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Marie Arndt: My dream Learning design project proposal
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11 January 2013
Marie Arndt: Blended learning support of academic writing in English for Engineering students in Oman
Tags: English. academic writing, education
I am currently teaching English and Academic Skills at a government-funded Higher Education College in Sohar, Oman. The students have a first Foundation year when they study IT, Mathematics and English. After FY they study English for another two years, alongside their chosen major subject. Even though students who start at the college have studied English for 12 years at school their proficiency is generally lower than would be expected when they start college.The students often come from small villages or other small towns in Oman. They are expected to achieve as they must compete for jobs after graduation.
Sohar college is the only educational institution in Oman where engineering is offered. The BA programme in Engineering is 4 years. All teaching is in English and students are expected to use English in both writing and speaking throughout the course, as well as digest subject-specific texts in English. The lecturers on the programme are mainly from other Arabic countries, India and the Philippines; some lecturers has an insufficient command of English to guide students effectively on the course.
My intention is to work on a project of a blended learning scenario to practice and perfect students’ English and academic skills to raise their ability to complete the project they have to complete in their final year. One major drawback is the highly unreliable internet server of the college, which means that ideally the CBL-part should be possible to work on offline. As most students have android mobile phones it would be great if the design was suitable for mlearning as well as elearning.
How you might go about bringing that change
Drawing up a support programme that students find helpful for their engineering studies. It must be simple and easy to follow, at the same time be linked to their studies. Vocabulary and comprehension of subject specific text must be blended with academic writing skills practice. The challenge is to make it interesting without being too heavy and regarded as too challenging. Liaising with future employers would also be a way to find out what employers expect of the graduates.