All entries for October 2011

October 04, 2011

Facilitating dialogue

The Language Centre has good reason to provide diverse ways of communicating - the process of communication is at the very heart of our teaching and learning experience. Over some years now we have tested many systems and have selected tools that allow our tutors and students to communicate in a range of ways according to the context and the communicative purpose. Asynchronous communication through voice boards captures a discussion for review and reflection; voice email allows direct spoken messages to travel through your inbox, synchronous formal communication can happen in one of our live classrooms and , most exciting yet, our instant messaging system connects course participants so they can collaborate at a distance. These tools provide 21st century solutions to a very old problem that is also a very important human need, the need to feel that we are not alone. The human voice is a very powerful tool, we should use it in online environments to support our learners. HEA funded research project ExAEF found that "formative audio feedback significantly enhances the student learning experience, improves their opportunities for flexible learning, and promotes good pedagogical practice". Clearly for languages it also helps us model second language use and provide opportunities to hone emerging language skills.
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