SONJA BURROWS, PhD | Portfolio

School in Italy | A Middlebury CV Starr School Abroad

Project Description: This learning space is designed to help orient students with no language training in Italian as a preparatory step to readying for a study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. The space includes cultural preparation lessons as well as “survival Italian” language training for novice level learners. Here, students preparing for their study abroad experience can access information about the city, an interactive map, videos created by former students describing the language pledge, handbook materials, and basic phrases in Italian.

Design: This space is built with a full-installation of WordPress and designed in partnership with staff and leadership at Middlebury’s School in Italy, Office of International Programs, and Italian Summer Language School. Design highlights include clear navigation, captivating visuals of Florence, audio-supported language games for learning Italian, a custom-created interactive map of the city, and short, entertaining videos created by former students about their experience learning Italian.

Additional Features: In addition to the language and cultural supports mentioned above, a primary objective of this learning space is to provide learning materials to help new students of Italian prepare for their immersive language-learning experience under the Language Pledge. The Language Pledge is an agreement signed by students in this program that they will use only Italian for the duration of their study experience in Florence. Thus, this space includes a suite of videos and written materials which help to orient students to the Pledge and also provide them with tips from alumni about how to survive using only Italian when you are just learning the language. Additional highlights include a curated list of recommended films, books, and music playlists all in Italian.

Sonja Burrows served as lead Instructional Designer on this project as part of her work with Middlebury’s Office of Digital Learning and Inquiry. Read more about this project here.


Back to Portfolio