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  • You can read more about Penn State at The main campus is located in University Park, but unlike other state institutions, Penn State Information Technology Services provides technology services for about 20 campus locations around the state ( Pennsylvania has two main urban centers (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh), but also large pockets of rural areas which have been economically depressed for several decades; therefore there has not as much immigration as in other parts of the country (although that is changing).
  • The different audiences come in with different sets of skills. American technology specialists may have strong skills in English language technology, but very little background in foreign languages. A foreign language instructor may understand the language, but not be proficient in technlogy. A non-U.S. student may be proficient in their original environment, but may not know which utilities need to be activated within an American operating system.
  • There were not many resources for including foreign languages in online courses until 2000. I focused on this issue partly because of lack of information and because of my linguistics background.
  • In 2000, I assumed that a general approach would cover most languages, and I did a series of seminars on “Foreign Language Support.” Not only were they sparsely attended, but did not address all questions asked by participants. Also users could not really understand enough Unicode to debug their own quirks (e.g. why you can create Spanish ñ, but not Czech ř on a Web page)
  • Each language has its own story - E.g. Hebrew requires RTL support; Arabic requires RTL support plus conjoined forms; Persian has additional letters; Chinese has two versions of the script, French œ different from ç. Each software has its own story - HTML uses entity codes; RSS/Flash can’t use entity codes; Word has special utilities not available elsewhere.
  • Each language got it’s own page. Even languages grouped together on one page (e.g. Spanish/Catalan) have had to be split. But each also links generic resources for keyboard setup and font repositories. I also added some notes about scripts and the language for monolingual US speakers. Typical By Language Page - (Old English) Typical Software Page - (Adobe Acrobat Connect)
  • Penn State people interested in Unicode include the Classroom Labs, Course Management System Help Desk, foreign language and linguistics instructors, Web developers,
  • Student Computing Labs at University Park are networked via a key server and provide the same utilities and software across multiple lab locations. Penn State supports both Windows and Mac (with one Linux lab). Labs at other campuses are sometimes the same as University Park, and sometimes different.
  • Global Writer is a foreign language text editor which includes a variety of fonts. One benefit is that users can quickly switch languages in a drop down menu. A floating keyboard palette shows which keys correspond with which character. East Asian utilites a special install because of file size issues. Penn Students activate them once and then can access them permanently.
  • Windows has roaming profiles - so Control Panel Settings are the same from terminal to terminal. Mac profiles are not roaming, but set up is fairly straightforward.
  • Penn State runs over 100 Sections of Spanish 1-3 combined; far more than any other language. RSS News page - feed://
  • Usage is different from Penn State, but very heavy in comparison to other sites in the TLT unit at Penn State.
  • Another problem was debugging Mac returns vs. Windows returns.
  • See for details
  • Class had 10 students so half the students used Global Writer and other half used Word with Arabic keyboard. We switched applications after 20 minutes. I also discovered that there’s usually at least one Mac user in the audience, even if the students are 85% Windows users.
  • See -
  • Sites which use lack an encoding meta tag are often garbled depending on the setting of the browser. I notice this a This issue and workaround is documented at - Although ANGEL is our vendor, I have encountered this problem across many educational technology products. This just indicates a lack of understanding of how to implement true Unicode support and its relatively low priority on many developers’ lists.
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    1. 1. Moving a Large Scale University to Unicode <ul><li>Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D. Teaching and Learning with Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Penn State University </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>About the Penn State Audience </li></ul><ul><li>Just-in-Time vs. Full Unicode Training </li></ul><ul><li>Working with the Computer Labs </li></ul><ul><li>Penn State Web Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Some i18n Tech Cases </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
    3. 3. Penn State <ul><li>Land-grant, state-supported </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twenty plus campuses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University Park: 40,000+ Students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Majority of students from Pennsylvania (many from rural Pennsylvania) </li></ul><ul><li>Strong in many disciplines, particularly sciences and engineering </li></ul>
    4. 4. Multiple Audiences <ul><li>Students & Staff from Pennsylvania & U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Students & Staff from outside U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Technology Support (many monolingual) </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors (foreign language, science) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Audience Needs Blank = wide variation Ideal Unicoder US Student Non-US Student Tech Support Instruct. 2nd Lang √ √ √ Tech Skills √ √
    6. 6. How this Started... <ul><li>Linguistics Ph.D. working as instructional technologist </li></ul><ul><li>Assigned to Spanish online course project in 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Assigned to Penn State Technology in Language Learning project in 2001 </li></ul>
    7. 7. Year 2000 Approach <ul><li>Explain principles of Unicode </li></ul><ul><li>Give details for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accents (Western Europe) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>East Asian Languages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide Links for other cases </li></ul><ul><li>Web Site & Seminar </li></ul>
