Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 895-904
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper presents a project of the application of the blended learning methodology to teach Spanish as a foreign language to international students on European programmes, included in the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s Language Programme for Internationalization through a number of educational innovation projects funded by UPM since 2005.
Blended learning is a methodology that has been applied in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (TSFL) classes over the last few years. It is developed by integrating Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) into the classroom. This type of learning fits the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) directives perfectly. This presentation will discuss the use of blended learning in on-site courses. Student attainment improves appreciably in a blended learning classroom.
To develop these methodologies we are using the Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE), managed from the UPM’s GATE (Tele-Teaching Department). VLE includes self-directed learning exercises drawn up by the team of teachers to support on-site classes.
The main objectives of this experience are the introduction of the blended learning methodology to motivate science and technology students as well as the encouragement of independent self-learning of the professional and academic communication skills: listening comprehension and written comprehension and expression by means of free-choice written exercises encouraging self-directed learning.
This on-going blended learning project was part of the process of deploying the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and of improving teaching quality at UPM. The project developed into the On-line Science and Technology Module, presented here, as a practical application of this methodology within the course syllabus design.
With the aim of being a useful and flexible vehicle for the non-Spanish-speaking higher education community, we took into account the special needs of our students, future engineers and architects, with a wide technical curriculum to be learned in a technological scenario, who have to learn Spanish as a transversal communication tool for the academic and social environment during their exchange period.
Therefore we designed this project in order to offer the UPM partner institutions mobility students a Spanish programme that complement the technical subjects detailed in their learning agreements to be taken while at UPM and to obtain a sound enough linguistic training to be able to follow their classes. In this respect, acquiring a working knowledge of the Spanish language is an added value to their degrees in engineering or architecture.
With these aims in mind, after surveying our students’ preferences, we selected the module contents and activities to be dealt with, among the specific areas of the science and technology subjects. Also, we took into account the three basic principles of on-line teaching (which, in our opinion, should be the three basic principles for any type of teaching): interaction, collaboration and active participation.
We use a mixed assessment system, involving both measurement through questionnaire-type exercises and interpretation considering discussion group participation.
From the evaluation and reflection on our practical experience we will be able to determine whether or not the proposed pedagogical objectives for this methodology were achieved and gauge student satisfaction.