Evaluation

1st pilot course – spring 2013

First run of the course – SWOT analysis

A) Based on students feedback

Strengths Weaknesses → Strategies
Topic: Brno Reservoir and cyanobacteria Some students liked the topic, it was new, they learnt new things Some argued that it was too narrow, especially for some disciplines (maths, physics) The concept of the course has been changed – introduction to the topic based on more general background info (biological, mathematical, chemical, physical, geographical, geological)
Balance of language and science Some students were satisfied Some expected more science, some expected more language Repeat what the aim and objectives of the course are
Work in mixed teams Students liked this kind of work. They learnt about the other disciplines. Students recommend spending more time on mini projects in mixed teams. Most answers positive. Biology and chemistry were dominant More work will be done in mixed teams – collaboration
Work in expert teams The opinions differed depending on the science teachers who were in charge of the teams. Some were excellent Depending on the science teachers who were in charge of the teams. Some were monotonous, some chaotic More work in mixed teams - in the first half of the course, then project work – small teams – cooperation within a team, regular tutorials with the science teacher /coordinator
Teaching materials, handouts Very good, both science and language practice Some topics were not covered satisfactorily Teachers guiding the mini projects will provide students with a reasonable amount of sources
Presentation skills Students appreciated the opportunity to practice presentations Most students failed to effectively transfer the information from their expert teams. It was difficult to follow some of the presentations – too specific topics, lack of simplification, bad presentation skills More time will be spent on the input (theory of presentations – examples) and on practicing (one obligatory tutorial at least will be required)
Video-conference with Helsinki University Very interesting experience, new technology Too many students participated, the Finnish students were biologists only, no other discipline was involved, a bit too restricting Videoconferencing will not be incorporated into the course especially due to the lack of time and specialization of the Finnish students
Abstracts + using corpus searching tool Very useful for future career, corpora very interesting and helpful Professional proof reading from the native speaker was highly appreciated It needs more time to practice Timing will be changed
Conference organization Good experience Chaotic, hectic Change of timing, meeting deadlines (strictly)
Final conference Success, although some problems occurred during the preparation Organized in the last week of the semester – students work on the final assessments, sit for exams, geographers could not take part due to the field work The conference will be organized one week before the end of the semester

B) Impact team feedback

Problems Change
In the first run of the course it was sometimes impossible to come to consensus due to a dominant colleague, the less dominant people drew back → very little progress in planning.
No sustainability of the course
Change in the team, now communication without problems, the atmosphere is friendly and fruitful. The team meets regularly – demonstrating demo-sessions. Each demo-session is prepared by one scientist and one language teacher (discipline-based), or by teachers responsible for particular topics, the other colleagues act as students. After each session, a detailed feedback is provided.
More feedback in all areas
In some disciplines coordination content/language was difficult (F,M, C) Negotiating, MF ok, C sometimes hard
Coordination of the preparation Delegate more responsibilities, specific individual tasks, coordinator must require meeting deadlines
Foster less dominant colleagues to express their opinions
Give clear and more specific instructions
Too many activities to make the course attractive to Ss Fewer activities
No videoconference
More focus on collaboration in teams
Lessons overtime – regularly Strictly keep to time limit, fewer activities
Idea of advanced presentations skills failed – Ss were supposed to transfer the info from the expert teams to the other teams Detailed feedback, time limit, presentation background before (Ss were expected to know).
Ideas of mixed teams The potential of the course is interdisciplinarity
Ss missed more info on the syllabus Syllabus published before
Topic cyanobacteria in expert teams too detailed – Ss were more interested in interaction Global view – discipline-based, more work in mixed teams
Communication in the team (dominant x submissive – even good ideas) Relaxed, cooperative spirit after the controversial colleague has left
Science teachers will understand why correct language structures are important when formulating different ideas/opinions, learn some new teaching methods
Science teachers will improve their English
Language teachers will better understand interrelations among disciplines

