Sulaimani, Iraq - May 9, 2011 - The Academic Preparatory Program at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani recently opened a language lab featuring cutting edge software for students who need additional training, making AUIS’ English language program one of the most technologically sophisticated in the region. Since the lab’s opening in March, APP students of all levels have crowded the new lab and taken advantage of the software’s resources to further their reading and grammar skills.
“APP is always looking for ways to improve the quality of English instruction at AUIS and this language lab is going to be a great resource for our students,” said Rachel Laribee, deputy director of APP. “With the establishment of this new resource, we’re ensuring that every student can receive one-on-one instruction that might be hard to get in a classroom setting with twenty or so other students.”
Merit, the software installed in the lab, is state-of-the-art and comparable to those used in the top language institutes across the world. It allows students to create their own account where they can track their progress and hone in on specific grammar and reading problems. It also provides information for APP teachers on how their students are progressing and where they are still having trouble.
“The language lab is really useful because it has grammar and reading,” said Mina Bassam, a level four student from Sulaimani. “The grammar tests punctuation and pronouns. I’ve been there six times and I plan to continue going.”
The software was installed over the course of January and February and launched on March 1. While some minor technical issues are still being ironed out, the program is up and running in lab 44 on the second floor of the Main Administrative Building. Twenty-five computers are available to accommodate students who want to use the lab.
The new lab is just one of several projects the APP program is pursuing to enhance the quality of English instruction at the university. APP currently offers after-school help for struggling students and is in the process of selecting new textbooks for next year’s classes in order to give instructors a wider variety of teaching material to choose from. APP is also transitioning to a trimester schedule to allow students to study English year-round and avoid losing ground over the long summer months. The program is also establishing a library specifically for APP students, many of who do not have a strong enough command of the English language to avail themselves of the reading material currently available in the University’s library.
The lab is currently open to all APP students from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, and from 2:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.