    8. 8. Problems <ul><li>Low attendance of all Unicode seminars </li></ul><ul><li>Most users cannot connect Unicode principles with implementation </li></ul><ul><li>“Each language has its own story” </li></ul><ul><li>Each software application also has its own story </li></ul>
    9. 9. Modified Approach: Web <ul><li>Explain each language set up individually </li></ul><ul><li>Links to general resources on accent codes, keyboard setup, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Links to Web development tips (including original encoding tutorial) </li></ul><ul><li>Adding software specific pages (e.g. Adobe Connect) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    10. 10. Modified Approach: Other <ul><li>Maintain contact with foreign language instructors </li></ul><ul><li>Document foreign language utilities for tools as needed (e.g. course management system) </li></ul><ul><li>Informal group acts as clearing house for many foreign language tech issues </li></ul>
    11. 11. Computer Lab Utilities <ul><li>Fonts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TITUS Cyberbit (covers many scripts) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Doulos SIL (phonetic symbols) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Special Keyboards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Russian Phonetic Keyboards ASDF (Win) / Northwestern (Mac) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phonetic Symbol Keyboards UCL (Win) / SIL (Mac) </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. More Lab Utilities <ul><li>Global Writer (Win) Recommended by Comp. Lit. </li></ul><ul><li>East Asian Utilities (Win) Students must activate the Windows East Asian Utilities in Start Menu in their Penn State Windows Profile in order to access them in Control Panel </li></ul><ul><li>Others - Need to allow one semester to install and test utilities </li></ul>
    13. 13. Profiles in Lab <ul><li>Windows users need to activate utilities once in their profile and they remain active each time they log in. </li></ul><ul><li>Macintosh users need to activate utilities each time they log in to lab (no roaming profiles), but all languages visible. </li></ul>
    14. 14. International Web Site <ul><li>One main editor </li></ul><ul><li>Updated at least once per year </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New browsers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New operating systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actual testing whenever possible </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Web Site Usage: On Campus <ul><li>Windows Alt Codes (280+ hits in Sep 07) </li></ul><ul><li>Spanish (280+ hits in Sep 07) Spanish/Accent Codes often top TLT search </li></ul><ul><ul><li>French/German/Chinese/Arabic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hits for ca. 8-10 non-PSU taught languages Some may be learning Web development </li></ul><ul><li>RSS News Page (140+ hits) </li></ul>
    16. 16. Web Site Usage: Non-PSU <ul><li>Off campus & non-Penn State visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Popular Topics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Windows Alt Codes (120,000+ hits/ month) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HTML Entity Codes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>French, Spanish, Old English, German, Phonetics Chinese, Japanese, Korean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Math Symbols </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Windows Keyboard Setup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mac Extended Keyboard Accent Codes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Firefox Setup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HTML Entity Codes, Metatags, RTL Alignment, CSS, Encoding </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. i18n Tech: French PHP Quiz <ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>PHP Standard tool for Penn State, but UTF support weak until recent versions. </li></ul><ul><li>Programmer had glitches with œ (O+E) because it is technically outside Latin-1. </li></ul><ul><li>Had to resolve Mac vs. Windows text entry. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Creating Indic Language Web Pages <ul><li>Problem </li></ul><ul><li>Students from India taking courses in Web development at Penn State </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor wanted resources to allow development of native language sites </li></ul><ul><li>Solution </li></ul><ul><li>Addition of Indic script pages to Web site </li></ul>
    19. 19. i18n Tech: Math Symbols in Flash Quiz <ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>No entity codes allowed in XML or text files </li></ul><ul><li>Need text editor which recognizes UTF files </li></ul><ul><li>Byte Order may matter in older versions of Flash </li></ul><ul><li>CSS should specify Arial Unicode for Windows </li></ul>
    20. 20. Teaching Students to Type Arabic <ul><li>Global Writer preferred to other word processors because of usability. </li></ul><ul><li>Limited licenses for Global Writers (5 concurrent uses) made demo a challenge. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor felt students should learn handwriting, so was not sure how she would implement in the future. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Chinese Course in Adobe Acrobat Connect <ul><li>Adobe Connect (formerly Macromedia Breeze) a synchronous collaboration tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes “Note Pod” for messages & “Chat Pod” </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor will need to activate keyboard to use Chinese. </li></ul><ul><li>Mac users need to cut and paste from Text Edit into pods in Acrobat Connect. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Spanish Quiz in Course Managment System <ul><li>Many vendors still use ISO-8859-1 as a Web page encoding (without the meta tag) Problematic for browsers set to UTF-8. </li></ul><ul><li>Mac input not always recognized. </li></ul><ul><li>Quizzes in non Western European languages may not work as expected </li></ul>
    23. 23. General Lessons Learned <ul><li>Just-in-time is the key. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget the math symbols...or the em-dash (—). </li></ul><ul><li>Every project has its own kinks. The key is to document them somewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>People are excited to learn this...once they realize they need it. </li></ul>