University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6216-6222
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1484
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
In the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) university learning is considered as a process in which students progressively approach and are integrated in the community of experts in their disciplinary field. Communication skills are of paramount concern for this integration, since disciplinary communities are considered as epistemic and discursive communities that share goals or purposes, and use communication to achieve their goals. Students acquire specialized communication patterns in a great extent thanks to the oral and written text input received along their learning process. Basque was introduced in higher education in the last 1970s, and nowadays is used quite extensively within university courses. In the 9 degrees offered in the Faculty of Science and Technology 57.2 % of the students choose Basque as their main instruction language. Nevertheless, Basque language is still involved in the normalization process, and this process, besides a change in status, also requires the elaboration of the language for the new usages, i.e. terminological modernization and stylistic development. Specialized speech patterns must be developed and shared by experts, instructors and students, but these patterns are still unstable, changing and often far from optimal. Basque instructors at the Faculty of Science and Technology are aware of their responsibility for the progressive development of communicative competence by students. They are conscious that they have to keep in mind communication skills when they design the continuous and formative assessment of their students’ progress. Nevertheless, this mission is not easy, due to the sociolinguistic situation of Basque. The end-of-degree projects are a unique opportunity to evaluate the acquisition of communication skills by students at the final stage of their degree studies.

This work presents the results of an interdisciplinary educational innovation project in which 13 instructors of the 9 degrees offered in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the UPV/EHU are involved together with 3 linguists instructors of scientific communication in that faculty. A corpus of 103 end-of-degree projects (750.000 text words) was collected and linguistically processed. Compiled text corpus was analyzed by both kinds of instructors, i.e. scientists and linguists, using previously agreed diagnosis criteria and categories, which covered strategic, discursive, socio-pragmatic and grammatical aspects. The data obtained in the diagnosis process were discussed in forums and seminars specifically created for that purpose. The discussion process turn out to be very enriching, because it allowed integrating cognitive and socio-discursive control of each disciplinary domain by scientists with the ability of linguists for discourse and grammar analysis. Starting from the data obtained in the diagnosis and discussion process, an assessment rubric was elaborated and tested in a small sample of end-of-degree projects, in order to check the level of agreement among the different kinds of instructors. The validity of the assessment rubric was also tested for some tasks, such as laboratory practice’s dossiers and seminar presentations, in which communication skills are particularly relevant. The team is now involved in the elaboration of a style book, aimed to help instructors and students improving their communication skills and sharing academic Basque speech patterns.
Communication skills, assessment rubric, academic Basque speech patterns.