2022 Lesson Updates

The RAILS lessons were updated in 2021-22 by Shannon Donnally Quinn, Michigan State University, with University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students Lidia Gault and Isabella Palange.

Karen Evans-Romaine (UW-Madison), Dianna Murphy (UW-Madison), Benjamin Rifkin (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Victoria Thorstensson (Nazarbayev University), and Anna Tumarkin (UW-Madison) consulted on the updates.

Updates to the RAILS lessons were supported by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Russian Flagship Program.

The RAILS project was funded by 3-year (2003-06) grant from the International Research and Studies Program, International Education Programs, Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. We thank program officer Ed McDermott in particular for all of his help and support over the course of the grant project.

RAILS Advisory Board (2003-6)
Mark Beissinger, University of Wisconsin-Madison
David Danaher, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Fran Hirsch, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Olga Kagan, University of California-Los Angeles
Frank Miller, Columbia University
Rebecca Oxford, University of Maryland
Paul Sandrock, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Elvira Swender, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

Additional outside reviewers
Anne Gorsuch, University of British Columbia
Manon Van de Water, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Elena Nikolaevna Shchepina, Saint Petersburg State University

We especially thank Olga Kagan for her careful review and editing of the RAILS lessons.

Special thanks
We wish to especially thank the following individuals, without whose contributions the RAILS project would not have been possible:

  • Galina Aksenova, theater and film historian and critic and former Associate Director of the Middlebury College Russian School, who conducted and filmed interviews with experts and prominent public figures in Russia and the U.S.
  • Marina Goldovskaya, one of the world’s most accomplished documentarians, who helped us to obtain permission to use excerpts her films Solovky Power and Children of Ivan Kuzmich in our project and shared her personal memories and experiences through two video-taped interviews and many personal conversations;
  • Sergei Khruschev, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, for sharing personal memories about his father Nikita Khrushchev, and for providing a unique perspective on his father’s legacy.
  • Alexander Prokhorov, Department of Modern Languages, College of William and Mary, who shared recollections of his grandfather, and his family’s experiences after his grandfather was interviewed for the film Solovky Power.

Use of excerpts from the films Solovky Power and Children of Ivan Kuzmich in the RAILS lessons is courtesy of Goldfilms.

We acknowledge and thank the many individuals who agreed to be interviewed for this project, and the many speakers of Russian who lent their voices to the audio recordings in the lessons.

In all RAILS lessons, all photographs without an attribution are stills taken from one of the video clips on which the lesson is based.

We thank the students of Russian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who tested these and previous versions of these materials and gave us valuable suggestions and feedback.

University support
We thank the UW-Madison Slavic Department for providing a first institutional home for the project. We especially thank Slavic Department administrator Jean Hennessey for all of her work on behalf of the grant.

Finally, we extend our sincere gratitude to the many talented programmers, graphic designers and media production specialists with UW-Madison Division of Information Technology Learning Solutions and Letters and Science Learning Support Services, and Xivic Communications, especially Bruno Browning, Ron Cramer, Michelle Glenetski, Doug Worsham, and Bahman Zakeri.

The original RAILS lessons were created with the Multimedia Annotator and Multimedia LessonBuilder, authoring software developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The updated (in 2022) RAILS lessons were created with Pressbooks and H5P.