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  • Stefan DuBois

Celebrating the End of the Year with an Oscars Night

So it’s the end of another school year and you’re looking to go out with a bang. What to do? The University of Denver’s 1st year Spanish program is planning a special celebration this year in the form of a mock Oscars ceremony. While we haven’t yet executed the plan, we are sharing it below in case it’s of use to other schools looking for inspiration to end the year strong!



The idea:

With a large program of ~500 students and ~10 instructors per quarter, it’s difficult to provide our Spanish students a sense of community. Moreover, many students produce truly creative work through our project-based curriculum, but that creativity is rarely seen by anyone outside their section.


To address both of these issues, this spring we will celebrate the completion of students’ language requirement with an Oscars ceremony showcasing the projects from every section.


Preparation:

Over the course of the first-year Spanish program, students create a portfolio of projects showcasing their creativity in the language. For spring, each section will choose one project to represent their class in the Oscars ceremony. The project submissions will then be compiled into a short video highlighting the nominees from each class. 


The Big Night:

Students from all sections will be invited to attend an event to vote for their favorite submissions. To provide additional excitement for the evening, students will first compete in an introductory Qualtrics game with questions ranging from trivia about their professors and classmates to memory challenges regarding course content and language they’ve covered throughout the sequence. Students will be teamed up with those from other sections to incentivize mingling outside their own classmates. The winning team will be awarded a small (and budget-friendly!) prize of candy.


Afterwards, students will watch the compilation of their peers’ projects and vote on their favorite via Qualtrics. The grand prize for the winner, presented via novelty-sized check, will be a pizza party for the winning section on the last day of class. In this way, student attendance will further be incentivized, as the class with the most attendees will have the most votes likely to go towards their own success. 


The Future:

If successful, we hope to make this a recurring event in the Spanish program. Knowing a prize and recognition are at stake would encourage students to exercise their creativity on their projects throughout the sequence, and the fanfare of such a regular event will increase visibility outside our own program. Most of all, hopefully this idea will serve as inspiration for other instructors such as yourself to try out something similar!

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