• BA, Bowdoin College, 1981
  • EdM, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1988
  • MA, University of Texas, 1990


Barbara has taught a variety of language classes in the Hispanic Studies department, mostly at the second year or intermediate level.  She has taught HISP 205/HISP 303 "Advanced Conversation and Communication in Spanish" since  2004. Barbara is interested in language pedagogy, language acquisition and technologies that make teaching and learning happen.   In addition to teaching 2 courses a year with Hispanic Studies, Barbara directs the Cooper International Learning Center at Oberlin.

Barbara also runs the Virtual Language Table Project (you can read more about the VLT here). 

When time allows, she blogs about her work in language learning and technology here:  She also is a faculty blogger for the Oberlin blog project.  You can find the blog here:

Professional Publications

  • “Learning Languages Out in the Open: Creating a Worldwide Community of Learners with Wordpress...and then giving it all away” Open Resources, Open Practices, Open Communication  Ebook,  to be published Spring 2013
  • “Special Needs and Usages to be Considered in Designing a Center”, 4th edition of the IALLT Language Center Design Manual, summer 2011
  • “Beyond Fear 2.0: Social Media, Literacies, and the World Beyond Walls, “New Media Consortium’s 2009 Summer Conference Proceedings, approved for publication Winter 2009-10
  • “The Changing Role of The Language Teacher/Technologist in a Web 2.0 World: Connected Learning, Meaningful Collaborations, and Reciprocal Apprenticeships in the Foreign Language Classroom,” The IALLT Journal, Fall 2008
  • “From Knowledge Management to Knowledge Sharing: Language Learning and Technology in a Brave New World” Digital Stream Conference Published Proceedings, University of California-Monterey Bay, February 2008
  • “How Did A Couple of Veteran Teachers End Up in A Space Like This?: Extraordinary Intersections Between learning, Social Software and Teaching”  The Knowledge Tree E-Journal of Learning Innovation,  Edition 15: Making Ground, November 2007, (
  • “Using Skype for Teaching,” Coming of Age: An Introduction to the NEW Worldwide Web Implementing Web 2.0 In The Classroom, A Holistic Approach, (2nd edition) Terry Freedman, editor, Winter 2006/7
  • “Professional Resources for Language Learning Technology and Media Management,” The IALLT Management Manual, 2003
  • “Special Needs and Usages to be Considered in Designing a Center”, 3rd edition of the IALLT Language Center Design Kit, 2001


  • Barbara Sawhill Presents Research

    December 8, 2016

    Barbara Sawhill, assistant professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies, presented her research at the American Association of Spanish and Portuguese Annual Conference and in a webinar at the Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland. Her research is focused on how teachers use the award-winning Spanish language podcasts produced by Radio Ambulante.

    Barbara was recently named the Spanish Language Education Coordinator for Radio Ambulante, where she shares her expertise in language learning and pedagogy.

  • Barbara Sawhill Collaborates with Radio Ambulante

    February 9, 2016

    Barbara Sawhill, Hispanic studies instructor and director of the Cooper International Learning Center (CILC), is working with Radio Ambulante to develop teaching materials for language classes that use Radio Ambulante podcasts to teach Spanish.

    On Monday, February 8, the team launched a series of blog posts by teachers who use Radio Ambulante in the classroom as well as examples of their teaching materials. Sawhill’s post, the first in the series, can be seen on this webpage. The lesson plan shared in the post was created with the help of Rebecca Cohen, who serves as a teaching assistant in Sawhill’s HISP 303 course.

    Sawhill and Cohen, along with Carolina Guerrero, executive producer of Radio Ambulante, will present on this project at the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) on Friday, February, February 12, in New York City.

  • Qiusha Ma, Steven Wojtal, and Barbara Sawhill Present

    May 13, 2015

    Qiusha Ma, associate professor of Chinese; Steven Wojtal, professor of geology and associate dean for curriculum; and Barbara Sawhill, director of the Cooper International Learning Center, presented “Oberlin’s Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) Grant: Connecting Languages with the Study of the Environment in Asia” at the Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum Annual Conference at Denison University on April 16, 2015.


On the Air with Españoberlin

May 25, 2016
Students enrolled in Conversation and Communication in Spanish improve their speaking abilities by hosting a live weekly hourlong radio program.