2nd pilot course – spring 2014

Second run of the course – SWOT analysis

A) Based on students feedback from the questionnaire (anonymous) + blog

Strengths Weaknesses → Strategies
Topic: Brno Reservoir and cyanobacteria OK Some students argued that it was too much for one course, one student suggested a different topic - diseases The topic will not be changed, the preparation of that particular topic was very time consuming.
Balance of language and science Some students were satisfied In general students would expect more: language, presentation practice, more pronunciation practice, more advanced language exercises and less science Repeat to students what the aim and objectives of the course are – it is a language course based on interdisciplinary approach. The fact that there are so many scientists involved affected the content of the course. In the third run, however, language will be fostered.
Language exercises will be modified – avoiding simple ones (gap-fils) and focusing more on the functional language
Work in mixed teams Students liked this kind of work. They learnt about the other disciplines. Students found the experience enriching biology and chemistry were dominant again. Some Students would prefer more sharing in expert teams X last year experience showed it was too restricting – also due to the fact that the teams were not equally represented (majority of biologists and chemists)
Materials, handouts Very good (eg. abstract writing very useful) Some disciplines better than the others, too many grammatical exercises (eg. gap-fil) Modification of grammar exercises, focus on the functional language, science teachers will adapt their materials a bit
Presentation skills Students appreciated the opportunity to practise presentations Students need more time to prepare, practise and rehearse their presentations, improve their presentation skills More time will be spent on the input (theory of presentations – examples..). Students were expected to have participated in the standard courses of English where presentations are dealt with in detail. In addition, two obligatory tutorials will be required- with science and language teachers).
Abstract writing Very useful, highly appreciated (input and professional proof reading and video feedback from the native speaker) Students would prefer more time spent on abstracts, more feedback. More practice will be added, however, students will be required to work further with the feedback – some of them failed to do it
Using corpus searching tool (Sketch engine) Corpora very interesting and helpful It needs more time to practise Timing will be changed, more homework to make students use the tool
Conference organization good experience Need more time for organization, start sooner, more publicity, no awards for the best presentations Change of timing, meeting deadlines (strictly), start in the first third of the course
Final conference Excellent experience, friendly atmosphere Organized in the last week of the semester – students work on the final assessments, sit for exams , geographers could not take part due to the field work – they designed posters The third course run and the conference will take place in the autumn semester, which is more convenient for students
Overall evaluation of the course Very useful, non-standard, friendly atmosphere, supportive teachers, active speaking during the whole course, new and creative teaching methods, interesting topic, new friends Too much science, too many home assignments, no balance of discipline-based input, more team projects, clear instructions Make students think about the target audience of their presentations, home assignments – fewer, clearly defined, preferably automatic evaluation of elearning tasks
Recommendations More language, more presentations, fewer scientific presentations, more abstract, more soft skills

B) Impact team feedback

Problems Change
At the beginning of the course students will be informed about
  • aim of the course: to improve students´ language skills, interdisciplinary communication, to make students think critically (emphasize that it is not a scientific seminar)
  • syllabus – meeting deadlines
  • course requirements – (presentations, abstracts, blog, conference preparation, need to follow the instructions in the course interactive syllabus...)
  • info on the conference – what will students be expected to do and when (! time pressure before Christmas and exam period)
Syllabus fewer activities, more sharing in teams
Affinity map it worked – organizing and reorganizing items during the course (critical thinking)
Home assignments
  • not so many, equally distributed during the course
  • strongly require homework deadlines (home reading for the following session)
  • elearning - if open answers, then give feedback and check whether students corrected all their mistakes; preferably automatic evaluation of tasks
  • clear instructions
Language exercises avoid mechanical gap-filling, focus on the functional language, more advanced activities
Topics for the conference
  • 5 fixed sections – titles created by science teachers, topics in the sections fixed // students themselves can take the initiative, students sign up for the topics
  • topics in sections must be thematically connected – based on interdisciplinary collaboration,avoid overlapping
Presentations
  • provide more theoretical input and practice even though some students may have attended the standard courses focusing on presentations
  • more rehearsing
  • more consultations with science and language teachers – strictly require re-editing if necessary
  • compulsory rehearsal in “sections” with detailed feedback
Abstracts start with the abstract lesson immediately after all the topics will be assigned
Blog it did not work – Robin will be responsible for blogging
Teachers be responsible, organized and timetabled, meet deadlines

3rd pilot course – autumn 2014

Download Questionnaire results


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