About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6131-6136
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ASSESSMENT OF AN ESP COURSE IN A BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

B. Lassadi-Sayadi

Virtual University of Tunis (TUNISIA)
The Virtual University of Tunis (VUT) has instantiated a language project aiming at developing online resources to be used to teach the English language online for university students. The development stage required gathering necessary information about potential learners, i.e. university students. These learners come from various backgrounds and have different language needs. A needs analysis has been conducted to identify learners' needs. Following this analysis, course designers had to overcome another challenge, that of collecting interesting and authentic material to be used to develop online English courses. One of the major issues encountered is the copyright. Developing an English course requires the use of authentic audio files for the listening activities and authentic texts for the reading comprehension, etc. At the implementation stage, course designers find it useful to use technology to structure and deliver an English course. Using scenarichain, a programming language that allows structuring a set of content, enabled course designers to offer a more detailed and clearer course content that can be delivered online. This programming language enables to assess learners’ progress throughout the course. There are many testing techniques used to evaluate learners in a formative as well as summative way.
The English project has been piloted for few three years then evaluated to further improve it. A major issue raised in the evaluation concerned the lack of a paper version of the English course. Learners find it difficult to follow on the screen without having a hard copy of the lessons they were studying. They expressed their need for reference documents especially for the grammar and vocabulary parts.
In order to cope with learners' needs, course designers decided to include a textbook. The Virtual University of Tunis has purchased a textbook titled Business Result from Oxford University Press. This purchase consists in acquiring a student book and a teachers’ book as well as interactive material to be used on a virtual learning environment. The VUT tutors had to come up with new pedagogical techniques to optimize students’ use of their textbook.
Using a textbook in a blended learning environment helped language learners to have access to more learning tools and techniques. Other issues have been raised though. Tutors had to cope with the lack of weekly gathering with learners to practice the speaking activities or the heads-up tasks of the book. They needed to adjust their teaching methods and techniques to the blended setting taking into consideration the particularities of their subject matter which is language. Indeed teaching and learning languages requires a special monitoring from the language teacher whose main role is to guide learners through the language learning process. In a blended learning environment, the physical presence of the tutor is reduced but it is replaced by new communicative strategies that make the learners feel that they are still monitored and guided by a language tutor.
Through the project carried out by the Virtual University of Tunis, this article aims at highlighting the challenges faced by this institution to develop a state of the art online language course that can meet learners’ expectations. It also aims at exploring the new pedagogical techniques used to improve language teaching in a blended context and evaluating their impact on the quality of online teaching and learning at VUT.
@InProceedings{LASSADISAYADI2012DEV,
author = {Lassadi-Sayadi, B.},
title = {DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ASSESSMENT OF AN ESP COURSE IN A BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {6131-6136}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Lassadi-Sayadi
TI - DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ASSESSMENT OF AN ESP COURSE IN A BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 6131
EP - 6136
ER -
B. Lassadi-Sayadi (2012) DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND ASSESSMENT OF AN ESP COURSE IN A BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 6131-6136.
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