History of the ILRC

Windows Computer Lab of the ILRC Windows Computer Lab of the ILRC
Windows Computer Lab in the ILRC Windows Computer Lab in the ILRC
 The ILRC Lounge Area  The ILRC Lounge Area
 Students at work in the ILRC  Students at work in the ILRC
 Irvin Hall in the Fall  Irvin Hall in the Fall
Student in the Windows Lab Student in the Windows Lab
Student working on Japanese Project Student working on Japanese Project

General Information

The Interactive Language Resource Center's  former namesake, the Language Laboratory, began in 1956 and has been in continuous operation since its opening. It was, for the most part, is a restricted reference laboratory open to students, faculty, and staff of the Departments of  French and Italian; German, Russian, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures; Spanish and Portuguese; and Classics.

The lab had its beginnings with state-of-the-art technology of the era, vinyl stereophonic records and reel-to-reel tape. In the 1970s, the Language Lab received a major renovation and a Tanderg Language Learning system was purchased. This system allowed students and instructors to use audio cassette tapes for their listening materials and allowed for two-way conversation and peer listening and collaboration.

The 1990s brought about the first computers into the language lab. When Irvin Hall was undergoing a major renovation, the College of Arts and Sciences decided to bring the Language Laboratory up to snuff to compete with the rapidly changing world of technology. The Language Laboratory was briefly relocated to Hoyt Hall during renovations to Irvin Hall. During this time, the College decided to change the center's name to the Interactive Language Resource Center and inaugurate the new facility at the completion of renovations to the building in 1993-1994. Along with the traditional Tandberg audiocassette system, the ILRC would have a dedicated computer classroom as part of its new configuration.

In the late 1990s to early 2000s, the Tandberg eventually gave way to computers for the whole facility. Audio recordings were converted from audio cassette to MP3 files, Videos were converted from film, television, VHS tape, and Laserdiscs to digital formats. Today, the Interactive Language Resource Center is the technical hub of the four foreign language departments at Miami University. Students enrolled in language courses use the facility to supplement and enhance their foreign language courses with language specific Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) software, access Internet and network applications, and use various language learning specific software.

Funding

A huge amount of funding for new computers and equipment used by students in the ILRC is the direct result of successful applications from the Student Technology Fee program. Since the student technology fee was implemented, we have had an average success rate of 2-3 proposals every year to procure new equipment for students!  We are constantly thankful and grateful to the student community for being willing to support our facility with the Student Technology Fee program!

The Interactive Language Resource Center is also funded directly through the College of Arts and Science and is supported  through an endowment given to the ILRC by Mr. Phelps and Mrs. Beverly Wood. Without their gift, the ILRC would not be able to accomplish the language-related tasks that language students, faculty, and staff rely upon.

The ILRC Online

In 2001, Henry Montgomery (Class of 1960) provided a generous contribution to help the Classics Department in their efforts towards computerization and integrating computer technology into Classics courses. The Classics Department received a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help purchase a file server. Henry Montgomery and the Classics Department at Miami decided that it would be best for all the languages to share in this unique advance of technology and charged the Interactive Language Resource Center with finding the most cost effective solution to meet the needs of both the Classics Department as well as the needs of efficiently distributing information resources among all the foreign language departments.

The result was the first generation of the ILRC Online which was located at http://montgomery.cas.muohio.edu/.  With additional funds provided by the Interactive Language Resource Center and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Montgomery File Server was born. The original server consisted of  a 450MHz processor Macintosh G4 computer, a Macintosh X-Serve RAID which contains 1.26TB of data and ran Macintosh OS X 10.3 Server software.

In 2009, the second generation of the ILRC Online came to life through a $22,500 grant from Miami University’s Technical Fee Grant program. A new Macintosh X-Serve was purchased along with an 8TB Promise V-Track RAID storage array and  Macintosh OS X 10.6 Server software.

In 2014, the physical server was shut down, decommissioned, and all data was migrated to the university's virtual linux server clusters, using Amazon Web Services for its backend and Puppet software for maintenance, updates, and software pushes. 

