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*CFP* Languages in HE conference: Frameworks for collaboration and multilingualism, Warwick University, 6-7 July 2016

*CFP* Languages in HE conference: Frameworks for collaboration and multilingualism, Warwick University, 6-7 July 2016 | LLAS blog | Scoop.it
CALL FOR PAPERS

The ninth biennial joint LLAS, UCML and AULC conference aims to bring together language practitioners from Secondary, Higher, and Further Education to celebrate language collaborations and innovations across the sector.

The conference is centred on the development of partnerships and frameworks that have formed between individuals or institutions who are continuing to work on bringing languages to the fore.  As a response to challenging times in which our strategically important, yet vulnerable, subjects continue to feel the strain of falling student numbers, instigating innovative collaborations and teaching practices has indeed become of strategic importance in the re-framing of language learning at all levels.

The conference would like to explore the current re-thinking of languages provision from a multi-faceted perspective, focusing on the added value that collaborations bring to the sector at large. In this respect, the event will be divided into the following themes:

Transitions in languages educationRoutes into Languages: success storiesInnovative collaborations in outreachSustainability of collaborations post-fundingTransitions in and out of higher educationFrameworks for enhancing language educationImplementation of innovative frameworks for language teachingBenchmarkingCEF use and implementationInnovation and collaboration in language educationCollaborations in curriculum design and reformsCollaborations in resource developmentCollaborations in innovative teaching practicesCollaborations in researchCollaborations and impact on the publicMultilingualism for EU collaboration and beyondCollaborations beyond national frontiersChallenges of multilingual collaborationsThe multilingual benefit of collaborationTeaching Excellence FrameworkImplications for the sectorChallenges of implementation

Abstracts of up to 200 words for papers or ideas for posters should be submitted no later than Friday 4th March 2016. The online submission form can be downloaded here.  Papers should be 20 minutes with 10 minutes for discussion.

Please send your abstracts to : llas@soton.ac.uk no later than Friday 4th March 2016.

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Learn a language in 2016, Britons are urged - BBC News

Learn a language in 2016, Britons are urged - BBC News | LLAS blog | Scoop.it
As the New Year beckons, the British Council is calling on people in the UK to make learning a foreign language their resolution for 2016.
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Looking to the future in languages

Looking to the future in languages | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

Over the past few years, the UK has relied on a good deal of government support to help maintain and develop languages in our schools and universities. This has taken many forms, including funding to subsidise work and study abroad, incentives for people to train as language teachers, and projects like the Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning, the Subject Centre, Routes into languages, Born Global (British Academy), Translating Cultures and Open World (AHRC).

As the government’s priorities start to crystallise, it is apparent that this kind of funding is coming to an end. Ministers may intervene in regulations that oblige institutions to meet certain conditions (e.g. teaching excellence or widening access). But the new regime for higher education as for schools is more market-driven than ever.

The landscape for languages in HE is changing in ways that have become familiar. More students than ever are crowding into institution-wide language programmes at the same time as many language degrees are struggling to attract enough students. In part this is a response to the expectations of what is needed for a career in a globalised world, and in part it reflects the pressure in the UK and across Europe to direct students away from the humanities and towards more ‘useful’ subjects. Language and intercultural competence are recognised as important auxiliary skills, while the knowledge of other cultures and societies is not highly valued outside specialist professions like interpreting, translating and language teaching.

The languages community is more than ever faced with the choice of defending its traditional degree profiles or inventing new ways of engaging the interest of students and the wider public. The results in recent times have been a wide range of different directions, some of them highly innovative. Where we have not succeeded is in articulating a shared vision that refreshes public perception of our degrees. This remains a priority for collective action, even in the absence of publicly funded initiatives. The high level of collaboration and mutual support within the language community is one of our strongest assets, and we will need to draw on it increasingly in the future.

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FutureLearn MOOC ‘Understanding Language: learning and teaching’ rides again!

FutureLearn MOOC ‘Understanding Language: learning and teaching’ rides again! | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

April 20th saw the start of the second run of the University of Southampton/British Council course ‘Understanding Language: learning and teaching.’ This is a free 4-week, online course run through FutureLearn. As designer of the course, I spent several months reviewing content and activities: responding to user and tutor feedback, tweaking tasks and wording and considering the inclusion of new elements. As we approached that April start date, it was, once again, tremendously exciting to see learner numbers growing daily – and we ended up with 41,000+ signed up for the course. The course completed successfully and it has been an absolute pleasure to hear the voices of so many language learners and teachers sharing their experiences from around the globe. Over 90% of our learners are from outside the UK.

