What are the FLAn Authors’ Guidelines?
These guidelines are for language experts who want to author
learning units using FLAn
for their students or the general public.
to these Guidelines is voluntary. However, it is
highly encouraged to maximize consistency and quality.
units are distributed in the Share
Area of RedHotWords.com. These units do not go through
an approval process.
document covers the procedures for the creation,
submission and distribution of the FLAn
units that you create.
addition, it lists resources available to help you
create your hypermedia learning units, which we’ll
units from now on.
it covers the specifications for different parts of
the FLAn units, for example,
specifications for sound recordings, font styles,
font colors, glossing, etc.
Are there any specialized terms that I should know before
Yes. Here they are:
hypermedia (our definition) - Digital text that can be
clicked to access different kinds of media (text,
images, animations, audio, video, Web links) to help
the student learn the meaning of the clicked text.
L1 - Native language of student.
Foreign language that the student is learning.
gloss - Word or phrase to which
information is attached to help students
learn that word or phrase.
annotation - Basically, the same thing as
FLAn - Acronym stands for Foreign
Annotator, a free hypermedia
editor available through RedHotWords.com.
FLAn CD - A special version of FLAn
for making hypermedia units in Chinese, Japanese
or any language that doesn't have spaces
between words. CD stands for 'Click and Drag'. To
select words or phrases to gloss, you 'click and
drag' over them rather than just click on them the
way you do in the regular version of FLAn.
RedHotWords.com - Company that distributes FLAn and sells hypermedia
units created with FLAn
All words in the Guidelines that are
bold and blue are
clickable Web links.
Steps for FLAn Authors
are 3 steps for authors of FLAn
units; Creation, Submission, Distribution.
The details that you are about to read cover everything that
you need to know to about the whole process.
you aren't familiar with how to use FLAn,
you should check out the resources on the For
Authors page. You will find tutorial videos
and you should look at all of them before attempting to
create a FLAn unit in order to
see the big picture. Below are a few video clips to help you
get started. Each step in these Guidelines has an
accompanying Demo Video.
Demo-Before You Start)
this step you create a hypermedia learning unit using FLAn.
you don’t have FLAn, you can download a free Mac or
PC version at redhotwords.com. You should use the latest
version of FLAn. FLAn
is updated on a regular basis so if a few weeks go by between
projects, check the Web site to ensure that you’re using the
most recent version. The latest update is on the Downloads page.
can check the date of the FLAn
version that you’re using by placing the cursor in the upper
left corner of the FLAn
window (where you go to enter EDIT MODE). A little box with
the date will appear. If the date is earlier than the date on
page, you should download the most recent version and use that
learn how to use FLAn,
use the resources on the Authors page. There you’ll find a manual,
video tutorials, an online workshop, resource list, etc.
will need to determine which category that you are authoring
for (English for Spanish Speakers, German for English
Speakers, etc.). If you want to create a FLAn
unit for a category not listed in the Share
Area, just send us a request on the Feedback Form and we’ll add it. We’ll even add
Klingon for Japanese Speakers if you’re willing to
create the units. Click here to see the current language
categories in the Share
each category there are also sub-categories for different
types of text. The subcategories are:
Phrases (different units for different
topics; Weather, Time, etc.)
(short conversations on various topics)
(must be copyright free or you must get publisher’s
(keep them clean, RedHotWords
is for all age groups)
Lyrics (if you can’t get copyright
permission to use the song, you may be able to link
to a Web site that has a recording
of the song)
(personal ads, obituaries, advertisements, etc.)
of audio recordings or video clips)
Literature (excerpts from literary works,
poetry, digitized books, etc.)
you would like to suggest a new category, send us feedback by
is very important that you do the following BEFORE you start
glossing and adding media:
sure that FLAn, the unit that you’re creating
and all audio and / or video files are in the same
folder. If these items are outside the folder there
may be path problems and FLAn won’t be able to find the files
when it needs them.
the folder the same as the title of the unit. Make it
as short as you can.
pedagogical and technical reasons, you should not have more
than 50 glosses or so per FLAn
unit. For larger texts, break them up into Part 1, Part 2,
NOTE ON COPYRIGHT All
images, videos, audio recordings and texts are copyrighted and
you must get the copyright holder’s permission to use them. If
you create original material, the material is copyrighted as
soon as the material is created and you are the copyright
is also important; you can’t copyright a conversation but you
can copyright a recording of a conversation. You can’t
copyright a joke, but you can copyright a recording of a joke.
