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MOOssiggang is one of the world's first bilingual German-English MOOs. MOOs are powerful online learning environments that developed from some of the earliest gaming software available on the Internet. Despite its pedigree, MOOs remain cutting-edge software with powerful, easy-to-use programming capabilities. In MOOssiggang, students use German to communicate with native speakers and other language learners online, complete rich, collaborative projects, and build their own individualized, German-language spaces and objects.

MOOssiggang was created at Vassar in 1998 by Jeffrey Schneider, Silke von der Emde, and two student assistants, Andrew Rosenberg '01 and Cristina Carp '00 using the enCore Learning Environment, a system developed by Jan Rune Holmevik and Cynthia Haynes at LinguaMOO. The name MOOssiggang is a pun on the word Müßiggang, a German word that means something akin to leisure, relaxation, and idleness, and which is intended to capture the MOO's dimension of play.

MOOssiggang continues to be used as an integral part of the Department's award-winning Intermediate German Sequence. The value of using MOOssiggang for intellectually rich language learning has been documented in several published articles and books:

  1. von der Emde, Silke, Jeffrey Schneider, and Markus Kötter. "Technically Speaking: Transforming Language Learning through Virtual Learning Environments (Moos)." Modern Language Journal 85.2 (2001): 210-25.
  2. Schneider, Jeffrey, and Silke von der Emde. "Brave New (Virtual) World: Transforming Language Learning into Cultural Studies through Online Learning Environments (Moos)." ADFL Bulletin 32.1 (2000): 18-26.
  3. Kötter, Markus. Tandem Learning on the Internet: Learner Interactions in Virtual Online Environments (Moos). Foreign Language Teaching in Europe. Eds. Pamela Faber, et al. Vol. 6. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2002.
  4. von der Emde, Silke, and Jeffrey Schneider. "Experiential Learning and Collaborative Reading: Literacy in the Space of Virtual Encounters." Between the Lines: Perspectives on Foreign Language Literacy. Ed. Peter Patrikis. New Haven: Yale U P, 2003. 118-43.
  5. Schneider, Jeffrey, and Silke von der Emde. "Dialogue, Conflict, and Intercultural Learning in Online Collaborations between Language Learners and Native Speakers." Computer-Mediated Intercultural Foreign Language Learning. Eds. Julie Belz and Steven L. Thorne. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, forthcoming 2005. 178-206.