This time round, we have had two new live sessions with Professor Roumyana Slabakova and Professor Ros Mitchell. Roumyana Slabakova talked about her ‘bottleneck hypothesis’ and responded to the many questions we have had surrounding this idea. Ros Mitchell was joined by Richard Kiely and Julia Huettner to discuss CLIL, TBLT and the challenge of innovation in teaching. Our regular live session on technology featured input from a globally-located group of British Council tutors, and our final live discussion on Global English featured Professor Jennifer Jenkins, Will Baker and Ying Wang. The course will run for a third time later this year. Look out for it on www.futurelearn.com and please join the discussion – we look forward to hearing from you!

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French with Plymouth University

French with Plymouth University | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

From September 2014 French can be studied from first year undergraduate, right through to postgraduate level with Plymouth University in Devon.  French language had for many years been available from an ab initio level to final year degree-level but the move by Modern Languages into the School of Tourism & Hospitality in 2009 provided the opportunity to develop a French Culture & Society strand for all tourism undergraduates.  In 2013 this was fully rolled out, with the culture modules, as well as the language modules being made available as options to students from other degrees across Plymouth University.  This meant that Plymouth effectively had a French Studies department with approximately 100 students involved in French language or French culture at a level appropriate to their degree.

To build on this strong French offering, and to demonstrate that engagement with French studies need not stop with a BSc or BA, the ResM was launched, via jobs.ac.uk with a bursary competition in February 2014.  ResM, the Research Masters, is a new model for postgraduate study, combining a 60-credit M-Level taught component in methodologies followed by a practicum, a practice-based project in which the postgraduate completes a piece of commercial writing or consultancy in parallel with a theoretical critique.  As well as a ResM French Culture & Society, other ResM routes give the research student opportunities to conduct research out in Nice and Cannes for two months thanks to a new Erasmus+ agreement between Plymouth University and IUT Nice-Côte d'Azur to twin our two Riviera Universities.  We are fortunate in Plymouth's School of Tourism & Hospitality with Modern Languages, not only for our regular field trip to Nice every year but also for our overnight ferry link direct from Plymouth to Brittany.  This ease of access for our researchers directly into France means that projects can be more easily completed with the usual return trips that fieldwork demands.  For Stage 1 students in Tourism, too, a regular field trip in October every year introduces them to fieldwork in France; we have been extending our range of towns from Roscoff and Morlaix out to Concarneau on the southern coast of Finistère this year.  Indeed my own doctoral work was on Concarneau and the development of literary tourism in France.  

With such a large and diverse group now studying French across the university and with new partners in Paris, Nice and Brittany, Plymouth launched an open social media site using Google+ Communities, where you can share ideas at this web address http://goo.gl/NegArD

 

Charlie Mansfield, Lecturer in Tourism Management and French

ResM Programme Leader French Culture & Society

Plymouth University School of Tourism and Hospitality with Modern Languages

Room 321 Cookworthy Building

Hampton Street

PLYMOUTH    PL4 8AA 

 

Email c.mansfield@plymouth.ac.uk

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Another year, another great e-learning symposium!

Another year, another great e-learning symposium! | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

Well, it is February again and I’m basking in the memory of another excellent LLAS elearning symposium on 23/24 January… This year was our 9th and biggest yet, with speakers and attendees from around the globe delighting and inspiring us with stories of innovation in the use of technology in language teaching.

We kicked off on day one, with an entertaining and informative keynote presentation from Professor Jozef Colpaert (University of Antwerp) who proposed a theory of ‘educational engineering’ as an approach to understanding when, where and how to use technology in teaching. At one point, he likened his theory to a moment in the cooking show ‘Cupcake Wars’ (when the judge notes that in making good cupcakes, one should focus on getting the process right rather than fixating on the final output) and so I can’t help but think of his ideas in a new light: the cupcake theory! In this respect, his keynote presentation certainly gave us ‘food for thought’ and I know his ideas will have wide-ranging and lasting impact on our delegates. Catch-up with a recording of his talk at:https://www.llas.ac.uk/livestream

Our second keynote speaker was independent language consultant Joe Dale, who is more used to addressing international gatherings of school teachers rather than practitioners in higher education, so he brought a new perspective to the day. He has founded a large, global community of MFL practitioners through Twitter (the #MFLtwitterati) who exchange teaching ideas, tips and experiences about the use of technology in language teaching. He outlined their experiences and then bombarded us with links demonstrating good tools and good practices which are used in the schools sector. At an early point, I (and just about everyone else) gave up writing everything down and so I know you’ll need to return to our website to enjoy his presentation again: https://www.llas.ac.uk/livestream

Professor Hugh Davis opened our second day with a keynote session asking the timely question: ‘why make MOOCs?’ He talked in the light of Southampton’s own recent experience of running MOOCs through the FutureLearn project and described the perceived benefits to institutions, the challenges – financial, technical and pedagogical – in running a MOOC, and the real costs of doing so. He suggested an innovative vision of the future in HE, in which the MOOC-model is an offering to all students, with increased support, tutor interaction and extended materials available to students on site. Find out more about this idea by catching up with his presentation at: https://www.llas.ac.uk/livestream

