Shadowing Tracy Dodge*, Language Lab Coordinator, Department of Modern & Classical Languages, State University
*This is a pseudonym for the participant who will remain anonymous.
This observation began with an interview, during which I received a job description document. After the interview, Tracy allowed me to shadow her as she completed several duties of her job.

Details of Interview

Personal Career History
Tracy began working at State University as an adjunct Spanish Instructor. She then became the Administrative Coordinator for Modern & Classical Languages, and after writing a tech free proposal for the Language Acquisition and Resource Center became the Language Lab Coordinator.

Organizational Structure
The Language Acquisition and Resource Center (LARC) is a support lab for the Department for Modern & Classical Languages and the Department of ESL & Applied Linguistics. The Language Lab Coordinator reports to the Chair of the Department for Modern & Classical Languages.

The responsibilities of this position include: supervision of Language Lab staff of student assistants; management of lab resources, including computers, A/V equipment and multimedia materials; procurement of funding for lab resources; consultation with faculty for technology integration in language classrooms; definition and documentation of internal procedures; and production of LARC communications.

Job Tasks Described in Interview
Tracy described her job as having two components: daily tasks and visioneering.

Daily Tasks
Tracy provides personal consultations with faculty to train them to use the control console, conduct assessments, move between activities and integrate certain applications into their course design. She also stays on-hand for lab setup and t
She also works with students as the LARC is an open lab for language students. She regularly advises students on study skills, study abroad programs and classes. She also provides technology troubleshooting help.
Tracy is responsible for needs assessment, hiring and evaluating lab personnel.
Tracy is the webmaster for the LARC site and maintains a WebCT board for student assistants containing documents and forms related to lab procedures.
Tracy collects extensive data on lab usage and submits quarterly reports to the Department Chair.

Tracy explained that she is responsible for the development and progress of the lab and spends significant time working towards goals for the LARC. For example, she considers what is needed for tech fee proposals, evaluates software for use in the lab and for managing the resources of the lab, and optimizes the use of the lab space.
Tracy regularly attends meetings across campus for collaborative purposes. For example, on the day of this observation, she planned to attend a UETS meeting featuring Horizon Wimba, a textbook with electronic components.
She is also currently designing a course, Foreign Language Educators and Technology, and proposing to host a conference for the International Association of Learning & Technology.

Tracy finds it difficult to focus on visioneering because of the constant pull of her daily tasks in the lab. She is an involved manager and required to be on-site as much as possible.

Future Personal Goals
Tracy is currently in the process of reclassifying her job to Associate Director of the LARC because the current the term “coordinator” in her current title does not accurately characterize the level of autonomy and supervisory responsibility assigned to the position.

Job Tasks Observed

  • Answering staff questions about immediate problems
  • Class set up
  • Data collection/Management
  • Troubleshooting computer problems
  • Managing Staff
  • Managing materials
  • Faculty consulting
  • Printer services
  • Scheduling student assistants
  • Proposal to host IALLT conference