UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

February 28, 2013
Daniel Nolan | Assistant Professor | Department of Foreign Languages/Literature | 218-726-6213 |
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director | External Affairs | 218-726-8996 |
Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann | Communication Associate | External Affairs | 218 726-7111 |

UMD German Grammar Guide App Launched on iTunes

DULUTH, MN – The UMD German Grammar Guide app is now available free on iTunes. The app was released on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 and was developed by the students and faculty of UMD's Mobile Language Learning Group. Students and faculty from multiple disciplines worked together to design the app.

"There are so many skilled people at this university, and this app was developed by drawing on the work of people from very different parts of our campus," said Assistant Professor Dan Nolan, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. "By working across disciplines, and by getting students involved in each step of the process, together we've been able to make something that no one individual could've ever completed on their own."

The UMD German Grammar Guide App helps users learn the German language by providing two different ways of accessing and learning about the structure of the German language. Advanced language learners and beginners can access grammar content at a pace that is right for them.

"What UMD's Mobile Language Learning Group has created is truly innovative, and it's going to have a big impact on language education," said Susan Maher, dean, College of Liberal Arts. "When these developers have presented at national conferences, they have received strong interest and generated excitement. The group is now working on similar apps for Russian, Spanish, and French."

Developing the App
Nolan had been using a printed German grammar guide. When he learned it was going out of print, he worried that students would miss the quick access to grammar content. He talked to his colleague Michael Mullins, an instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. The two decided to create an iPad application to improve on what the original printed version could do, but needed help writing the code and producing graphics for the app.

Mullins suggested getting students involved. Mullins and Nolan contacted Associate Professor Mariana Waisman, from the Department of Graphic Design in the School of Fine Arts, as well as Associate Professor Peter Willemsen, from the Department of Computer Science in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. Each of them reached out to interested students from all three departments. Those students then applied for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Without student input, creating this app would never have been possible. The app was finished in 2012.

"You know, I spend a lot of time at the Minnesota Legislature and emailing and speaking with Legislators," Mullins said. "They always ask me what are students' concerns, what are their needs, and what would they benefit from the most. This Grammar App is an example of what students need. Students are being recognized for just one of the many things they accomplish in making this university a wonderful public institution."

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