Our final, closing keynote was given by Marina Orsini-Jones whose lively and interesting session on ‘web 2.0 intercultural communicative competence’ rejuvenated us and sent us back to our classrooms with renewed energy for the semester ahead. She acknowledged that recent developments in technology and social networking offer a wealth of opportunities for language learning. In this context, she advocated a need for our students to have an understanding of Intercultural Cyberpragmatic Communicative Competence (ICCC). Find out more about this idea and its theoretical foundations at: https://www.llas.ac.uk/livestream

Our keynotes were surrounded and supported by an excellent range of presentations from language researchers and teachers across the world. Topics included open educational resources, computer assisted translation, apps and other innovative tools, good practice with wikis and Google Docs, telecollaboration, research on social media usage, online assessment and feedback and online learning for less widely-used languages. We also had workshops on the Year Abroad online and subtitling and dubbing using Clipfair Studio, and interesting poster and demo sessions.

This year, we also had a symposium ‘fringe’ for presenters who could not come in person. Several presenters kindly recorded their presentations in advance for our website and conference app. Enjoy their work and contact them if you have any questions!

The influence of mobile phones on student autonomy – Simon Cooke (Tohoku Institute of Technology), Adrian Leis (Miyagi University of Education) and Akihiko Tohei (Sakura no Seibo Junior College, Fukushima), Japan

Let’s Get Virtual! Embedding experiential learning and teaching in international postgraduate education – Silke Reeploeg (University of the Highlands and Islands) and William Frost (University of Sheffield).

Keep up to date with symposium news by following our Twitter feed @elearnllas, tweeting using our hashtag #elearnllas, and looking at our scoop.it page http://www.scoop.it/t/e-learning-symposium . ;

Thank you to all of our speakers and attendees who always make the LLAS elearning symposium such a joy to be part of. I look forward to seeing you next year for our 10th birthday, and hearing about more exciting innovations in technology and language teaching!

Kate Borthwick,

Senior Academic Coordinator, LLAS Centre

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Getting the most out of feedback

Getting the most out of feedback | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

As part of the SPEAQ project (Sharing Practice in Enhancing and Assuring Quality), LLAS and nine other partner HEIs in Europe have developed initiatives to improve quality practice and culture within HE institutions. The initiative that we have chosen at the University of Southampton addresses feedback issues, which were raised in the first phase of the project by students, academic staff and quality staff. Dr John Canning and Laurence Georgin have developed online resources, which aim to get staff and students to reflect on what good quality feedback is as well as promoting and sharing good practices amongst practitioners.

 

We chose to approach issues of feedback in practical, clear and meaningful ways, and to achieve this, we have:

-       examined current methods for giving and receiving student feedback at the university (illustrated by case studies of what is already being done successfully by teachers);

-       provided activities which encourage reflection on how staff and students can improve the ways in which feedback is delivered, received, and reported;

-       provided clear explanations of quality assurance processes and mechanisms at the University and how these relate to the feedback given and received by student.

 

We have interviewed two members of staff: Bella Millet, Professor of Medieval Literature, who recently received an award for ‘student feedback’ at the Student Excellence Awards, and Simon Kemp, Principal Teaching Fellow, whose work was recognised through the award of a National Teaching Fellowship in 2010. Simon is also currently the national Academic Lead in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at the Higher Education Academy. Bella and Simon both highlighted the need for teachers to know their students in order to give meaningful feedback. Both also emphasised the value in giving verbal feedback to students, which gives teachers a chance to explain their comments better and ensure that they are understood by students in the way they were intended.

 

This project has been supported by Professor Alex Neill, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Southampton, and by Dr James Minney, the Associate Dean for Education in the Faculty of Humanities. It will be further disseminated to other colleagues and Faculties at a University conference on feedback in February 2014. We will also continue collecting and sharing good feedback practice in the coming year and to involve students more closely in the development of the website. If you want to share your feedback story, contact Laurence Georgin at l.i.georgin@soton.ac.uk. Find out more at http://blog.soton.ac.uk/gmoof/

 

Laurence Georgin

Academic Coordinator, LLAS Centre

 


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Open Educational Resources in Modern Languages

Open Educational Resources in Modern Languages | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

On 20th September, the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol is hosting a one-day conference on teaching and learning languages through the use of online open educational resources (OERs). I am lucky to have been invited as a keynote speaker to this event and I’m really looking forward to attending and sharing my experiences of how language teachers have engaged with OERs and the benefits associated with doing so. Open educational practice is becoming a more familiar part of our work as teachers, and yet risks, challenges and questions remain. I hope to encourage attendees to consider and reconsider where they stand in relation to OERs and OEP – and to be challenged myself in turn (despite being a self-confessed OER-evangelist)!

