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More curriculum development (3 Short Papers 0119, 0126, 0149)


15:10 - 16:10 on Wednesday, 8 September 2010 in Room 1


119 Transitioning from traditional to online teaching: making sense of changes in learning environments
Bob Barrett


126 Voice over the internet: user perspectives on voice tools in language learning.
Teresa MacKinnon


149 Coaching as student support via illuminate
Dawn Wood, Janet Finlay


119 Transitioning from traditional to online teaching: making sense of changes in learning environments
Bob Barrett
This paper will focus on the use of online learning technology as a vehicle to help prepare instructors for online teaching opportunities and will consist of four major elements. Firstly, an overview of the recruiting, hiring, and training aspects of the online teaching environment. Secondly, an overview, as well as lead into an open discussion session among the participants to see what other educational institutions are doing in their recruitment and training of online instructors. Thirdly, a brief discussion of technological and skill requirements of online instructors. Finally, a good networking effort for current and potential online instructors to meet others interested in online teaching. The presenter will overview how one online university has approached online teacher training for both experienced and new instructors as they prepare for the change from traditional to online teaching. While many graduates have learned in traditional learning settings, there is a growing number of adult learners obtaining their degrees from online universities. Thus, there is a growing need for more instructors with online teaching skills.


126 Voice over the internet: user perspectives on voice tools in language learning.
Teresa MacKinnon
This paper looks at an empirical study carried out within the University of Warwick Language Centre. A group of language tutors trialled process tools to add voice to their online provision. The wimba voice tools used included voice boards, voice email, podcasters and oral assessment tools. Tutors were able create resources and integrate these within their online provision for students. Technical support and a screenshot booklets were provided. An experienced language teacher adopted an interpretive paradigm using Steiner Kvale’s “traveler metaphor” (1996) to examine the experiences of colleagues.There are significant challenges presented by the deployment of such tools. Central to these is the tutor’s perception of their role in the language learning process. Extensive reading from the fields of second language acquisition and CALL point to a “double hit” of affective factors when computer mediated communication is employed to support language learning. These factors relate to: tutor expertise in the choice and deployment of the technology; learner engagement with the provision. Qualitative data gained through one to one walkthroughs and interviews revealed tutor concerns rooted in both pedagogical and technological areas. However quantitative data showed that, given the right support and time to reflect upon their interventions, usage of the tools increased and affordances were valued by both tutors and learners. It would appear from this study that practitioners are able to harness these tools to deliver additional speaking and listening opportunities which are well received by their students. The study points to two critical factors for success: understanding of the affordances of CMC and reflection upon the role of the voice tools within one's teaching approach. Computer mediated communication is particularly important given that the locus of communication for our students has significantly moved towards Crystal's prediction: “In a statistical sense, we may one day communicate with each other far more via computer mediation than in direct interaction.” Crystal (2001, p241). This presentation will highlight the best practices for language teachers implementing the use of voice in online support for language learners. It is significant especially given the increased importance placed upon practical language skills by employers within today’s global workplace.


149 Coaching as student support via illuminate
Dawn Wood, Janet Finlay
The JISC-funded project Personalised Curriculum through Coaching (PC3) uses coaching to enable work-based learners to identify and define their learning needs and build a personalised curriculum. This new approach arises from the changing expectations and needs of work-based learners and their employers. Although popular for professional development in business, development coaching remains a rarity in higher education (Griffiths 2005). From an educational perspective, coaching has the potential to raise student self-awareness, to support them tackling areas they find challenging and to place ownership of their learning firmly in their hands. Coaching is a simple skill to pick up and a hard one to master. It requires the coach to be attentive to the coachee, while at the same time remaining objective and unbiased in their questioning. To do this a coach uses a wide range of skills and tools, such as active listening, including observing tone and body language, perceptive questioning, psychometric tests and 360 degree feedback (Rogers 2008). Coaching is usually done face-to-face, although the telephone interview has also been used for many years. While this is relatively successful, it reduces the conversation to voice-only and limits the opportunity to use many coaching tools. To address this while supporting the fact that work-based learners are often location- and time-tied, the online conferencing tool Elluminate was employed. This tool enables voice and video communication as well as the use of an interactive whiteboard. This paper examines the impact of Elluminate on the coaching process, evaluating it in a pilot study with 10 M-level students, who are being coached as part of their course. We evaluate the effectiveness of Elluminate in supporting the coaching process through post-coaching reflections from, and interviews with, coaches and students. Initial results indicate that while the students had little prior experience of online conferencing, they have been able to engage effectively with the system. Coaches, however, had mixed feelings: some felt they needed a face-to-face session to enable early rapport-building before proceeding with online coaching. Bandwidth was also an issue for some. Finally we present recommendations for the use of such tools in coaching.