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Moving a Large Scale
University to Unicode
Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
[email protected]
Outline
• About the Penn State Audience
• Just-in-Time vs. Full Unicode Training
• Working with the Computer Labs
• Penn State Web Resources
• Some i18n Tech Cases
• Discussion
Penn State
• Land-grant, state-supported
• Twenty plus campuses
• University Park: 40,000+ Students
• Majority of students from Pennsylvania
(many from rural Pennsylvania)
• Strong in many disciplines, particularly
sciences and engineering
Multiple Audiences
• Students & Staff from Pennsylvania &
U.S.
• Students & Staff from outside U.S.
• Technology Support (many monolingual)
• Instructors (foreign language, science)
Audience Needs
Ideal
US
Non-US Tech
Unicode
Instruct.
Student Student Support
r
2nd
Lang
√
Tech
Skills
√
Blank = wide variation
√
√
√
How this Started...
• Linguistics Ph.D. working as instructional
technologist
• Assigned to Spanish online course
project in 2000
• Assigned to Penn State Technology in
Language Learning project in 2001
Year 2000 Approach
• Explain principles of Unicode
• Give details for
• Accents (Western Europe)
• East Asian Languages
• Provide Links for other cases
• Web Site & Seminar
Problems
• Low attendance of all Unicode seminars
• Most users cannot connect Unicode
principles with implementation
• “Each language has its own story”
• Each software application also has its
own story
Modified Approach:
Web
• Explain each language set up individually
• Links to general resources on accent
codes, keyboard setup, etc.
• Links to Web development tips (including
original encoding tutorial)
• Adding software specific pages (e.g.
Adobe Connect)
• http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/internati
onal
Modified Approach:
Other
• Maintain contact with foreign language
instructors
• Document foreign language utilities for
tools as needed (e.g. course management
system)
• Informal group acts as clearing house for
many foreign language tech issues
Computer Lab
Utilities
• Fonts
•
•
TITUS Cyberbit (covers many scripts)
Doulos SIL (phonetic symbols)
• Special Keyboards
•
•
Russian Phonetic Keyboards
ASDF (Win) / Northwestern (Mac)
Phonetic Symbol Keyboards
UCL (Win) / SIL (Mac)
More Lab Utilities
• Global Writer (Win)
Recommended by Comp. Lit.
• East Asian Utilities (Win)
Students must activate the Windows
East Asian Utilities in Start Menu in their
Penn State Windows Profile in order to
access them in Control Panel
• Others - Need to allow one semester to
install and test utilities
Profiles in Lab
• Windows users need to activate utilities
once in their profile and they remain
active each time they log in.
• Macintosh users need to activate utilities
each time they log in to lab (no roaming
profiles), but all languages visible.
International Web
http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international
Site
• One main editor
• Updated at least once per year
• New browsers
• New operating systems
• New languages
• Actual testing whenever possible
Web Site Usage: On
Campus
• Windows Alt Codes (280+ hits in Sep 07)
• Spanish (280+ hits in Sep 07)
Spanish/Accent Codes often top TLT
search
• French/German/Chinese/Arabic
• Hits for ca. 8-10 non-PSU taught
languages
Some may be learning Web development
Web Site Usage:
Non-PSU
• Off campus & non-Penn State visitors
• Popular Topics
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Windows Alt Codes (120,000+ hits/ month)
HTML Entity Codes
French, Spanish, Old English, German, Phonetics
Chinese, Japanese, Korean
Math Symbols
Windows Keyboard Setup
Mac Extended Keyboard Accent Codes
Firefox Setup
HTML Entity Codes, Metatags, RTL Alignment, CSS,
i18n Tech: French PHP
Quiz
Lessons Learned
•PHP Standard tool for Penn State, but
UTF support weak until recent versions.
•Programmer had glitches with œ (O+E)
because it is technically outside Latin-1.
•Had to resolve Mac vs. Windows text
entry.
Creating Indic
Language Web
Pages
Problem
•Students from India taking courses in
Web development at Penn State
•Instructor wanted resources to allow
development of native language sites
Solution
•Addition of Indic script pages to Web site
i18n Tech: Math
Symbols in Flash
Quiz
Lessons Learned
•No entity codes allowed in XML or text files
•Need text editor which recognizes UTF files
•Byte Order may matter in older versions of
Flash
•CSS should specify Arial Unicode for
Windows
Teaching Students to
Type Arabic
• Global Writer preferred to other word
processors because of usability.
• Limited licenses for Global Writers (5
concurrent uses) made demo a
challenge.
• Instructor felt students should learn
handwriting, so was not sure how she
would implement in the future.
Chinese Course in
Adobe Acrobat
Connect
• Adobe Connect (formerly Macromedia
Breeze) a synchronous collaboration
tool.
• Includes “Note Pod” for messages &
“Chat Pod”
• Instructor will need to activate keyboard
to use Chinese.
• Mac users need to cut and paste from
Text Edit into pods in Acrobat Connect.
Spanish Quiz in
Course Managment
System
• Many vendors still use ISO-8859-1 as a
Web page encoding (without the meta
tag)
Problematic for browsers set to UTF-8.
• Mac input not always recognized.
• Quizzes in non Western European
languages may not work as expected
General Lessons
Learned
• Just-in-time is the key.
• Don’t forget the math symbols...or the
em-dash (—).
• Every project has its own kinks. The key
is to document them somewhere.
• People are excited to learn this...once
they realize they need it.
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