 

The event will include presentations on important work by language educators experimenting with open educational practice which I’m sure will stimulate lots of discussion and encourage further innovation in language teaching and learning. It is going to be a fantastic day – and I hope to see you there! http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/birtha/events/open/

 

Kate Borthwick

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In the loop: getting the most out of feedback

In the loop: getting the most out of feedback | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

As part of our European-funded project SPEAQ (Sharing Practice in Enhancing and Assuring Quality), we have been working with 9 partners in European HEIs to develop initiatives to improve quality practice and culture within HE institutions. The initiative that we have chosen at the University of Southampton addresses feedback issues, which were raised in the first phase of the project by students, academic staff and quality staff. We have been developing online resources, which we will present to University of Southampton staff and students in the autumn through an interactive workshop.

 

We have chosen to approach issues of feedback in practical, clear and meaningful ways, and to achieve this, we will:

 

• Examine current methods for giving and receiving student feedback at the university (illustrated by case studies of what is already being done successfully by some teachers, quality managers and students);

 

• Provide activities which encourage reflection on how staff and students can improve the ways in which feedback is delivered, received, and reported;

 

• Provide clear explanations of quality assurance processes and mechanisms at the University and how these relate to the feedback given and received by student.

 

We have recently interviewed two dedicated members of staff: Bella Millet, Professor of Medieval Literature, who recently received an award for ‘student feedback’ at the Student Excellence Awards, and Simon Kemp, Principal Teaching Fellow, whose work was recognised through the award of a National Teaching Fellowship in 2010. Simon is also currently the national Academic Lead in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at the Higher Education Academy. Bella and Simon both highlighted the need for teachers to know their students in order to give meaningful feedback. Both also emphasised the value in giving verbal feedback to students which gives teachers a chance to explain their comments better and ensure that they are understood by students in the way they were intended.  The full interviews will be available online soon. 

 

To know more about the SPEAQ project, go to www.speaq-project.eu

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Do you engage with iTunesU?

Do you engage with iTunesU? | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

iTunesU is an area within Apple iTunes which allows institutions to create accounts and publish their own, branded educational content. It is a place to showcase excellence in education through the open publication of teaching resources.

We, at LLAS, have recently been involved in the HEA-funded ‘iTunes and You’ project, where  we have taken existing open educational materials published for research and teaching by humanities staff at the University of Southampton, and worked with the university marketing department to repackage them as learning modules in the form of iTunesU course packages.


Read more at http://llasnews.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/do-you-engage-with-itunesu.html ;

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e-learning symposium 2013 | LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

e-learning symposium 2013 | LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

1 week letf to register to attend the 8th e-learning symposium at the University of Southampton, Avenue Campus!

Keynotes incl Prof Mike Neary, Prof Allison Littlejohn, Prof Gráinne Conole & Nik Peachey!

Follow our tweets at  #elearnLLAS!


register now at http://www.llas.ac.uk/elearning2013

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Islamic Studies Network project draws to a close

Islamic Studies Network project draws to a close | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

Since 2009 staff at LLAS have been working on the Islamic Studies Network, a project funded by HEFCE and overseen by the Higher Education Academy. The Network was established following on from a series of consultation meetings and research commissioned by HEFCE on Islamic Studies in Higher Education, including two reports by LLAS staff and colleagues at the then-Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies. The Network brought together academics working in Islamic Studies from a wide range of disciplines, and provided practice-sharing and networking opportunities through events, project grants and publications. A full range of resources developed through the project, including teaching materials, research reports, event reports, case studies and model module outlines are available on the Network website.

 One of the main aims of the Islamic Studies Network was to create a sustainable network of Islamic Studies practitioners to continue building on the work of the Network once the project funding period was over. We are therefore pleased to announce that planning is underway for the formal establishment of a British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS). The association will be a learned society and professional organisation focused on enhancing research and teaching about Islam and Muslim cultures and societies in UK higher education. It will provide a forum for academic exchange for scholars with an interest in any aspect of Islam and the Muslim world (including non-Muslim majority societies), and will act as an umbrella organisation for members working in a wide range of disciplines and geographical interest areas. To read more about the association please visit http://www.brais.ac.uk. The association is planning an inaugural conference in Edinburgh on 5-6 September 2013. Lisa Bernasek, Academic Coordinator for the Islamic Studies Network
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Happy New Year to our readers and supporters

Happy New Year to our readers and supporters | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

The turn of the year typically brings changes and new ideas. This has become a regular requirement for colleagues in languages as the pressures of declining student cohorts continue to grow. These pressures were part of the context for a proposal to HEFCE for a major curriculum development project under the Catalyst scheme, which regrettably was not successful in being funded. However, a great deal of thinking went into the proposals that may help colleagues in language departments and language centres to develop new ideas.

