Russian language professor wins 2016 "Access to Language Education" award for creating web-based textbook
Author: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Posted: June 6, 2016

William J. Comer (World Languages and Literatures) is one of the co-authors of, an educational website for learning Russian, that has been recognized with the 2016 Esperanto "Access to Language Education” Award, presented by the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO), the Esperantic Studies Foundation, and

The CALICO (Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) is one of the leading national organizations promoting technology-based language learning and the organization’s selection committee found the goals, structure, and realization of the website to be very impressive, and exemplary of the aims for the Award. 

Между нами (Between you and me) is a web-based textbook that provides a comprehensive introductory course in Russian language and culture. The website is supplemented with a classroom activities manual and a homework manual, and all the components of the work are distributed for free, under the Open Access initiative. The contents of the website and ancillaries were authored by Lynne deBenedette (Brown University), William Comer (Portland State University), and Alla Smyslova (Columbia University). The design and functionality of the website were provided by Jonathan Perkins and Keah Cunningham, both at the University of Kansas.

Since its publication in July 2015, the website and related materials have been adopted for beginning Russian classes at seven universities in the US.

William J. Comer is Associate Professor of Russian and Director of the Russian Flagship Program at Portland State. He received his PhD in Russian literature in 1992 from the University of California, Berkeley, and before joining PSU in Fall 2014, he taught at the University of Kansas.