ONLINE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGY FOR GENERAL ENGLISH COURSE (NON-LINGUISTICS STUDENTS, B1+ CEFR)
The paper deals with the issues of blended learning and online management system development. The objective of the research is to prove the positive influence of online management system on learning outcomes at general English classes for non-linguistics students. There is no denying the fact that all educational community worldwide is increasingly concerned about the trend of using blended learning technology and it is urgent nowadays to build the online system which is correspondent both to the educational environment and contemporary needs and requirements of modern digital learners. Furthermore, online management systems are commonly considered to be essential for creating incentives to use and practice languages skills outside the classroom by the students in non-English-speaking countries. Therefore, in this paper the authors propose an optimal win-win combination of the traditional and innovative teaching methods implemented in the online management system.
The material of the research is the set of online activities for the first and second-year students of non-linguistics majors (South Ural State University) taking general English course to increase their CEFR competence. The research conducted by the authors proved to be successful as it not only enlarged students’ vocabulary, improved reading skills and enhanced grammar ability but also it reduced teacher preparation time, optimized classroom practice, and stimulated students’ diligence.
To create the set of online activities the authors used the university MOODLE-based multimedia distance learning platform, called E-SUSU 2.0 (https://www.edu.susu.ru/) which allows the user to generate and embed various kinds of educational resources (some of them provide the element of gamification). Among the resources the authors selected the following:
1) for activities: quiz (Drag and drop into text; Drag and drop onto image; Embedded answers (Cloze); Matching; Multiple choice; Select missing words; True/False questions), assignment;
2) for information and structure: label, URL.
All the activities (156 in total) are combined in 12 units according to the syllabus. Each unit consists of 5 sections named Grammar and Vocabulary (2x), Time to Read, Time to Write and an additional reference section More to Explore. The students (60 students in 3 academic groups) used their university membership in the E-SUSU 2.0 to enter the online course and complete their home assignments after each face-to-face university class. They have unlimited number of attempts to complete the activities, automated self-check and limited time per activity. Moreover, all the progress including the scores, time spent, date, and the number of attempts is reflected in the personal, activity, and group statistics, thus allowing the teachers to monitor and assess the students’ progress. Therefore, working with such a platform while teaching general English represents an innovative blended approach for efficient learning management.
The evaluation of the results obtained against the results of the traditional non-blended (class) approach proves that applying online management system is productive. Thus, it gives the students of non-linguistics majors an opportunity not only to improve their fluency but also to increase motivation to practice language skills via convenient online environment. Besides, automated activities decrease teacher’s overload, while working as an electronic instructor who gives instant feedback.