Session 2 Papers 7-10

Paper 7

Providing opportunities for internationalisation on campus. Caroline Campbell (University of Leeds)

The University of Leeds is investing heavily in supporting internationalisation in a meaningful way on campus and enhancing the student experience by developing skills, improving employability and promoting intercultural understanding. In this session, we will share successes, tips and challenges from three activities that support the University’s international strategy by promoting peer-to-peer language learning: Language Exchange, Language Groups and Tandem@Leeds.

The Language Exchange enables users to register a language exchange profile which is used to make contact with fellow students and staff who speak other languages. Users offer their own native language skills and knowledge to establish an informal language exchange partnership, in order to improve conversation skills, practise listening and speaking and to learn more about other cultures.

The Language Groups programme is open to all students at the University. Volunteer native speakers of English, French and Spanish receive training and support in order to lead conversation sessions, helping non-native speakers to develop their proficiency in the language used outside the classroom. The leader role is HEAR-accredited.

Tandem@Leeds is a more formal commitment than the Language Exchange with participants required to commit to at least eight meetings. They are also required to submit a reflective diary with evidence of learning in terms of language development and cultural awareness.


Paper 8

Global engagement strategy: enhancing graduate employability through short intensive academic placements overseas. Ali Nicholson (University of Reading)

The University of Reading is a firm believer in the ‘benefits of global engagement’, and has an ambitious target; by 2026, at least one third of our UK based students will spend some time overseas as part of their degree. Currently, only 8% go overseas.

How can the IWLP help to achieve this target? By our very nature, we offer elective modules to a very diverse group of students from right across the University, all studying different languages at different stages on different degree Programmes. Surely, this is for others to tackle, not us. Or can we do more?

This paper will describe an initiative developed by the IWLP, setting up a two-week academic placement with a French university to provide opportunities for a group of students to build their confidence and independence, working in an overseas environment. It will show how this helped them gain some key attributes for the world of employment, and the ability to reflect on their experience and greater independence. The placement is now linked to a series of credit-bearing modules, increasing its importance in a student’s degree programme.

I will share some of the hurdles faced along the way, including funding issues, and how to improve the inclusivity of the mobility experience. I will indicate the way forward for this project, which is now perceived by many departments as an excellent way of achieving one aspect of the University of Reading’s Global Engagement strategy.


Paper 9

A 4Ps model of Interactive Multiperson Online Language Learning: pre-conditions, planning processes, possibilities. Deak Kirkham (University of Leeds)

Learning technologies, including those with an inherently interactive element such as Skype and Google Hangouts, are of current interest to language learning scholarship (e.g. Al-Mahrooqi & Troudi 2014; Motteram 2013). This presentation presents a model of online interactive language learning, emerging from the author’s own online (multiperson) learning-and-activation of the constructed language Esperanto via Skype/ Google Hangouts. The model discusses: a) interactional pre-conditions and roll-out dynamics for; b) learning structural aspects of; and c) follow-up possibilities to such iterative (multiperson) online second language conversations, noting also various difficulties that may emerge and troubleshooting responses to them.

Having introduced the model, it is then applied to the slightly different context of University Language Centre language learning (either of English or of other national languages as well as ‘dead’ languages) arguing that the use of iterative online (multiperson) conversations, done properly, can only enhance the learner’s experience of the language, tech-savviness, autonomy (Benson 2001), interactional competence (Couper-Kuhlen & Selting 2001) and employability (Knight 2011), as well as creating greater potential for classroom work which can become in part preparation for and follow-up to the online conversations. It is suggested that collaboration between University Language Centres is a practical and achievable way to move forward on this.

Attendees should expect, in addition to exposure to the exciting constructed language of Esperanto, a practical, meaningful, tech-rich proposal to enhance the learning and teaching of EFL, other MFLs and other languages in the rapidly changing learning-technology contexts of the 21st century University Language Centre.

Al-Mahrooqi, R. & Troudi, S. (2014). Using Technology is Foreign Language Teaching. Cambridge Scholar Publishing: Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. Harlow, Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Couper-Kuhlen, E. & Selting M. (2001). Studies in Interactional Linguistics. John Benjamins.

Knight, S. (2011). Digital literacy can boost employability and improve student experience. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2011/dec/15/digital-literacy-employability-student-experience.


Paper 10

Introducing self-study language learning software to the provision of the university-wide language programme. Integration of materials and uptake by learners. Christine Leahy (Nottingham Trent University)

The University Language Programme at Nottingham Trent University provides languages classes with 2 hours contact time per week during term time. An internal needs analysis showed that ULP language classes would benefit from using a blended learning approach. In order to supplement the taught provision with digital materials and to offer independent language learning opportunities throughout the year, the ULP bought a number of licences of commercial language learning software (Rosetta Stone).

Attempts to find out in advance about student uptake of such self-study materials in other institutions failed to provide a clear picture. The ULP therefore set out to undertake its own pilot project to find out about (a) the suitability of the materials to complement the taught provision, and (b) the uptake by students and their views about the materials’ usefulness.

This paper reports about measures taken to integrate the online materials and promote their use. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to ascertain how many licences were actively used, the reasons why students engaged and what they found particularly useful or less attractive, and the reasons why other students did not engage with the materials. It reports about the tutors’ perspective on integration of the online materials.