 

The key idea behind Catalyst was that study in languages prepares students to be transnational graduates, capable of thriving in today’s increasingly complex and multilingual international environment. This is a key feature of languages, whether in a specialist degree or in elective modules as part of a degree in another discipline. The evidence is that this is now a normal part of students’ thinking when they choose their courses, and is undoubtedly a factor in the booming language programmes for students of other disciplines.

 

The logic of the transnational graduate is not currently reversing the long decline in specialist degrees, and more work needs to be done to find the ‘killer app’ that will rejuvenate specialist degrees. A good deal of work is being done to develop translation studies, intercultural communication, ethnography and other directions that mesh with language studies. Some new thinking has also gone into the new Benchmark statement for Languages, Cultures and Societies. It acknowledges the transnational theme and draws links between traditional modern languages and the growing areas of English as a second language, Celtic languages and British Sign Language.

 

The remodelling of the school curriculum will have longer term effects on the interests of future university students. There is some optimism that the more rigorous programmes will attract adventurous students, alongside fears that schools will struggle make adequate provision.

 

 Since our foundation in 2000, LLAS has aspired to lead and support academic innovation in languages. We are expecting significant changes next summer, with the end of HEFCE funding for Routes into languages and anticipated personnel movements. Over the next few months we shall be reviewing the ways we can continue to contribute most effectively.

 

Michael Kelly

Director, LLAS

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Ethnographic Encounters Project

Ethnographic Encounters Project | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

The Ethnographic Encounters Project, run by Marion Demossier and Lisa Bernasek from 2013, came to a close with a daylong conference and workshop on Wednesday 4th November, which included a roundtable of invited speakers – Prof Celia Roberts, from King’s College London, Prof Robert Crawshaw from the University of Lancaster and our very own Dr Patricia Romero de Mills. The roundtable included a summary of projects from the past by Celia, new ideas for assessing the year abroad from Robert, and an overview of students’ personal and linguistic experiences while abroad from Paty. After the roundtable discussions we heard from Lisa Bernasek, who summarised the activities of the project during 2013-14 and 2014-15, and one student gave a presentation about their year abroad project, alongside Claire St John Eve who interned for the project.

 

After a hearty buffet, the conference broke into a group discussion. The group discussed the year abroad experience itself, the development of intercultural competence while abroad, and the ways in which we can link lived experiences while abroad with wider theoretical concepts learned during the first, second and fourth years of university. The group was positive about future collaboration across modern languages departments, and in response a mailing list has been set up for those interested in working collaboratively further to this project.

 

To see a full summary of the conference, or to subscribe to the mailing list, please visit http://generic.wordpress.soton.ac.uk/ethnographicencounters/category/conference/http://generic.wordpress.soton.ac.uk/ethnographicencounters/category/conference/

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Knights, longbows and mud: working on a new MOOC about the battle of Agincourt

Knights, longbows and mud: working on a new MOOC about the battle of Agincourt | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

This summer has seen me take a fascinating side step from the LLAS disciplines and into history: medieval history and the battle of Agincourt, to be exact. After producing the FutureLearn course ‘Understanding Language’ last year, I am now involved in producing a new MOOC about Agincourt. My summer has been crammed full of knights in armour, longbows, medieval guns and mud – I confess, it has been hugely enjoyable!

I am working with Professor Anne Curry, who is based at the University of Southampton and is the world’s foremost academic expert on the battle, and Dan Spencer, a PG researcher into medieval weaponry. The course ‘Agincourt 1415: myth and reality,’ will run through FutureLearn on October 19th and will coincide with the 600th anniversary of the battle. It will give learners an insight into the latest research and understanding about the battle and we also aim to tell an exciting story.

In creating content for the course, we have looked at medieval guns at the Royal Armouries Fort Nelson – including seeing a replica gun loaded and fired for us – and we have analysed the virtues of English longbows in the archive room at the Mary Rose Trust. A battle re-enactment group, the Plantagenet Medieval Society, has given us insights into what it was like to fight with medieval weaponry; and we have taken a close look at the bureaucracy behind Henry’s war by analysing surviving documents at the National Archives.

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Creating a MOOC: an insider’s view

Creating a MOOC: an insider’s view | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

The University of Southampton is currently working with the British Council to produce a free, open online course on the topic of language teaching.

Understanding Language: learning and teaching will be offered through FutureLearn from November 17th – December 15th, and will consist of four weeks offering a taster of topics related to language learning and teaching: what it means to learn language; consideration of how language classrooms impact on learning; the use of technology for language learning, and a case study of the most learnt language in the world -English. These are topics which feature in the British Council/University of Southampton online MA in English Language Teaching.

