Dr Clare Wright, School of Literature and Languages
Year(s) of activity: 2014-15
This project aimed to build student expertise in managing task-based approaches to learning, foster active engagement in seminars including international students, and support students’ development of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) skills, through student-led revisions of a popular undergraduate module, with the Employability and Professional Track staff at School level, the Generating Resources and Access to Screencapture Software (GRASS) team and the central TEL team.
- Revise the module delivery to enhance student autonomy and academic development.
- Improve preparation for and engagement with team- or task-based work in seminars
- Improve the use of TEL in class and the related skills development of both staff and students.
- Build up student employability in teaching-related expertise by leading a team- or task-based teaching approach in seminars.
Core Issues in English Language Teaching for Part Two and Three students aims to build awareness of professional language teaching practices in international settings, and has approximately 35 students. Students enrolled on the module learn about different language teaching approaches, including task-based learning, team-based teaching, and TEL. This project responded to student demand for clearer training to manage task-based approaches to learning, greater engagement in seminars including international students, and greater skill-development of TEL.
Two Part Three students and two international students conducted this project, alongside the module leader, with the Employability and Professional Track staff at School level, the GRASS team and the central TEL team.
The project team worked through revisions to the existing module guide, held a student focus group to discuss possible changes with students across the university, attended tailored training sessions with GRASS and TEL team members, implemented their training by using various TEL products (such as Camtasia and Powtoon), prepared presentations for a University of Reading TEL Showcase organised by the Centre for Quality Support and Development (CQSD) and Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), and wrote a final blog entry on the project. The project leader, Clare Wright, was awarded an inaugural national Jisc Change Leader Award for a portfolio based on this project.
The student project team members could show full satisfaction when reflecting on their progress in understanding more about learning processes, and in gaining greater employability as a result of developing TEL-related skills, delivering presentations to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) and a wider University audience, and writing up the project blog. The project revealed that students were generally happy with the way they were being taught, but that including more TEL and autonomous learning could seem a challenge, especially for Part Two students. The suitability of the project for the Jisc Change Leader Award was an unexpected outcome, and feedback from the project submission could be used to benefit University Teaching and Learning (T&L) stakeholders, for example at a T&L Showcase event.
The positive engagement with the aims of the project, and the close interaction between the students and the project leader was a key element of the project’s success. Attempts to roll out discussions to a wider student base, through focus groups, were less successful, suggesting either that students felt they were too busy to attend such events, despite the incentive of a free lunch, or that they were already happy with the way they were being taught.
The Core Issues in English Language Teaching module is being revamped for Part Two students for the 2016-17 academic year, and will take the findings of this project into account.
Engage in Teaching and Learning blog post: The PLanT Project and ‘Core Issues in English Language Teaching’ by Jess Fullam, Emily King, Daria Pominova and Megumi Kuranaka