Parallel 8

Global perspectives

Recording: global perspectives

Beyond Keele I work with the Association of University Administrators, currently the chair of AUA’s International HE thematic network. We run an annual programme of overseas study tours.

In 2020 our tour was held in cyberspace – a Virtual Study Tour (VST). I led the tour and devised the methodology. A team of 12 held 22 virtual meetings in the UK and China on the theme of Sino-British Transnational Higher Education. Ten British universities were chosen as case studies. Our team had a mix of academics and administrators, some with experience of the topic and some without. Our focus was on initiatives of significant size, including big projects that are well known (the Joint Venture campuses) and campus-on-campus models (Joint Education Institutes).

The objective of my presentation will be to share ideas about:

  • how to form an effective multi-institutional team for this kind of cross-cultural project;
  • how to engage with colleagues in other organisations;
  • how to complete the task with practical and lasting outputs.

This talk will use the Keele Flexible Digital Education Framework to evaluate the case of the 2020 Keele Online Pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes programme.

Background

In July 2020, the Language Centre began an 11-week intensive programme helping international students from China, Saudi, Pakistan, Turkey, etc. to achieve the required level of English to enter their Keele degree programmes.

This high-stakes programme is a pathway into Keele for international students as they must satisfy both Keele requirements and those of UKVI. Previous iterations of the pre-sessional were in-situ, but this year a blended study programme was developed making use of synchronous classes and asynchronous materials delivered using Teams and the Class Notebook.

Structure

The evaluation will focus on evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of each of the following elements: the design of flexible learning materials, the creation of a digital community, synchronous vs. asynchronous presentations, encouraging interaction, wider student support concerns, feedback (where, when, how), using break out rooms, alternative summative assessments (and security implications), and space for feedback. This evaluation should help to inform future design of both online and in-situ intensive courses here at Keele.

Learning a language is a very complex process influenced and modified by many different events and factors. We cannot overstate the importance of emotional factors and affectivity (Arnold, 2011) and the value of creativity, specifically in actively engaging students (Dörnyei 2001). Moreover, the process of learning a language should be conceived, not as an individual achievement, but as a collective attainment result of community work (Melero, 2000). Students learn better from each other, and they learn better if they can enjoy and engage in a meaningfully way with the activities that they do. But moving from in-situ to an exclusively digital teaching, has been a challenge for many [language] teachers.

Following these premises, the objective of this presentation will be to reflect on and present a practical experience of the move from in-situ teaching to an exclusively digital framing in the context of language learning. The presentation will focus on the significance of strategies to motivate learners in online teaching and their impact on the learning process, comparing these strategies with the traditional in situ teaching.

References:

  • Arnold, J (2011). Attention to Affect in Language Learning. International Journal of English Studies. 22/11, 11-22.
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hadfield, J. (1992). Classroom Dynamics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lage, M., Platt, GJ. & Treglia, M (2000) “Inverting the Classroom: a gateway to creating and inclusive learning environment”, in The Journal of Economic Education, Vol 31, Issue 1.
  • MacDonald, J. (2008). Blended learning and online tutoring: planning learner support and activity design.
  • Melero, P. (2000). Métodos y enfoques en la enseñanza/aprendizaje del español como lengua extranjera. Madrid: Edelsa.