Titles cannot be copyrighted either. Older materials, such as
poems written in the 19th Century are in the public domain (free
of copyright restrictions).
HELP If you get stuck you can to the
Adherence to these Guidelines is
voluntary. However, we highly recommend them for the sake of
1. GLOSS L2 (foreign language)
you're glossing text for beginning students, all the
words or phrases in the text should be glossed. For
or advanced students it may be sufficient to just
gloss keywords. For beginning students you may use
an L1 translation and for other students an L2
should gloss phrases rather than
individual words whenever possible.
Here are some examples of the
types of phrases that we mean:
-adjectives with nouns (cold
-adverbs with verbs (walked
-idiomatic expressions (raining
cats and dogs)
-prepositional phrases (on
top of the table)
Of course, each language is unique
so this won’t always apply. But the idea is to gloss chunks
of words that fit together logically, semantically or
syntactically. This is very important for pedagogical reasons
and also technical reasons. It’s the best way to keep the
number of glosses below the recommended maximum of 50 per
As far as style in the
translation field of the data card goes, here
are some pointers:
-if the translation requires words
that are not in L2, then put them in italics and in ( )
eats a lot
-if there is more than one
possible translation, separate with
Include comments, explanations or grammar notes, etc. where appropriate.
Comments: The upper right field of the FLAn unit is for text-based
information about the
gloss. The information might be a grammar note,
commentary, explanation, etc. This field
will have different uses for different languages. It
is somewhat ‘free form’ but for the sake of consistency we
have some examples and pointers. Notice that L2 is in red and, when possible, bold. Here are the examples:
show a breakdown of compound nouns (L2
sauer - sour
Kraut - cabbage
日本 - Japanese
語 - language
show the complete conjugation of a verb in a given
como - I eat
- you eat
complete a set
martes - Tuesday
expand a concept
Hilfe! - Help!
- to help
- first aid
|To show literal translations: It's
raining cats and dogs.
To explain a grammar concept or
make a grammatical note.
To show the plural or singular
forms of a noun.
To indicate gender.
To give cultural notes.
To explain grammatical anomalies
or exceptions to the rule.
To explain nuances of a word or phrase.
To show opposites (cold, hot / short, tall).
To show forms of adjectives (good, better,
As far as style goes, when writing
information in the field in the upper right, please follow
-L2 in red and, if possible, in bold
(some fonts won’t do bold): Sauerkraut,
-L1 in black and plain for
translations: 日本 - Japanese
-L1 otherwise in black, bold: The
means help or aid.
-Grammar terms are capitalized:
-For literal translations: Literally:
I must me on the socks make
Include relevant Web links.
Comments: One of the media that you can
attach to a gloss is a Web link. For example, if the gloss
is a verb in the past tense, you may link the gloss to a
Web site about the construction
of the past tense.
Add images or animations to glosses.
Comments: Many studies have shown that
images used in hypermedia can have a strong impact on
comprehension and retention when it comes to language
learning. We strongly recommend that you include an image
or animation for all glosses wherever it’s appropriate.
Images can be in .gif, .jpg, or .png formats. The maximum
size of a gloss image is 374 wide x 205 high. If the image
is larger than that, you should reduce it in size to 374 x
205 using Photoshop or a similar program before importing
it into FLAn. You can also go to picnik.com,
a free Web site that lets you do this online.
Add a main image.
Comments: The main image is the one that
appears when the FLAn
unit is opened. It provides a visual introduction to the FLAn
unit. If the unit is about cavemen then an image of a
caveman would be appropriate. Images are cognitively
stimulating to the student, especially in an environment
that‘s based mostly on text. Images can be in .gif, .jpg,
or .png formats. The maximum size of a main image is 394
wide x 366 high. If the image is larger than that, you
should reduce it in size to 394 x 366 using Photoshop or a
similar program before importing it into FLAn.