The creation of the course is the result of a huge team effort which is drawing on a range of people within the university and the British Council including the university’s media production team, the FutureLearn course team at Southampton, legal and marketing teams, researchers within Modern Languages and teachers across the British Council’s network.

I am the Learning Designer who is shepherding this course into existence and it is proving to be a fascinating and challenging task. My role involves a range of activities including liaising with the various course contributors, planning out the basic structure of the course and refining content, liaising with members of the Modern Languages’ academic team to shape content, taking on the persona of assistant director/producer on filming shoots, scripting parts of the course, assisting in the marketing strategy, coordinating permissions and legal issues…and the list goes on!

One of the enjoyable aspects of creating this free course is that it is demanding new skills from all of us: be that getting used to presenting to camera, understanding how to frame online tasks, consideration of legal issues in open content or online facilitation for such a large potential group of learners (we are currently at over 10,000 sign-ups). We are also learning about the affordances of the FutureLearn platform as well as adapting content/structure in response to live updates from the FutureLearn team from user feedback.

The whole team is getting excited at the prospect of making contact with so many new learners and teachers and I hope that you will join us in November and share your thoughts and experiences too!

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Globalising the university at home

Globalising the university at home | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

On the 5th march, 2014, LLAS and the University of Southampton was host to an HEA-sponsored seminar on the theme of internationalisation: Globalising the university ‘at home:’ implications and recommendations for the curriculum, staff and students. This seminar critiqued the notion of the ‘international university’ and explored the implications of an increasingly international HE experience through a mix of presentation, discussion and interactive sessions. The day was attended by delegates from all over the UK and it generated lots of discussion and acknowledgement that there is much to be done in what is a complex, multi-faceted and ever-changing area. More about the HEA seminar can be found at: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/events/detail/2014/Seminars/Themes/GEN874_Southampton

 

We recorded our speakers’ presentations in the morning sessions and you can catch up with their presentations below:

 

Speaker 1:

What does the ‘international university’ mean?

Clare Mar-Molinero, Associate Dean (internationalisation), Humanities, University of Southampton

http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=999235f7-6657-c16c-ccd9-2d852524972e

 

Speaker 2:

Student experiences in a changing world

Alison Dickens, Assistant Director, Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, University of Southampton

http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=efa9db40-35d6-1745-4128-fa2eb73a2fbc

 

Speaker 3:

The challenges of the multilingual, multicultural learning space

Karen M. Lauridsen, Associate Professor, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=c08b2eab-0394-1102-9c5f-a023258255c2

 

Speaker 4:

Curriculum innovation: intercultural communication for students

Linda Cadier, Intercultural communications consultant, University of Southampton

http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=729dd299-61a2-5cc3-c379-99f66f1adad4

 

Kate Borthwick

Senior Academic Coordinator, LLAS Centre, University of Southampton

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The XML project: digital literacy in Modern Languages

The XML project: digital literacy in Modern Languages | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

The XML project is funded by the HEA and it aims to explore and develop digital literacy within a discipline context (Modern Languages). It is led by the Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies at the University of Southampton, in partnership with Modern Languagesat Southampton.

 

What do we plan to do?

We are going to integrate the use of an authoring tool for online materials into the curriculum work of a group of first-year Spanish students. They will create Xerte learning objects as assessed materials for their course in Spanish language and content. This will give them the opportunity to learn new skills in online materials design, creation of Open Educational Resources, and enhance their understanding of how digital tools can fit into work and study.

 

How do we spread the new knowledge more widely?

We will extend knowledge and use of Xerte through offering bursaries to other Modern Languages students, who will be encouraged to create materials ahead of their Year Abroad. Many ML students teach English as part of their time in other countries, as part of the British Council’s language assistant scheme, and their knowledge of planning and creating learning objects will be especially useful in this context.

Every student who takes part in the project will have the opportunity to join the University of Southampton’s ‘digital champions’ scheme. This award-winning scheme sees students acting as roving mentors/tutors/helpers in the use of technology in the institution. We hope that our champions will be ambassadors for Xerte – training and advising other staff and students on how the tool can be used effectively.

 

Timescale

Students will work on their Xerte learning materials in semester 2 and will submit them for assessment in April.

Rationale: why are we doing this?:

We will be working with first-year students studying on the Accelerated Spanish language course. This is an ‘ab initio’ course, which means that students will be learning Spanish for the first time. Teaching is intensive and the course is demanding but the students who take this course aim to continue to honours level. In their second semester, students usually work on the production of an assessed oral presentation which combines the presentation, in Spanish, of an historical topic, with a grammatical analysis. The production of a detailed powerpoint and accompanying written report are integral to this assessment. Up to this point, student productions have been reasonably low-tech and interactive only at the point of the face-to-face presentation: the use of Xerte will transform and expand an existing task by enabling students to be more creative and to include more interactivity. The existing task lends itself very well for use with Xerte and so represents a clear opportunity to pilot how Xerte fits with module and curriculum aims.

