Published: Jan. 27, 2014

Annuziata Pugliese, CU Italian Language Professor

Imagine your homework assignment is to create an original voice over for a silenced two minute segment of an Italian film.  Would you know where to start?  Annunziata Pugliese makes use of CU resources to stay current with technology and more effectively reach her students.  She has been recognized for excellence in the use of technology in teaching through a 2013 ASSETT (Arts and Sciences Support of Education through Technology) Award of Excellence.  Teaching is certainly Pugliese's life's work, and she says:

I cannot engage someone else if I am not passionate.  If you don’t feel inspired or enthusiastic, then you cannot communicate.  My objective as a teacher is to engage my students toward a level of independence, where they develop a desire to learn and think for themselves.

Pugliese Encourages Students to Seek Outside Opportunitites to Improve Language Skills

Although she prefers to take advantage of precious in-class time for live interactions with students, Pugliese also uses the time for scheduled Skype sessions for an entire class of students to speak with various Italian experts in Italian cuisine, cinema, or politics.  These Skype sessions with native Italian speakers allow students to hear different regional Italian accents and dialects and learn various viewpoints of Italian culture.  At the same time, Skype sessions expose students to a more realistic speaking pace rather than what they might encounter when just practicing with one another. In addition to using resources available at CU, Pugliese urges students to visit language learning websites to improve their Italian listening comprehension and speaking: “Nowadays, you can experiment; you can easily go around the world in just one click.”  In particular, she recommends her students use, which offers hundreds of short Italian videos of native Italian language speakers on relevant modern topics.  Pugliese recognizes that Yabla can also improve students’ colloquial vocabulary: “I try to give students a different approach; real world language is very important.”  She believes such sophisticated outside opportunities can encourage students to continue to explore the Italian language independently, even after they have completed her course: “You give them the possibility of exploring with something.  I try not to impose on them, but I give them the skills.”

Pugliese Values What She has Learned from CU Resources

Although she is a veteran CU professor who first began teaching in her native city of Rome, Italy, Pugliese continuously strives to keep her coursework up to date with changes in technology.  She first consciously started to incorporate technology into her teaching several years ago, taking advantage of University of Colorado Boulder resources, such as the Anderson Language Technology Center (ALTEC).  Pugliese says, “I was and still am a little afraid of technology, but the outcome was so charming, I started learning from scratch.”  At ALTEC, Language Technology Coordinator Edwige Simon, Ph.D was Pugliese’s inspiration and gave her technical support.  Simon stresses Pugliese’s dedication to becoming proficient in various forms of media, including Voicethread, D2L, and iMovie through attending more than 60 ALTEC workshops and one-on-one sessions.  Simon says:

[Pugliese]’s love and dedication for teaching allowed her to overcome her initial apprehensions, and today she … develops creative technology-based classroom projects almost every semester, many of them centered around her passion for cinema.  It is truly inspiring to see how far she has come ...

Pugliese says that incorporating technology into her teaching has proven to be both exciting and challenging: “It was a long and wonderful journey.  It was not easy all the time, but the potential I saw was so attractive and beautiful.”  She finds that technology helps her maintain students' interest and motivation: “I believe that a key element in the foreign language classroom is keeping students engaged.”  For example, Pugliese assigns beginning Italian language students the project of writing and recording Italian dialogue voice over for silenced clips of Italian movies; for more advanced students, she assigns the project of creating English subtitles for longer segments of Italian films that have not previously been translated into English.  To complete these film projects, students often collaborate with Tim Riggs, part of the Academic Media Services (AMS) of OIT, which supports the incorporation of new media and technology into coursework.   Students may rent out private individual sound-proof work spaces, equipped with microphones, near the AMS offices on the third floor of the ATLAS (Alliance for Technology Learning and Society) building.  Riggs jokes that if students aren't careful, "They may end up enjoying the assignment."  Like Pugliese, Riggs believes that "Student success to me is so much more than getting an assignment done."  Rather, he feels most proud when students gain multimedia skills they can incorporate into other classes and ultimately as professionals.

Pugliese continues to take advantage of technology resources available at CU.  Most recently, she has submitted an application for an ASSETT Development Award for funding for a hybrid online / in-class intermediate level Italian language course, which she intends to offer in the Fall 2014 semester.  The hybrid course would require students to learn at their own pace on their own time using Skype, VoiceThread, discussion forums, etc.  Pugliese says: “Participating in on-line activities, students are more stimulated and motivated in learning Italian.”  She also believes a hybrid course would provide more students with outside obligations the opportunity to participate in Italian language classes: “Every student is different, as every person is different.”  However, students in the hybrid course would also be required to attend an in-person class in a traditional classroom once per week.  Although Pugliese may at first have felt intimidated about technology, she has become proficient in incorporating many forms of media into lessons, which her students appreciate.  Pugliese expresses great gratitude for Tim Riggs at ATLAS and Edwige Simon at ALTEC, as well as to ASSETT Learning and Technology Consultants, saying:

It is so inspiring to meet these people.  They are competent.  They can make your dreams come true.  They can tell you if your project is feasible or not.  They are there to support you ... We are so lucky at this university to have people who are so happy to help you.

Article by: Moira McCormick