Adding value to your course offer: sponsored language study

Rachel Bower

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.6

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Short Abstract
What can we offer to add value to our courses? What are our competitors offering? In the context of research in progress, discover how sponsored language study can add value & differentiation to your course offer, a personalised learning experience, and wider graduate prospects for your students.

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Detailed Outline
This session will be of particular interest to course leaders, programme leaders, heads of departments and placement officers.

Higher Education in the UK is becoming more and more market-driven. In the light of these changes, it is appropriate to ask how we can differentiate the SHU student offer from our competitors.
This in progress research project presents the initial findings of a discourse analysis of the value-added activities for students promoted on the external websites of SHU and our key competitor post-1992 universities. The findings analyse re-occurring themes, and the extent to which institutions are diversifying from common themes (such as, the student experience and employability).

The session then proposes an option for adding value to a course offer through faculty-sponsored language study, where students apply for a limited number of places to study a language at an appropriate level as an additional module for one academic year. SHU’s University Language Scheme offers 7 languages from beginners and the majority to advanced levels, delivering personalised learning and a programme of intercultural activities.
Findings of the successful pilots of sponsored language study for level 5 students in SBS and level 4 students in D&S in 2013/14 and 2014/15 are analysed in terms of engagement, learning success in assessment, and motivation to continue learning the language.

The session makes the case for language study in developing key attributes required by graduate recruiters and widening students’ opportunities in the graduate employment market, and that the understanding of others’ culture and language is part of an holistic education.

Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss and question whether sponsored language study would add value to course offers.