Tag: glossary

Using a glossary with a custom scale to rate definitions

Professor Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, Lafayette College
Course: Introduction to Women’s Studies

I teach Spanish, Women’s Studies, first-year seminar and VaST next year, so I am familiar with teaching a language people have no idea about. And women and gender studies is certainly a personal experience, but also a forum, a space, a class to talk and think in but it’s also a language of theory and history, a lot of which is completely unknown to students. And so in the texts we used in class, there was certainly vocabulary and terminology that was defined by someone else, but what I used the glossary for was to have students come up with their own definitions of words we were making use of.

As humanists we sometimes use 10-dollar words when a 5-dollar word would suffice. But I’m in the business of thinking about 10-dollar words, so I wanted my students to think about 10-dollar words and offer them with a rebate to their classmates. So now we have a way to keep track of the 10-dollar words they found useful or new, and these led to discussion in class.

To do this, I created two class glossaries to separate the sections of content we were covering, and students were asked at several times during the semester to submit entries to the appropriate glossary.

I also posted a Word document that is essentially a glossary criteria: here are my expectations, define the term and define it in the following way, and provide the citation if you’re citing directly. They were also allowed to use their own definitions where appropriate. We added definitions several times throughout the course, and had an extensive set of glossaries by the end of the semester.

You can rate definitions and add comments, and I choose to use a custom scale to rate these check, check plus and check minus, and also added comments where appropriate.

Using the Glossary Feature for Languages Across the Curriculum

Cindy Evans, Director, Foreign Language Resource Center and Lecturer in French, Skidmore College

Skidmore’s model of LAC offers students the possibility of reading in the target language in conjunction with virtually any other course they are taking in English.  This individualized LAC model allows us to reach a wider student population than the more common model in which only certain courses carry a LAC component. The resulting “course,” essentially a group of students conducting independent studies, presents a challenge for curricular design. My approach to “teaching” the French LAC course has been to bring students’ work into a single forum through the use of moodle both in and outside of the classroom. Students submit weekly summaries and selected translations of their readings in the wiki to facilitate real-time revision in class.

We make use of the glossary feature in Moodle so that each student contributes vocabulary items that result in the building of a collective class glossary.


While students are not responsible for learning all of the material, they do see other students’ entries that are featured on the main page in the block that displays randomized glossary entries.

Random glossary entry block

This option is a useful feature to include on the main page, along with the RSS feeds for French news that encourage students to read in the target language and keep up with current events in France, which we discuss in our weekly LAC sessions.

RSS feeds of French news
RSS feeds of French news