You can also go to picnik.com, a free Web site that lets you do
Include an audio recording OR video clip of the L2 text.
main L2 text should be recorded and imported into the FLAn unit as an .mp3 file. This gives
the student another way to process the text and greatly
increases the pedagogical value of the unit. Here is some
information about creating audio and video recordings:
You can make recordings using a
free program like Audacity (Mac and PC) or Garage Band
(free on Macintosh). If you use Audacity, you have to
include the LAME plug-in to export an .mp3 file. The .mp3
format is what we need for commercial FLAn units.
The file settings should be 16
bit, 22 khz, mono.
The recordings should have no
hiss, pops, echos, background noise, static or ‘empty
room’ effect. The ‘empty room’ effect happens when the
speaker’s mouth is too far from the microphone when making
happens usually with the 'p' or 't' sounds. To prevent
that, put a wind screen over your microphone. You can also
drape a cloth over the microphone but make sure it's heavy
enough so that it won't move when you talk into the mic. I
use the type of cloth that's used for cleaning reading
glasses. You can also hold three fingers between your
mouth and the microphone.
Add an audio recording AND video clip for L2 text.
Comments: In some
cases, the FLAn
unit might be based on the transcript of a video. In
that case, it’s a good idea to make an audio
version of the video clip so that the learner
can choose between the audio and
video. For some learners the video may be distracting.
Add an audio recording for the glossary with a recording of L1.
Comments: When you gloss words and phrases
a glossary is automatically generated. You can make a
recording of the glossary to help the learner with
pronunciation. I highly recommend that you speak the L2
words and phrases slowly and enunciate
very clearly when you record the glossary. Think
9. Add an audio recording for
the glossary with a recording of L1 & L2.
Comments: The glossary will show the L2
word in bold and the L1 translation or L2 definition below
it. When you record both L2 and L1, this is particularly
beneficial to auditory learners and greatly
increases the pedagogical value of the unit.
10. Record all audio at 22 KHz,
some technical information about audio. You will likely
use a program like Audacity (a free program for recording and
editing voice, Mac & PC) to make your audio files.
Recording programs usually have settings that need to be
adjusted beforehand. Audacity can export .wav files (or .mp3
files with the LAME plug-in). If you don’t want to bother
with the LAME plug-in you can convert the .wav file to
.mp3 with a program like Switch.
11. Be sure that audio and video
have no hiss, background noise, echo, ‘pop’,
aspiration or ‘empty room’ effect.
Comments: The quality of the audio in a FLAn unit is very important,
especially for beginning students.
12. Audio and / or video
speakers should be native speakers or indistinguishable from
native speakers. The regional accent(s) of the speaker(s) should
be mentioned in the CREDITS
Comments: This recommendation exists
because students should use native speaker pronunciation
as their model. Different native regional accents are
acceptable for FLAn units except for those that might
be an extreme departure from generally understandable
accents. For example, for English a standard American,
Australian or British accent would be OK. However, there
are extremes in all those accent groups and they should be
avoided unless you want to set up a category in the Share
Area for that.
It is very important to mention the regional accent
of the speakers in the CREDITS section of FLAn.
Universally understood regional accent variations
might be mentioned in the Credits Section too, for
example, German (Bavaria). Contrast
this with Bavarian, which is a German dialect not
universally understood by German speakers and should be
placed in its own separate category.
Some non-native speakers may have
accents that are indistinguishable from that of native
speakers. The litmus test for this is whether a native
speaker can perceive the difference. If you’re considering
using a non-native speaker for your audio recordings and you
are not a native speaker yourself, please have a native
speaker listen to the recording to make an objective
13. Use the highlighting feature
for the audio text.
Comments: You can
set up your unit so that when a line is heard in an audio
clip, the corresponding line in the text turns red.
This makes it easier for the student to follow the text.
14. Use the highlighting feature
for the video text. (Video
Comments: You can set up your unit so that
when a line is heard in an video clip, the corresponding
line in the text turns red.
This makes it easier for the student to follow the text.
15. Use the highlighting feature
for the glossary audio.
Comments: You can
set up your unit so that when a line is heard in an audio
recording of the glossary, the corresponding line in the
glossary turns red. This makes it easier for the
student to follow the text in the glossary.
