Posted: 9/17/15

TAMIU Students Go ‘Mango’ for Global Language Learning


TAMIU students enjoy using 'Mango Languages'

             With an international mission and scope, it’s no surprise that Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) would afford its students opportunities to advance their foreign language learning.  At TAMIU, that advance is powered by an innovative online program engagingly named “Mango Languages,” offered by the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

            “Mango Languages” is a web-based program that makes language learning fun and engaging. Linked to the campus it serves, Mango offers a choice of over 70 languages and 16 courses for English-as-a-Second Language, each keyed to the learner’s native language.  There are languages from every continent, said Rodney Webb, TAMIU Killam Library reference/government documents librarian.

            “We were looking for a program that was based on sound foreign language learning methodology, but that was as fun and engaging for learners as possible.  Our selection criteria included cost and value, coverage of languages taught at TAMIU or of interest to our University community, robust user-support, convenience of tracking individual learning activity and a system for faculty to monitor student progress in cases where the learner is enrolled in a University course. TAMIU students, faculty and staff may sign up at no cost for Mango without being enrolled in any university language courses,” Webb explained.

            The Library’s offering is in keeping with the national trend for foreign language program services to expand from classrooms to Library-based subscriptions.  TAMIU joins several other Texas A&M University System campuses in providing Mango Languages to students, faculty and staff.

            Launched this past July, Webb said response to Mango Languages has been strong and its growth dynamic.

“Summer use began primarily with English as a Second Language (ESL) students at our International Language Institute. Usage over the past month included 334 sessions with an average session of 21 minutes, yielding a total of approximately 6, 914 minutes or 115 hours of use.  Interestingly, Japanese is the fourth most-accessed course, although it is not close in use to the European languages,” he observed.

            With the start of the Fall semester, other course growth has started, he said.

            “French and Spanish courses have taken off, and we anticipate more usage as more professors sign up their classes and more individuals discover Mango.  We recently spoke with our Portuguese professor who is bringing his classes on line.  We have also begun to promote Mango to University College leadership and within our Study Abroad program,” Webb added.

            “Mango Languages” provides a new tool for the international University to provide global competencies and perspective, he stressed.

             “It’s highly relevant to our mission and programs and is closely tied to some of our most popular programs including TAMIU Reading the Globe, Study Abroad, ESL, Film Classes or Film Interests and, of course, Foreign Language Classes,” Webb said.

              Among features that help underscore learning and fun components of Mango Languages are the ability to download an app to learn online or download to user’s device; the use of  “semantic color mapping” which uses color coding between parts of a sentence in the language of study and the translation in one’s native language to help visualize the relationship; a placement test to establish a starting point for those with previous language knowledge; “voice comparison,” to record user speech and hear compared with native speakers, and Mango Premiere, a foreign language film collection that covers an available core of Mango Languages, letting thes viewer engage with the film with subtitles in the language of study, complete with replay, visual translations and cultural notes.

               Webb noted that Mango Languages is just one of several online Killam Library opportunities for personalized learning and growth.

              “While our online library services are licensed products that restrict off-campus use to our faculty, students and staff, local community members can access them on-site in the Library.  Mango Languages can be accessed at: http://library.tamiu.edu:2048/login?url=https://connect.mangolanguages.com/tamiu/start  

               “Other online services are LearningExpress Library, an interactive online learning platform that provides a comprehensive selection of career-oriented and academic resources available to help with job preparation, career advancement, career changes, and re-entry into the workforce. There are also online services in the fine and performing arts such as ARTstor, a digital library of 1 million-plus images in art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes, and personal enjoyment. 

               “Also, NAXOS Music Library is an online, digital audio collection of music including classical music, contemporary jazz, blues and folk legends, Chinese music, pop and rock, and gospel.  It can be searched and accessed by artists, genres and labels, and includes a guided tour by eras such as Baroque, classical, romantic and nationalism in the romantic era, among others,” Webb said.

                    For additional information on Mango Languages or other online Library services, contact Webb at the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library at 956.326.2119, email rwebb@tamiu.edu or click on the Library’s web site, http://library.tamiu.edu