Attendance Figures

Academic Year Fall Term Spring Term Yearly Totals Totals to Date Note
1956-1957 - - 27,948 27,948
1957-1958 - - 28,444 56,392
1958-1959 - - 28,754 85,146
1959-1960 - - 28,877 114,023
1960-1961 - - 28,813 142,836
1961-1962 - - 28,563 171,399
1962-1963 - - 28,127 199,526
1963-1964 - - 27,504 227,030
1964-1965 13,424 10,451 23,875 250,905
1965-1966 16,517 12,889 29,406 280,311
1966-1967 13,123 10,602 23,725 304,036
1967-1968 13,783 11,083 24,866 328,902
1968-1969 12,291 7,720 20,011 348,913
1969-1970 9,229 11,092 20,321 369,234
1970-1971 8,448 9,544 17,992 387,226
1971-1972 7,666 7,995 15,661 402,887
1972-1973 7,855 3,693 11,548 414,435
1973-1974 7,272 4,327 11,599 426,034
1974-1975 5,395 3,369 8,764 434,798
1975-1976 2,234 3,555 5,789 440,587
1976-1977 10,128 4,140 14,268 454,855
1977-1978 9,324 5,014 14,338 469,193
1978-1979 9,324 9,675 18,999 488,192
1979-1980 7,983 7,082 15,065 503,257
1980-1981 9,701 3,530 13,231 516,488
1981-1982 8,106 3,887 11,993 528,481
1982-1983 7,979 2,984 10,963 539,444
1983-1984 8,829 3,487 12,316 551,760
1984-1985 10,430 4,787 15,217 566,977
1985-1986 12,664 5,598 18,262 585,239
1986-1987 8,127 4,709 12,836 598,075
1987-1988 9,273 4,137 13,410 611,485
1988-1989 5,881 2,676 8,557 620,042
1989-1990 5,698 2,302 8,000 628,042
1990-1991 6,936 4,492 11,428 639,470
1991-1992 5,349 3,497 8,846 648,316
1992-1993 5,800 3,512 9,312 657,628
1993-1994 8,679 4,403 13,082 670,710
1994-1995 9,621 7,147 16,768 687,478
1995-1996 11,801 8,146 19,947 707,425
1996-1997 10,754 7,567 18,321 725,746
1997-1998 13,830 10,169 23,999 749,745
1998-1999 8,539 7,421 15,960 765,705
1999-2000 12,105 10,385 22,490 788,195
2000-2001 10,979 7,646 18,625 806,820
2001-2002 8,144 6,691 14,835 821,655
2002-2003 8,289 13,285 21,574 843,229
2003-2004 9,093 8,166 17,259 860,488
2004-2005 8,672 8,014 16,686 877,174
2005-2006 10,028 7,481 17,509 894,683
2006-2007 7,915 9,585 17,500 912,183
2007-2008 7,203 4,305 11,508 923,691
2008-2009 5,715 8,572 14,287 937,978
2009-2010 6,292 9,375 15,667 953,645
2010-2011 5,283 7,925 13,208 966,853
2011-2012 11,518 9,448 20,966 987,819
2012-2013 11,672 8,268 19,940 1,007,759 1
2013-2014 11,642 9,896 21,538 1,029,297
2014-2015 10,173 11,580 21,753 1,051,050
2015-2016 8,022 5,639 13,661 1,064,711
2016-2017 6,004 5,095 11,099 1,075,810
2017-2018 6,814 5,371 12,185 1,087,995
2018-2019 8,549 5,417 13,966 1,101,961
2019-2020 8,952 2,645 11,597 1,113,558 2
2020-2021 1,903 2,030 3,933 1,117,491 2
Average Visits 7,799 5,900 17,192

 1 On January 23, 2013, sometime between 10:00am and 11:00am, the ILRC logged a major milestone of the 1,000,000th student to visit the language center. The feat took 57 years to accomplish, according to the best estimate of student visits and attendance tracking over the years. Our current attendance tracking system is a SenSource people counter installed at the entrance of the ILRC. For each student coming and going, the SenSource tracks the figure and the data is compiled at the end of each semester.

2 Beginning on March 16th, 2020, the COVID-19 international pandemic shut all university facilities down. For the 2020-2021 academic year, all classes were held remotely, but organizations and departments that were "front-facing student operations" (the ILRC was included in this determination) were to be open and available to any students who wished to remain on campus during the pandemic.

Center Directors

Since the inception of Miami's language laboratory and it's successor, the ILRC, there have been six of known directors of the facilities:

  • 1956-1973: Robert Phillips
  • 1973-1974: Michael Daniel
  • 1974-1976: Peter Carels
  • 1976-1994: Edward Plater
  • 1994-1998: Charlotte Wharton
  • 1998-present: Daniel E. Meyers