This reference manual describes the operation of the CAN-8 language lab software.

It is intended for the system administrator and the instructors involved in teaching with the lab. While the student section describes the Player's interface, it is written as much for instructors as for students.

The manual is presented in a top down order. The context for a function is explained before the function itself. However, to gain an understanding of the capabilities of the system, it would be best to proceed to the CAN-8 Interface section before reading the other chapters.

About CAN-8 Users Roles

Users are registered in CAN-8 with one of the following roles:
Users Registered as: Can:
  • study and record responses to CAN-8 lessons and tests
  • Do anything a student can plus:
  • Create and manage classes;
  • Facilitate classes, track progress and administer tests;
Instructors may also, depending on how the master has set up their User ID:
  • Register individual students;
  • Create lesson plans and author lessons and tests;
  • Delete student records.
  • Do everything students and Instructors can plus:
  • Set system-level attributes which are used to define how access to course materials will be allocated;
  • Create menus and sub-menus which determines how course material is organized;
  • Register instructors;
  • Import registration for groups of students;
  • Manage video and system resources.

Not all parts of the manual are required for all readers. The system supervisor is the only one who can change the course menu structures and so must be familiar with the chapter about the CAN-8 administration and System Tools.

However the instructors who create, supervise and monitor student performance should be generally aware of the capabilities of the Menu System.

Some instructors will monitor student progress through the lessons. The chapter about the Monitoring is suggested for these readers.

Teachers who are creating language lab lessons should read the chapters on the Authoring


The CAN-8 system can use a number of computers connected through a local area network (or intranet), or it can use a wide area network (such as the internet) to do the functions of a language lab.

Since the CAN-8 access is not limited to the Lab environment, students may work from other areas on the network at any time they choose or remotely if the CAN-8 system is set to accept remote connections.

Picture of a network
The computers in a classroom are typically connected as shown in the figure by a local area network. Each of the computers can send data over the network cables to any other computer on the network.

One of the computers in the network plays a special role. It is the file server, which is configured with a large amount of disk storage. The function of the file server is to provide this data to computers that require it. It also stores data created by the student's computers when they do their assigned work.

The centralized file storage means that all the data can instantly be accessed by the students and by the instructor. No duplication, no setup, and no local storage on each workstation is required. The file server can provide the digital sound or video to student workstations on demand.

The software is organized as a Client-Server implementation. This means that some of the CAN-8 software runs in the workstations, and other parts run in the server. By distributing the operations of the system, the following aims are accomplished:

The storage of student voice recordings on the server enables the instructor to listen, at random, to any recording by any student. Student answers to multiple choice and fill-in questions are equally easily available.

Students gain comprehension by listening to recordings in the new language. This system can store the sound from previously existing recordings (tapes, CDs, audio files) on the file server for use in listening exercises.

However, students often lack confidence in speaking the new language. Confidence comes from the assurance that the student can speak well. The system allows students to listen to an instructor, speak, and listen to themselves in private as many times as necessary.

When the student has created a good recording, the recording becomes available to the instructor for review. The instructor, after listening, may score the work or can require the student to redo it if necessary.

Many of the features of this system are designed to reduce the workload on the instructor.
The instructor can see at a glance how a class is progressing. If a student is not spending enough time on the lesson items, a common fault, the Tracker screen quickly reveals this.

The instructor does not have to waste time listening at random to students. The recordings are the best, in the student's opinion, that the student can do.
Tracker Fragment

Recordings are displayed on a visual graph. A mouse click zeroes in on the speech. No time need be wasted on listening to "dead" time.



Digital Sound



Not Just Sound

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