Matt Bury
August 2019

Matt Bury | MA Online & Distance Education

English Language Teacher | Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) specialist | Instructional Designer | Curriculum Developer | Moodle Admin

Location: Sevilla, Andalucía, España 🇪🇸

Hello & welcome to my Moodle portfolio!

(Currently under construction)

Examples of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) course features which give a clearer understanding of what online EFL looks like & how it works. This Moodle portfolio is primarily intended for directors of studies, academic managers, & teachers who are interested in or would like to start online ELT courses & programmes.

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Cursos dispoñíbeis

A general (British) English as a Foreign language (EFL) course at CEFR B2 (Upper-intermediate) level. This is a fictional example of an online course adapted from the first unit of an old edition of a well-known EFL course book. Although the content is not an example of good curriculum design, it should provide sufficient familiarity to most ELT academic managers, directors of studies, & teachers so that they can evaluate the online self-study format rather than the content itself.

Introducing online programmes "all at once" is high-risk, i.e. expensive to develop course materials & has a high probability of failure. Rolling parts of programmes gradually as blended courses (part face-to-face & part online) minimises this risk & can provide valuable insights into how sustainable success can best be achieved.

This is a fictional example of some online components of a course adapted from an old edition of a well-known EFL course book. Although the content is not a good example of curriculum design, it should provide sufficient familiarity to most ELT teachers & managers so that they can evaluate the online, self-study format rather than the content itself.

Cultivating social presence is essential for learner engagement & graduation/completion in online courses. Learners on courses with poorly supported social presence report feeling isolated, demotivated, & are far more likely to disengage, miss classes, fail to complete assignments, & eventually drop out.

Social presence is learners' & teachers' sense of belonging & community & their ability to project themselves as 'real' people with personalities, thoughts, opinions, & feelings to each other. When it's well cultivated, learners support & encourage each other, especially through their more challenging experiences. This course demonstrates some effective strategies for cultivating social presence in an online environment.

Listening activities developed from a radio interview with two subject matter experts on a business oriented topic. Demonstrates how online listening activities can:

  • Develop deeper phonological awareness through close, detailed analysis of speech
  • Overcome fatigue issues associated with intensive listening
  • Recycle listening resources for multiple learning objectives
  • Reduce learners' anxiety
  • Result in more durable & transferable language learning

Some examples of placement tests, focusing on different approaches, e.g. vocabulary knowledge, language functions, form-meaning relationships, & integrative vs. discreet point testing. Unlike written paper-based tests, online formats can include multimedia, e.g. listening to audio, colour images, & video, thereby testing a wider variety of skills & enabling a wider variety of question-response types.

Online tests can be configured for self-registration & automatic enrolment so that potential students simply sign up, take the test, & get their certificate. Tests can include writing & speaking tasks. You'll also have their contact information to follow up with them, e.g. to arrange a speaking test &/or to discuss course enrolments.

Online placement tests can be especially useful for intensive courses & summer schools where it can substantially reduce the number of students who require testing on arrival by allowing them to take the test at their own convenience at home or while waiting at the airport on their mobile phones.

Digital Badges are electronic credentials that can be awarded to learners upon demonstrating specified competencies, e.g. from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Badges can be issued by teachers or automatically upon meeting specified criteria, e.g. completing groups of courses, completing one course, completing groups of learning tasks, or completing one learning task. Learners can transfer badges to their 'backpack' repository & display them to employers & other educational organisations.