aspects of tourism in Rio de Janeiro as they relate to society, history, literature, cinema, and much more. Saccomani also collected media material to be used in the Portuguese classes at UChicago.
Dr. Quevedo-Webb has been working closely with a partner in Spain, Claudia González Crespo, a gastronomy expert from Santander who resides in Madrid. Claudia is constantly collecting and sending materials for new and exciting activities in Spanish regarding food traditions, daily conversations, and historical places.
Together, Claudia and Juliano have also presented their project in quite a few conferences, of which we can mention the “Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology”, at the “Symposium for Teaching with Technology 2022”, and they also presented their project during “Humanities Day 2022” on campus. The reception that the project gets from the audiences is encouraging and always gives them new ideas and possibilities to explore.
Now that they have experience with activities and good feedback from the audiences, they have presented a proposal for two higher-level courses (one in Spanish and one in Portuguese) to be implemented using virtual reality as a component that will foster discussion and projects. They worked together with their mentors, Ana Lima and Nené Lozada, in the proposal of the courses, and they will continue to work with them when the time to implement the courses comes around.
They would also like to extend a warm welcome to Nico Portugal, a new instructor in French who will be working with virtual reality in their program.
The Virtual Reality Project in Spanish and Portuguese is sponsored by the College Curricular Innovation Fund, and the Provost’s Global Faculty Award (Portuguese). We would also like to thank the Chicago Center for Teaching and Learning for supporting us with two consecutive Exploratory Teaching Group awards.