Welcome to the English version of the third newsletter in four languages (IT, FR, ES, EN) devoted to the project “LMOOCs for university students on the move” (Mooc2Move) funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, Action KA2 Strategic partnership for higher education.
The aim of Mooc2Move is to facilitate students’ integration when on the move, enhancing their ability to do their best in academic and specialized contexts and developing their ability of learning how to learn.
We like to keep a wider audience up–to-date with the results, materials and developments in language teaching and to tell them a bit more about the Mooc2Move project thus hoping to encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences as well as a productive collaboration.
The two MOOCs of French and Spanish, specifically addressed to university students on the move (Erasmus and others), to prepare them to study in France / Spain, took place as scheduled from 19 October to the end of November 2020. To access the courses, knowledge of the language at least at level B1 of the CEFR was required.
Each of the six modules, lasting a week, was dedicated to a theme and aimed, through short videos with testimonials and advice, to develop metacognitive skills (learning to learn). In addition to viewing video clips and multiple-choice questions, students were able to participate in forums related to the topic of the week. The first week, for example, an instruction said: "Post a photo that represents your relationship with France or / and the French language. Write a comment to give some explanation on the image you have chosen!". No less than 240 users participated in this forum, although it was not mandatory. However, very few reactions to the messages were observed, apart from those of tutors (team members).
For the French MOOC, in the end 229 people were diligent enough to obtain a certificate of participation as they had completed all quizzes and peer reviews, with a pass rate of 50%.
Regarding tutoring, all student messages (749) were read by at least one member of the teaching team. The two main tutors intervened systematically to respond to reports of technical problems and sometimes to respond to certain messages, when this comment could be of interest to all students. These interventions have never had a corrective function, which would certainly have taken time. We note that despite the lack of interaction between students and with teachers, forums help to give a feeling of presence.
For the Spanish MOOC, 679 learners studied on this online course. Learners were presented with six learning strategies to enhance the practice of their academic language skills. A vast amount of study material supported the course's main scope throughout the six weeks. The MOOC material included 42 short texts in the target language, 22 downloadable audiovisual resources and 19 activities. Learners were also welcomed to join 21 discussion forums set up at the end of some sections. 68% of the learners participated and contributed to the weekly conversations by posting 8,429 comments, prompted by sporadic tutor's interventions. The majority of the learners who completed the end of course survey (170) asserted that the course met their expectations, and they gained new knowledge/skills by taking the course.
The two MOOCs will be retransmitted at least two more times, presumably in spring and autumn 2021. Those interested in attending the second or third session for free can do so by registering on the aforementioned platforms. The French MOOC videos are however permanently available on videos.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr, keyword mooc2move (to be typed in the search window).
In conclusion, we can say that MOOCs seem quite suitable for self-study, for the guidance they provide, but provided that students already have some maturity (which was undoubtedly the case with the 229 who passed the French MOOC and the 574 active learners in the Spanish MOOC).
In designing a MOOC, videos are by far the most demanding in terms of technique and time. On the other hand, while MOOCs are only provided at certain times, if the videos they contain are uploaded to a portal and always made available as "open educational resources", their educational impact is greatly enhanced. This is what is planned to be achieved during the last period of the project.
The Conference, organized by the National Federation of Teachers Initiative Centre for Europe (IT) in collaboration with the Universities of Grenoble Alpes (FR), Alicante (ES) and Open University (UK), was initially planned in Naples in the Palace of Arts PAN, in cause of the pandemic was first postponed and eventually turned into an online conference. It aims to bring together higher education professionals, Computer assisted language learning (CALL) and applied linguists and language technologists from around the world to discuss issues related to three topical research areas:
Following the Call, 81 abstracts were received from 23 countries of which 14 European (Austria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom) and 9 non-European (Algeria, Brazil, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia).
A peer review carried out by expert, anonymous and independent reviewers, members of the Scientific Committee, then selected 42 articles. The presentations, each lasting 20 minutes, will be given in parallel sessions. Some papers discuss theoretical issues of great relevance, while others aim to analyse different experiences and experiments in this ever-expanding field. This research area has an impact on a significant part of language teaching activities in higher education.
The presentations will be preceded by plenary speeches by the authors of two linguistic MOOCs made as part of the MOOC2move project and by the report of the keynote speaker prof. Alessandra Giglio of the University of Dalarna (Sweden). Participation is free but you must register by March 15th. To register and learn about the program and the speakers, please visit the quadrilingual conference site conference.mooc2move.eu. To ask questions, write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project has been funded with the financial support ofe European Union’s ERASMUS + Programme. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.