Languages and Cultures for Australian Universities (LCNAU) is offering seed funding grant for projects related to their mission, in particular, projects presented at the 2011 colloquium. Raphael, Dan and myself will work on a research proposal around the possible integration of Marco Polo into a formal language curriculum.

This is crucial to the success of our project: if we can somehow integrate the activities of our website as part as the language teaching curriculum, we would be assured of a constant in-flow of volunteer translators. This was also the advice we received from Jeremy Goldkorn @danwei.

But this is also a great opportunities for universities. Language teachers know that the few contact hours between them and their students are insufficient for successful language learning outcomes. Teachers generally encourage language activities outside the classroom – clubs, theatre, exchange programs, etc. But, so far, there is no real program to integrate them, and find a way that participation in such activities could count as credits.

This seed grant is a great opportunity, and I really hope it works through!

I had a great conversation with Fau-Zii yesterday. I went out to Mount Waverley to discuss the next steps in web development, and Fau-Zii said he was happy to lead the next phase! I feel very good, having someone so professional and smart working with me. Web development is probably my weakest point – strange paradox for an IT start-up. But I guess the reason Marco Polo Project is an innovative platform is precisely because, unlike other IT projects, it comes from experience in writing and education, not IT development. Still, you need some expertise in that field. And Fau-Zii is an expert.

I was very lucky to meet Fau-Zii. It all started randomly with him answering an ad I put on Craigslist last March. First he gave us six months of free hosting on his servers, then started giving advice about development, and recently, was elected to the board.
So, now, with him in charge, all I have to do is find a couple of interns to do the work, and send them to his office. Meanwhile, he will be re-vamp the design. We went through the list of specifications together, and he said it was not unrealistic to have everything set up by February. Wow. It looks like this project might actually get off the ground now!