International Christian University (JAPAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 2964 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
As part of a curriculum restructuring, a course surveying current practice in CALL as applied to teaching English as a foreign language was opened for undergraduates at the author’s institution in Japan. The course was one of a set of education electives that could be applied toward a primary and secondary teaching license certification, and targeted toward aspiring teachers. However, the CALL course was also open to the broad student population as a general credit, and at the first class, it was discovered that only five of twenty-five enrollees were seriously considering teaching as a profession. Most students, it seemed, had been drawn to the course in order to enhance their knowledge of self-study CALL resources, or because they enjoyed content courses taught primarily in English as a means of developing their academic English skills. While the primary focus of the course as pre-service teacher training was retained, the author decided to make some late adjustments to the curriculum to accommodate the needs and goals of enrolled students.

The CALL course was taught in a computer classroom and employed a Moodle course site as the primary platform for resource management, communication, and student engagement. A third-party Moodle activity module, Feedback, was installed and employed for writing assessed critiques of CALL resources. In addition, the author set up an extended project called the “Moodle Sandbox Course.” For the sandbox project, pairs of students were given teacher access privileges for a Moodle course, with other class members enrolled as students. The first ten weeks of the CALL course were spent surveying a wide range of free and commercial CALL resources. For the remaining five weeks, students used their sandbox courses to organize and sequence activities from these resources into six to eight fifty-minute lessons that targeted a specified audience and addressed a stated theme. A primary instructional aim of the sandbox project was to force students to return to the surveyed resources and investigate their contents more deeply, as they searched for activities that specifically addressed the themes of their sandbox courses. In the final week, all students evaluated other class members’ Moodle courses for theme, content, design, and navigation.

In the presentation, the author will discuss how the Feedback activity was used as a platform for students to evaluate CALL resources and immediately share their responses with other class members. Although the Feedback activity was not originally designed for assessed assignments, the author will demonstrate how it can be an excellent platform for certain types of graded activities. In addition, student responses to the sandbox project will be discussed, along with the author’s assessment of how successful it was in solidifying student knowledge of free, online CALL resources. Finally, potential difficulties in giving teacher level access to students for creating their sandbox courses will be reviewed and discussed. Some practical suggestions for administering a large number of student-created Moodle courses will be provided.
CALL, Moodle, self-study, teacher training.