Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Rosetta Stone offers online language option

DU students still can take traditional foreign language classes like Spanish, French, German and Italian, but those looking to delve into more exotic languages like Pashto, Farsi and Tagalog have another resource: Rosetta Stone, an online language-learning program that is available to all DU students, faculty and staff through the Penrose Library Web site,

“I was getting a lot of requests from the Graduate School of International Studies to get language CDs because they wanted to learn different languages from around the world,” says Arts and Humanities Reference Librarian Peggy Keeran, who purchased Rosetta Stone for DU two years ago. “But they wouldn’t circulate and it would be too limiting. So I started to look to see if I could find an online solution.”

That’s when Keeran discovered Rosetta Stone, a “dynamic immersion” system that combines images and interactivity to teach additional languages in much the same way people learned their first language. To date, more than 3,700 people have used the program at DU, including graduate students and researchers who use it before traveling to foreign countries.

“I think it’s a great resource,” says Morgridge College of Education Professor Gloria Miller, who uses Rosetta Stone to study Spanish and Chinese. “I like the flexibility of being able to do it anytime, anywhere, and they have some very unique cognitive strategies that they use to help you facilitate your learning.”

For the first year, Rosetta Stone charged DU a small fee while it determined demand. The second year, the fee was significantly higher. Purchased on their own, the Rosetta Stone programs cost more than $200 per language.

“We basically said, ‘We can’t afford this,’” Keeran says. “But people were like, ‘You have to get this.’ We have not heard from so many users about something ever. We looked carefully at the statistics and decided the use justified the expense.”

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