Full abstracts available at CercleS2020
Natalie Close & Darrell Wilkinson
Our presentation at the CERCLES conference, “ICT in Blended and Online Language Courses: Applications and Perceptions”, reported on an action research project that led to the development, implementation and assessment of various ICT-based language learning activities. Recently, like many universities across the world, we have had our courses move online and therefore had a lot of data to draw on and thought this might be a good topic for the audience. Our presentation first explained the design and rationale of the activities implemented in our English language courses. These activities aimed at (a) offering students a more flexible approach to learning, (b) increasing interaction and engagement with course content, and (c) creating a more peer-supported learning environment that would also offer more opportunity to communicate in the target language. We mainly focused on the means by which we have made our online courses more communicative as well as some activities for giving peer and teacher feedback. Secondly, we presented qualitative and quantitative survey and interview data in order to shed light on learners’ (and teachers’) perceptions of the activities. The presentation concluded by summarizing the main findings and pointing out issues that need further development and analysis.
I did my presentation at the CERCLES conference together with my colleague Almut Meyer from the University of Turku. Our presentation was about our just finished project “PluriDeutsch” and we presented our plurilingual work with texts for law and engineer students in Finland. The project incorporates German philology / teacher training and language courses for business, engineering and law students, and it covers a wide range of tertiary German teaching. In contrast to monolingual language teaching, a central basic idea of plurilingual didactics is to conceive already learned language skills as resources when learning a new language. Here, this means utilizing these language resources by employing them, linguistically and strategically, to learn German. The presentation outlined the theoretical framework and conduct of the project. Since project members teach in different fields of studies, the project stands for a multi‑faceted collaboration that allows and demands permanent reflections and adjustments of plurilingual approaches in accordance to subject specific requirements. Possibilities of not only an effective, but also motivating plurilingual text reception were demonstrated by examples from the engineering and legal field. Concrete teaching material was discussed, mainly, to encourage colleagues to take up plurilingual approaches in their teaching. We presented preliminary results indicating that even with little knowledge of German, students can understand complex texts in their field with the help of the technique of the “Sieben Siebe” (seven filters) and the help of English and Swedish – languages they usually learn before they learn German.
Hasmik Minasyan & Milja Merta
Our presentation introduced an online, integrated academic writing in English course, which was designed for bachelor’s degree students of Bio engineering at Tampere University. This type of teaching/learning implementation demonstrates a multifaceted pedagogical approach to serve several purposes at once, for example, completing two courses simultaneously and receiving invaluable support from both the language teacher and the subject teacher, producing one common writing task for both courses, as well as gaining study credits for both courses.
Our presentation first introduced the details of the course structure and organization, the course tasks and material provision, language and subject teacher collaboration strategies, and course content integration and implementation. In addition, the presentation covered the assessment methods and overall results based on continuous learner and teacher reflection. The focus was especially on the feedback received from the previous years’ implementations, which has served as the basis for development, particularly on the level of integration, instructions and online facilitation.