16. Include a global
should include a global L1 translation of the L2 text, if
appropriate. This helps the student see the ‘big picture’.
Don’t write a literal translation. Write a translation
that captures the general meaning,
but sounds normal to the learner. The glosses will cover
details but the global translation covers the general
categories such as English for Speakers of Other
Languages are meant for students who don’t
necessarily speak the same native language. In this case,
you might write a simplified version of the text instead
of a translation .
17. Write information in the
Comments: You can
write text about culture in the CULTURE SECTION. This
section is for the L2 text as a
You can also add culture comments for specific glosses on
the datacard for that specific gloss.
18. Add links in the CULTURE
Video Demo in #17)
Comments: you can
also add up to 5 links to Web sites dealing with cultural
issues mentioned in the L2 text.
You should check the links periodically to make sure there
are no ‘dead’ ones. If you find a dead link, send us
feedback telling us which link is dead and which link
should replace it.
19. Add links in the REFERENCE
REFERENCE section contains up to 5 Web links to sites that
can be used as general references such as a dictionary,
verb conjugator, grammar reference, etc.
20. Add information in the
Comments: There is a CREDITS section where
you acknowledge everyone who helped you create your FLAn
unit. You edit this section as you would using a word
processor. You can add lines as you wish and use the FLAn
menubar to change font styles.
At the end of the CREDITS section
are the names of people who helped me develop FLAn. Please leave those name there
because they really, really deserve to be recognized,
thank you very much!
21. Create online exercises or
Follow-up activities and exercises are crucial for
reinforcing the material in your unit. Providing such
materials greatly enhances the pedagogical value of your
The QUIZ section of FLAn
allows you to link to online activities and exercises that
you create. Although there are different ways to do this,
we highly recommend Quia
Web, which has 10 different exercise
formats and 16 activity formats. You can add up to 5 such quizzes or
activities in each FLAn
Web is an online service that lets you
create activities and exercises by simply entering
content. You don’t need any programming skills. It’s also
extremely well-suited to foreign language learning since
it handles various writing systems very well and even
includes character palettes for dozens of languages.
Web also lets you attach images, video
and audio to the activites and exercises.
Click here to find out more about Quia
A yearly subscription to Quia
Web costs $49.
After you create your Quia
Web activities and exercises, you
share them with us and we import
them into our own Quia
There are also free
alternatives for creating online quizzes and activities.
To see a list of them click here.
your FLAn unit is very easy.
Name the folder with the FLAn
unit and compress it into a single .zip file.
you submit your FLAn unit,
everything should be contained in a single folder. This
-external audio file and / or
Remove any of the images from the folder that you
may have used in creating the FLAn unit. You won't
need them anymore.
Before you started glossing and
importing media into your unit, you should have given the
folder the same name as the title of FLAn
unit. This name is important because it’s part of the path
name to your audio and video files. If you change the name
AFTER you start
glossing, there will be a change in the path name and your
unit won’t be able to find the
audio and video clip.
You must compress your folder into
a .zip file. This creates a single file that can be
uploaded. Before ‘zipping’ the folder, remove all image
files from the folder. They won’t be needed anymore. Also,
remove FLAn from the folder.
After you submit the file to us, we unzip it and put the
unit through the approval process.
If you don’t know how to ‘zip’ a
are the instructions:
On Macintosh, right-click on the folder and
select “Compress <name of folder>”. A .zip file with
the same name as the folder will then appear. Send us the
.zip file only.
On PC ( Windows 7), right-click on the
folder and select “Send to...” > “Compressed (zipped)
folder”. A .zip file will then appear. Send us the .zip
all you have to do is go to the Upload
page. There you'll upload your file to the server and then
fill in a short Submissions Form.
will then do the following:
-prepare it for both Macintosh and PC
-give it a unique number that teachers can refer to
when making assignments to their students
-put it into the Share Area in the appropriate
simply go to the Share
Area, find the FLAn
unit that they want, and then click on it to download it
onto their hard drives.
will be downloading a compressed .zip file so they'll have
to decompress the file in order to see the folder with
your FLAn unit.
decompress on a Mac, just double-click on the .zip file.
decompress on a PC, right-click on the .zip file and
select EXTRACT from the menu.