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The UOC to run a MOOC to improve e-learning in English and Spanish as foreign languages
[17/01/2014]
The proposal for a massive open online course (MOOC) entitled "Spoken Communication: English/Spanish in Tandem" to be developed by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC), University of Barcelona (UB) and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) is to receive 15,300 euros from the Catalan government's Universities and Research Department. This proposal for the development of a MOOC by the UOC was selected by the government's University and Research Grant Management Agency as part of a call opened to the Catalan universities.

The course has been designed designed by lecturers Christine Appel —who was recently named director of the UOC’s eLearn Center—, Joan-Toms Pujol (UB) and Mar Gutirrez-Colon (URV). Its aim is to improve students' spoken ability in English and Spanish as foreign languages using online technologies. The MOOC, which is scheduled to run in the academic year 2014/2015, will let students interact with native speakers of the language they are studying using new technologies and all kinds of online tools and multimedia materials.

SpeakApps project

The UOC will offer this course using its SpeakApps platform, a European project led by the University. It provides students with online tools to help them practise speaking a language. This project fills a gap in language e-learning and offers the chance to go much further than simple grammar and reading comprehension exercises.

Indeed, the UOC School of Languages currently has 8,000 students enrolled and uses the tools from the SpeakApps project in its foreign language e-learning methods. The 2.0 tools it uses include LANGblog and videoconferencing. LANGblog is an audioblog where students can record audio and video for their classmates. Videoconferencing lets students practise a language with a teacher or classmates in real time, allowing them to start conversations between two or more people.

The UOC also has experience with the conversation tools from the Tandem project, which allows for conversations between students at a distance and monitoring of their learning. Indeed, the idea for this MOOC came from this experience.

 
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