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Online tools for language support HEA Seminar 23 June 2011 Rissa de la Paz Student Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Online tools for language support HEA Seminar 23 June 2011 Rissa de la Paz Student Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Online tools for language support HEA Seminar 23 June 2011 Rissa de la Paz Student Services

2 Topics Role of Student Services in developing practical tools for language support Resources for key audiences –tutors –potential and existing students Next steps

3 Student Services Tutor Home Student Home Extra services Careers Skills for Study Forums Tutor Training Main online portals for students and tutors Information, advice and guidance Study support (outside modules)

4 Addressing key audiences Study at the OU English & OU study Studying with the OU: A UK Learning Approach Enquirer Student Home Developing Academic English Additional support and study options Student TutorHome Developing Academic English Forum Tutor Each audience has its own portal through which it can access a bespoke website and resources.

5 Tutor site: issues Build confidence in responding to language needs Develop language skills alongside subject-specific ones Move from a deficit model to developmental one Accommodate differing tutor priorities Tutor site New or experienced? Feedback on language use Resources Language development & CPD Additional support

6 Tutor-facing site Pooled expertise from Open ELT plus tutors in nations and regions

7 OU Language strategy Link between language and learning Initiatives in developing language across the curriculum Modules with integrated language support

8 A framework for academic writing MASUS Considers academic writing in four distinct areas: –Use of source material –Structure and development of text –Academic writing style –Grammar, spelling & punctuation

9 MASUS checklist

10 Online resources Resources grouped under 4 main areas of MASUS Divided into topic areas for easy reference Flagged for students/tutors and for language level

11 Insights on feedback Tutors reflect with a language specialist on how they give feedback to students Examples include Technology short answers and a Social science essay

12 MASUS: the payoff Framework for main areas of successful academic writing Aide-memoire for issues to focus on as a priority Draws attention to structuring and developing text Enables feedback to be targeted at specific areas of strength and of developmental need Ongoing dialogue with students

13 Enquirer site: issues Harness power of student stories Assess English language level and provide appropriate guidance Address academic and cultural issues Approach not remedial but developmental Enquirer site Student stories Assess English level Academic content; language Cultural issues Challenge & support

14 Enquirer site

15 Video stories Video stories cover cultural and academic issues Incorporated as part of reflective activities to add value

16 Video stories What users valued : – authentic tone – diversity of cultural perspectives – students’ feelings resonated with their own – students’ views prompted self reflection ‘It is very good to get feedback from other people who are actually studying.’ ‘People are sometimes scared of challenges because they are afraid to fail. It helps a lot because you see it is possible to do it.’

17 How good is your English? Assess your level of English ability in four main skills Rate yourself against recognised checklist based on the Common European Framework Score places you into one of three categories – basic user (levels A1 or A2) – fairly confident user (levels B1 or B2) – very fluent user (levels C1 and C2 )

18 How good is your English?



21 Language levels For Level 1 OU modules : a minimum of B1 for reading and writing and B2 for listening and speaking European Framework Cambridge Exams Cambridge Business IELTS bands A11.0 to 2.0 A23.0 B1BEC Preliminary 3.5 to 4.5 B2First certificateBEC Vantage5.0 to 5.5 C1Cambridge Advanced BEC Higher6.5 to 7.0 C2Proficiency CPE 7.5 +

22 How good is your English? The majority of users found the statements easy to understand. A third of users found the statements only fairly easy. ‘If you don’t understand the sentence, it’s not your level.’ Results clear and feedback helpful Scores matched their expectations Easy to overrate yourself ‘You need to be honest with yourself’ ‘You would need to do a test to be sure.’

23 Next steps Enquirers Online diagnostics in guided entry Language issues integral to IAG Tutors Language awareness training Forums on MASUS Students Language skills alongside subject skills (MASUS) Language ladder for programme pathway

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