 

Projected outcomes:

Enhanced student and staff digital literacy in the areas of creating online, digital resources and in creating interactive resources which could be used for teaching Spanish language or other languages;Enhanced student and staff knowledge in creating open educational resources and in the issues associated with OERs, such as copyright, appropriate metadata, and appropriate attributionEnhanced knowledge of how to use Xerte and how the tool could fit into teaching and the use of other toolsEstablishment of a new set of digital champions, with expertise in using Xerte, who can advise and train staff and students across the department and the universityA practical model for involving students in the creation of interactive materials as assessed workPromotion of innovative teaching in languages beyond the home institution through student-produced content and reflections via social media and project web presence

 

Kate Borthwick, project manager

 

This blog post originally appeared on the XML project blog page at https://blog.soton.ac.uk/xmlproj/tag/xerte/

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Open educational resources in modern foreign languages

Open educational resources in modern foreign languages | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

Last Friday, 20th September, saw a one-day conference on open educational resources in modern foreign languages, held at the University of Bristol. It was an enjoyable and interesting day, at which about 50 MFL colleagues from across the UK came together to share practice, to inspire others and be inspired in turn.

 

I was honoured to be invited to give the opening keynote address and I talked about my work at LLAS exploring various aspects of open educational practice with different groups of language teachers in the UK. The language educator community have embraced the notion of open working from an early point and have played an important role in exploring the nature and practice around OERs in the UK. I appealed to my language practitioner colleagues to continue this glorious tradition and emphasised the need for individual action to drive forward innovation, exploration and activity in open educational practice.

 

A diverse range of interesting and excellent work was presented during the day, including Cecilia Goria (Nottingham)’s findings from running small-scale MOOCs (“TinyOOC?”) for the learning of Italian; the OU’s wide range of open initiatives in languages from Anna Comas-Quinn and Maria Dolores Iglesias; and fascinating work on new open German grammar materials from John Partridge (Kent) and Susanne Krauβ (Philipps-Universität Marburg).

 

Christoph Zähner demonstrated the fantastic open courseware (http://www.langcen.cam.ac.uk/opencourseware/index.html) available through the Cambridge University Language Centre – look at the German Language resources, as an example – and Alessia Plutino (Southampton) showcased her online materials for Italian, a selection of which can be found on the LanguageBox (http://languagebox.ac.uk/2533/). Alessia talked about sharing her work with colleagues and her surprise at how they have used her OERs in quite different learning contexts. Enza Siciliano Verruccio (Reading) pointed to the future with news of an exciting project which will make generic, skills-focussed OERs for the learning of any language, available nationally through the Routes into Languages network (https://www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk/); and Héléne Pulker (OU) closed the day with some fledgling research into the re-use of language-related OERs reporting an important start in an area which needs further exploration.

 

The day was expertly organised by Gloria Visintini, Andrea Zhok and Jonas Langner, in the Department of Modern Languages at Bristol. Thanks go to them for organising a great day!

 

Kate Borthwick, LLAS Centre

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Quantitative skills in the humanities

Quantitative skills in the humanities | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

In 2011, the British Academy launched the four year Languages and Quantitative Skills (LQS) programme targeting deficits in languages and quantitative skills. Naturally the ‘L’ part of LQS is a key central concern of LLAS, but LLAS is also involved in the QS aspect of the programme.

 

The British Academy presents the need for a programme in languages and quantitative skills in terms of skills deficits in the humanities and the social sciences. Whilst I would not dispute the skills deficit, it seems that individuals, even well-educated  individuals, rarely express concerns about their own lack of abilities in these areas. Monolingualism and mathematical shortcomings are not just common; they have long been socially acceptable.

 

A lack of skills in either of these areas has consequences across the humanities and social sciences. Primary research in French history is not possible without knowledge of French. Contemporary German politics cannot be studied at a high level without knowledge of German.  Students study and enjoy these topics at undergraduate and taught postgraduate level, but without the appropriate language skills they are not able to progress to PhD research in these areas. Similarly a student who lacks quantitative skills will struggle in some areas of applied linguistics and other parts of the quantitative humanities and social sciences.

 

‘Statistics for the humanities’ (provisional title) is an online textbook in quantitative skills aimed at students in the humanities . A preview for comments is available on the project website www.statisticsforhumanities.net . I have attempted to make minimal assumptions about students’ prior mathematical and statistical knowledge, and have included a ‘chapter zero’ which goes back to material that students are likely to have come across at school. Not only are the illustrations and exercises focused on humanities topics, but I have also devoted a significant amount of space to explaining concepts in detail. The book, which will be published later this year, will be optimised for tablet computer and other e-book devices. Users will also be able to print copies for their own use.

