Cal Poly students who study a foreign language or show an interest in global affairs can now watch television from around the world though DISH Network satellite TV at the Robert E. Kennedy library.
The best thing about the service is “the ability to hear native speakers and to use television as a way to substitute for travel,” said library Dean Michael D. Miller.
Currently the library subscribes to three channels from France, three from Italy, including RAI International, one from Germany and several from Spain. DISH Latino has a whole range of Spanish channels. TV5Monde is France’s main news channel out of Paris while two other French stations cover music and a variety of topics related to the French colonies in Africa and the West Indies.
A second online service offers channels in Chinese and Arabic.
DISH Network is widely known for its ability to provide sports channels from all over the nation to residents.
Last year the chair of the foreign languages program, Brian Kennelly, urged Miller to subscribe to the satellite network. He heard about it from the previous institution he worked for.
“The challenge wasn’t getting the service, it was finding a space for it,” Miller said. “It’s the kind of thing people sign up for if they aren’t happy with cable.”
To utilize the DISH network, students can get a key to room 216-C in the library from the Learning Commons desk on the second floor.
The room seats six people and is equipped with a flatscreen Samsung television, as well as listings for the channels and directions for operationing the system.
Along with the aforementioned foreign channels, the library service offers several U.S. national news stations.
The staff at the library is still fixing up some technical difficulties with the DISH system but the room is now available for student use.
Miller hopes to eventually place several flat screens around the library so numerous students can check out headphones and utilize the new service.
Corine Kahnke, a first-year German professor at Cal Poly who came to California in 2000 from Germany, is quite pleased with the new service.
“I think it’s just a really great tool for students learning a foreign language,” Kahnke said.
Kahnke explained that along with becoming familiar with the dialect of foreign countries, the satellite service will allow students to learn about other countries’ cultural, political, social-political and popular cultures.
Although now Kahnke wants her students to use the service as a learning aid, she hopes to include it in her curriculum eventually.
“It will be really beneficial for the students and it’s fun too,” she said.
Along with the library service, Kahnke has started a German Film Series on Wednesday nights in room A12 of the Spider Building that is open to everyone.
The films show from 8 to 10 p.m. and subtitles are included. This quarter is a Germany comedy series.