CTI Centre for Modern Languages

The CTI Centre for Modern Languages (CTICML), based in the then Language Institute at the University of Hull since its inception in 1989, was one of 24 discipline-based centres in Computers in Teaching Initiative [1], and promoted and encouraged the use of computers in language learning and teaching. 

The Centre provided information on how Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) can be effectively integrated into existing courses and offered support for language lecturers who were using, or who wished to use, computers in their teaching.

The Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI). Its aim was to facilitate the effective use of computers in Higher Education through the provision of information on technology to support educational change.

CTI complemented other funding council initiatives, such as the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP), which focussed on the development of computer-based educational materials rather than on supporting education directly.

At its height, CTICML consisted of 5 full-time and 2 part-time staff working on a range of associated projects benefitting the languages community in higher education, both nationally and abroad.

The Demise of CTICML

At the end of 1999 the national Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI), despite considerable success in 'spreading the word' and widespread popularity amongst UKHE teachers on the ground, was closed down by the UK funding councils as political priorities changed, to be succeeded by the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN).

On April 1st 2000 CTICML became the C&IT Centre, the 'Northern outpost' of the Southampton University-based LTSN Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics, and Area Studies, charged with developing and maintaining technical resources for the Subject Centre. The Hull Centre comprised two full-time staff - Fred Riley (Web Developer/Technical Coordinator) and Janet Bartle (Academic Coordinator) - and a half-time Information Officer, Claire Cartlich. Roel Vismans, then Director of the Language Institute, acted as Director of the C&IT Centre, and the Centre's operations were aided by June Thompson (previously CTICML Manager) and Julie Venner (EUROCALL Membership Secretary).

During secret negotiations in late 2001, the Subject Centre Director, Prof Michael Kelly, and Roel Vismans 'agreed' to 'refocus' the role of the Hull Centre, resulting in the transfer of technical services, including the SC website, to Southampton. The consequence of this was a cut of some £35k from Hull's budget from September 2002, making my role redundant. Funding from this point only covered the employment of one full-time staff member with minimal clerical/admin support. So from August 1st the C&IT 'Centre' comprised just one person, the Academic Co-ordinator Janet Bartle, whose main role was to raise awareness of C&IT in language teaching and learning, primarily by organising workshops and seminars on the topic. Janet left the university at the end of 2002, prompting Roel Vismans to end the agreement between Hull and the Subject Centre, and to close the C&IT Centre, bringing to an end a decade-long association between Hull and language learning technology.

CTICML was highly popular within the UK languages community and overseas, and initiated and collaborated with many other successful related projects, in particular EUROCALL, ICT4LT, and the TELL Consortium [2]. Its unannounced and unexpected demise took many members of the community by complete surprise, and ended the long-standing association of Hull University with technical innovation in language teaching.

Further Information

Anyone curious to know more about CTICML's demise should contact Michael Kelly and/or Roel Vismans, who between them closed the Centre. (Roel Vismans moved, in the autumn of 2003, to the University of Sheffield's Department of Germanic Studies.)


[1] See a 1996 article in the Ariadne e-learning journal.

[2] See conference presentation from 1996 for the TELL remit. The TELL website no longer exists.