 

John Canning, LLAS

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A world of languages

A world of languages | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

Last Friday, 22 March, I was in snowy Nottingham at Language World 2013. Organised by the Association for Language Learning this yearly conference is aimed at teachers of languages and offers an excellent opportunity for networking, sharing practice and attending talks.

 

Delegates came in the hundreds despite the bad weather and chilling cold to join in the friendly atmosphere and the excitement of the day. A great selection of talks and workshops showed the wide variety of approaches to teaching languages in schools at whatever level. Although the main focus of the day was teaching and learning languages in secondary education, a lot of interest came from primary teachers as well. The new agenda set by the government which aims to introduce study of languages in primary schools has certainly prompted primary teachers to become involved in professional development events and hunt for teaching resources avidly! The exhibition area was busy with delegates on the look-out for resources for use in the classroom and for inspiring students to the study of languages.*

 

Talks mostly centred on the use of technology in the language classroom and for engaging pupils with languages. Cultural awareness also had some prominence in the programme as a way to motivate pupils to the study of a subject that has been experiencing a certain level of decline in recent years. Surprisingly, grammar also made an appearance at the conference and a remarkable one at that! In an exciting lecture David Crystal explained how teaching a notoriously tedious subject can be fun and engaging. It really was a great day with a good selection of talks for a wide variety of audiences!

 

Participating in events like Language World always makes me think optimistically about the role of languages in the education system and in our society. It is conferences like this one which make a good case for bringing languages back among the top priorities of schools and universities curricula developers… ASAP!


Erika Corradini, LLAS

 

*The Routes into Languages programme has developed a variety of resources for raising the profile of languages in education.

 

LLAS Centre's insight:

You can read more posts by Erika Corradini at http://talkingoflanguages.wordpress.com 

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New LLAS 2013 Services Brochure

New LLAS 2013 Services Brochure | LLAS blog | Scoop.it
LLAS Centre's insight:

Download the new LLAS 2013 services brochure at https://www.llas.ac.uk/sites/default/files/nodes/6702/LLAS%20brochure_services_2012-13.pdf to find out about our programme of activities including professional development, educational events, projects, research and evaluation.

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The SPEAQ project – where has this first year gone?

The SPEAQ project – where has this first year gone? | LLAS blog | Scoop.it

What is SPEAQ?

SPEAQ is a project funded by the European Commission to address issues related to quality assurance in HE. It stands for ‘Sharing Practice in Enhancing and Assuring Quality’. It is managed by Alison Dickens, Laurence Georgin and John Canning at the LLAS Centre and involves 9 partners across Europe. 

 

What is it for?

We aim to connect three key quality circles, i.e. teacher, student and quality manager in order to share and enhance quality assurance practice in HE. We want to address a real concern that quality assurance can become ritualised rather than embedded in learning and teaching practice. We are hoping to develop new ideas on how to approach quality assurance within the institution providing evidence of how bringing together stakeholders in the quality process can lead to a wider and more meaningful interpretation of quality assurance. 

 

What have we done so far?

In the first year of the project we have collected data through interactive workshops and focus groups involving students, teachers, administrators and quality managers in all partner institutions. The workshop model has been developed by two of the partners (Universities of Jyväskylä & Deusto) and has been used by all partners. It will be also run at the European Quality Assurance Forum conference in Estonia in November 2012. Following this, a final version will be translated and uploaded to the SPEAQ website. These workshops have been very interactive and have proven to be a useful way of encouraging discussion among staff and/or students.We have also completed an initial data collection exercise through a series of student focus groups (facilitated by the European Students Union), meetings with institutional quality managers in the partner institutions and discussions with subject teachers in a range of disciplines, using a set of questions devised by the project team. Three synthesis reports, summarising the results from all partners, have been prepared and some key emerging themes have been identified: a need for better communication around quality issues, improvements in the collection and use of feedback, more engagement of students in quality enhancement, increased opportunities for sharing good practice, professional development for teachers, applied learning (including employability), balancing teaching with research agendas, sharing and collaborating with others outside the institution. It has been encouraging to see that some of the core aims of this project are reflected in this data, these being to connect the three quality circles and to give voice to the views of all stakeholders in the quality process.We have also been busy disseminating our findings at international conferences (Belgrade, Istanbul, Cluj-Napoca) with two more scheduled in November 2012 (Tallinn, Malta). Once the project activities have been completed and the results of the institutional projects evaluated, an academic article will be written and submitted to an international journal. 

 

What next?

Based on our findings, each partner institution will undertake a small project which will explore ways in which a more shared vision of quality assurance can be fostered at institutional and disciplinary level. This has already started and will end in June 2013. 

 

Where can I find out more?

 

Go to our project blog: http://speaqproject.wordpress.com/ ;

 

Alison Dickens, SPEAQ project director & Laurence Georgin, SPEAQ project manager

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