UCL News


New foreign language TV and radio facility

25 February 2009

Audience at IPTV launch

A new internet protocol TV (IPTV) facility, funded by the SOAS-UCL ‘Languages of the Wider World’–Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (LWW-CETL), was officially launched on 18 February at the UCL Language Space by Professor Michael Worton, the UCL Vice-Provost. The facility, available to staff and students, has been introduced to promote language teaching, though it has the potential to be used by most departments and individuals at UCL.

IPTV is a satellite system that gathers TV and radio signals and then feeds them into a network so that they can be viewed on a computer in broadcast quality. The system at UCL currently has about 40 channels, including Al Jazeera (Arabic), France 2 (French), and Rai1 (Italian), in 18 languages, such as Dutch, Czech and Mandarin. 

The facility is currently available on computers in UCL Language Space (1-4 Malet Place), Language Study (room 311/312, Foster Court) and the Language Centre (26 Bedford Way). IPTV will be rolled out in seminar rooms across language departments and is currently being introduced in the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) and UCL Anthropology.

The support team that co-ordinated the facility comprises Sibylle Nalezinski, LWW-CETL IT & Multimedia Support Officer, James Grindrod, LWW-CETL Administrator, and Chris Dillon, UCL Faculty Information Support Officer for Arts & Humanities.

During the launch, Sibylle Nalezinski and James Grindrod provided an introduction to IPTV, while Chris Dillon gave a demonstration of how the facility can be used in a pedagogical setting. He taught the audience two Japanese clues to help them solve a puzzle in a previously recorded extract from a Japanese television drama: ‘ippun mae’ (meaning one minute ago) and ‘yokatta’ (meaning thank goodness). He played the recorded clip and asked the audience what it was about; a member of the audience correctly guessed ‘time travel’. Such methods are effective for immersing students into the target language.

IPTV launch

Aside from broadcasting ‘live’ TV channels, in the future digital recordings could be made of news, documentaries and films and accessed at a suitable time for the user. James Grindrod discussed the possibility of filming lectures and broadcasting them simultaneously to other sites on campus. For instance, a surgical procedure could be filmed and made available to medical students through on-demand viewing. 

Professor Itesh Sachdev, Director of the LWW-CETL, said: “I am very pleased that students, teachers, researchers and visitors at UCL will have access to a myriad of languages and cultures at their finger tips as a result of this collaboration between UCL and SOAS. Such access provides wonderful learning experiences and opportunities not only for students of languages but also those interested in cultures, media studies, area studies, the arts, history, geography and a whole host of other subjects. 

“For teachers, the pedagogical opportunities are endless, providing an on-demand video and information service, fed directly through the network, providing access to news, entertainment, information channels, up-to-date financial information at PC points on the UCL network. The potential for IPTV at UCL for delivering information and entertainment , for internal and external broadcasts, for teaching and learning subjects ranging from language to medicine, is enormous and waiting to be further developed and realised.”

The implementation of the facility was made possible through the co-operation and hard work of several UCL departments, including Information Services, Audio-Visual, Estates & Facilities, and Procurement.

For more information on this story, follow the links the at the top of the page or contact Sibylle Nalezinski

Image above

From left to right: Prof Itesh Sachdev, Prof Michael Worton, Sibylle Nalezinski, James Grindrod, and Chris Dillon


UCL Context: SOAS-UCL ‘Languages of the Wider World’–Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Learning

LWW-CETL, established by UCL’s Faculty of Arts & Humanities and School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), is part of a nationwide initiative by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to promote excellent teaching practice that benefits students, teachers and institutions.  The LWW-CETL is the only centre dedicated to language teaching and learning in England.

The centre aims to enhance the expertise of UCL and SOAS in the development and evaluation of curriculum, learning materials and teaching techniques for ‘languages of the wider world’. It promotes innovation in technology-enhanced learning while also redressing the imbalance that exists between government investment in the teaching and learning of less-commonly and more-commonly taught languages.

At UCL, three facilities – the Language Space,  the Language Study and the study room in the SSEES library – are part of the LWW-CETL.

Find out more:
‘State-of-the-art facilities to boost language learning’