Carnegie Mellon University

Bonnie Youngs

Bonnie Youngs

Teaching Professor of French & Francophone Studies
Faculty, M.A. In Applied Second Language Acquisition
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Modern Languages

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall 160
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


When talking with colleagues or prospective colleagues, I joke that CMU was my first job and will be my last. I guess that either means that I’m lazy or that I’m happy to be doing this work; I’m going to go with happy.

I joined the Department of Modern Languages in 1993 as a Lecturer in French. Given the years and title changes, I am now a Full Teaching Professor in French & Francophone Studies. This change over time exemplifies what working in ML (Modern Languages) encourages: that we be effective, efficient, and creative in our teaching and our research. This freedom, constructive but not prescriptive, has allowed me to develop a career uniquely my own.


M.A. University of Albany
M.A. University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania


My research links teaching, learning, and teacher training; at different points in my career I focused on one more than another. At this time, my focus is on how students interact with an online course to learn language, specifically, our online Elementary French I course. To my mind, research can’t understand how learning takes place in an online environment until we know how students actually interact with course materials when they take an online course.

In a first, ongoing project, I have worked with undergraduate students, graduate students, and colleagues in our Department of Statistics and Data Science to try and focus our collective talents into visualizing the logged data from online course use. In 2018, Alan Mishler, a Ph.D. student in Statistics and Data Science working with Dr. Rebecca Nugent, successfully developed a tool that provides student data to teachers (non-specialists in data science and statistics) that they could use to follow students through their learning in real time.

In addition to understanding how students use online language courses and helping teachers intervene in a timely manner, I believe that once we understand effective and efficient ways to learn language online, we can teach these strategies to all of our students. To this end, as a second project, I am engaged in the process of interviewing and recording students during their online work. If we as instructors can offer insight into how ‘successful’ students use the course materials, we can improve learning for all of our students.


Early on at CMU my focus was on course development and refinement, and articulation among our third year courses through to our fourth year courses. When the class of ’93 arrived at CMU, the courses were taught according to skill: conversation, grammar, writing… Subsequently we changed to content-based courses: Introduction to French Culture, The Francophone World, and French in its Social Contexts. Since their creation, these courses have gone through many iterations based on who teaches them and global changes, and they remain our core and required courses for the minor and major.

I have enjoyed teaching fourth year content courses on topics such as, for example, a Senegalese filmmaker, an extended look at the development of France from Antiquity through to the Renaissance, the settling of North America and Pittsburgh by the French and their current influence in Pittsburgh, and the reading of paraliterature, which is to say fiction novels in the thriller, horror, and science-fiction genres by modern French and francophone authors.

And of course, teaching first and second year courses is vitally important. It is always amazing to me how students who know no French on the first day of a semester, can function in what was, a short three months prior, a foreign language. Carnegie Mellon students are extraordinary when it comes to challenging themselves and making as much progress as they possibly can in the time they have.

Selected Publications

Youngs, B., Prakash, A., & Nugent, R. (2017) Statistically-driven visualizations of student interactions with a French online course video. Computer Assisted Language Learning, special issue. DOI: 10.1080/09588221.2017.1367311

Youngs, B., Moss-Horwitz, S., & Snyder, E. (2015) Educational Data Mining for Elementary French Online: A Descriptive Study. In E. Dixon & M. Thomas (Eds.), Researching Language Learner Interactions Online: From Social Media to MOOCs (pp. 347-368). CALICO Book Series Volume 13. Available online

Bayle, A. & Youngs, B. (2013) Patterns of Interaction Between Moderators and Learners During Synchronous Oral Discussions Online. In P. Hubbard, B. Smith, M. Schulze (Eds.), Learner-Computer Interaction in Language Education: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Fischer (pp. 66-91). San Marcos, TX: CALICO.

Youngs, B. (2013) How I Met Bob Fischer. In P. Hubbard, B. Smith, M. Schulze (Eds.), Learner-Computer Interaction in Language Education: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Fischer (pp. 10-11). San Marcos, TX: CALICO.

Youngs, B., Arnold, N., & Ducate, L. (2011) Linking SLA, CALL, and Language Pedagogy. In N. Arnold and L. Ducate (Eds.), Present and Future Promises of CALL: From Theory and Research to New Directions in Language Teaching (pp. 23-60). San Marcos, TX: CALICO. [new edition due in 2018]

“Multilateral online exchanges for language and culture learning,” Language Learning and Technology, special issue. Guest editors: Tim Lewis (Open University, UK), Thierry Chanier (Université de Clermont-Ferrand, France), and Bonnie Youngs, February 2011. Available at

Hauck, M. & B. Youngs (2008). “Telecollaboration in multimodal environments:  the impact on task design and learner interaction.” Computer-Assisted Language Learning (21:2), 87-124.

Youngs, B. (2007). Teaching Teachers: Methodological Questions for the Online Environment. In M.A. Kassen, R. Lavine, K. Murphy-Judy, & M. Peters (Eds.), Preparing and Developing Technology-proficient L2 Teachers. San Marcos, TX: CALICO.

Murphy-Judy, K. & B. Youngs. (2006). Technology Standards for Teacher Education, Credentialing, and Certification. In P. Hubbard & M.Levy (Eds.), Teacher Education in CALL. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Jones, C.M. & B. Youngs. (2006). Teacher Preparation for Online Language Instruction. In P. Hubbard & M. Levy (Eds.), Teacher Education in CALL. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


  • Dietrich College Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service, 2012
  • Contest Administrator of the Year, Grand Concours (National French Contest) for a small chapter, 2011
  • Carnegie Mellon Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council, Role Model Award, 2009
  • Recognized by the Carnegie Mellon Sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta for Outstanding Dedication as professor, 2009
  • Named Mentor for a CMU graduate returning to speak for the Odyssey Program, 2009
  • Esperanto Award for Excellence in opening access for learning foreign languages for French Online, with Chris Jones, Sophie Queuniet, and Marc Siskin (Carnegie    Mellon); CALICO, 2007.

Courses Taught

  • 82-101 Elementary French I
  • 82-102 Elementary French II
  • 82-103 Elementary French I Online
  • 82-104 Elementary French II Online
  • 82-201 Intermediate French I
  • 82-202 Intermediate French II
  • 82-301 Advanced French Grammar, Syntax, and Stylistics
  • 82-303 Introduction to French Culture
  • 400 level course topics: Ousmane Sembène, The French in America, France’s Origins: Antiquity through Renaissance, French and Francophone Paraliterature

Department Member Since