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Multimodal specialist forum

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I am currently involved in moderating the E852 multimodality forum.  This has always been an  interesting experience and we are currently discussing some political manifestos.  However, I reflected on how little I use multimodal affordances in this blog and have the following hypotheses for why this is:

- perhaps I do not think in a very visual way

- I tend to post fairly frequently but quickly

- my posts tend to be quite short.

I suspect the latter two are the main reasons.

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OU Live

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It was working better for me last night.  However, one of the students did not seem to be able to speak and another kept getting thrown out of the room.  It is a very stressful and concentrated platform for teaching when the teacher needs to notice who is in the room, check whether participants can speak as well as think about what they want to do in terms of content.

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OU Live

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OU Live seems to be working extremely poorly at the moment in terms of reliability and stability.  I had several students who were unable to access tonight's session and I was also thrown out of the room several times.  It has been very frustrating.

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Problems with OU Live and intensity

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Friday, 14 Nov 2014, 11:27

Last night's OU Live session had added intensity as my volume kept slipping.  I could see that the slider was moving sometimes to reduce the volume and monitoring this added to the intensity of the session.  I frequently had to do all of the following at the same time:

- think about what I was saying

- respond to what students were saying

- work the whiteboard

- monitor and respond to messages in the text boxes

- monitor my own volume.

OU Live clearly has great value but it is challenging for tutors to work with it.  All teaching involves making many decisions and bearing different factors in mind but OU Live requires even more than most face to face teaching.

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Pessoa and thoughts on grammar

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015, 22:40

I have just been reading a translation of an unusual book by Pessoa (1991) and was particularly intrigued by some thoughts on grammar towards the end of it.  Many of them seem to relate interestingly to concepts covered in E303 and E301.

The first is "grammar is a tool not a law" (page 231).  This seems to relate to the ideas of SFL where there is such an emphasis on the functions that language serves.

There is then a long paragraph where he suggests that "someone who understands what is involved in speaking often needs to make a transitive verb intransitive and vice versa" and that "If I wanted to talk about my existence as an entity that both directs and forms itself.....I would have to inventa transitive form and say grammatically supreme 'I exist me'" (page 231).  This quote is interesting as "I exist me" seems similar to the kinds of structures used in spoken English (Carter 2004).  Pessoa also seems to be explicitly linking grammatical deviance to creative and literary texts.

There is then another call for appropriate deviance "Only those who are unable to think what they feel obey grammatical rules.  Someone who knows how to express themselves can use those rules as he pleases.  There's a story they tell of Sigismund, King of Rome, who, having made a grammatical mistake in a public speech , said to the person who pointed this out "I am King of Rome and therefore above grammar" (page 231-232). 

These points resonated with many of my thoughts recently.  For example, I was thinking of this as I heard David Cameron recently say "I are...."  I have not seem this referred to in the press and I slightly wonder whether he was using the mistake/deviance as a tool for expressing (perhaps manufactured) anger about the recent EU bill.

Carter R (2004) Language and creativity: The art of common talk London: Routledge

Pessoa F (translated 1991) The Book of Disquiet London: Serpent's Tail.

 

 

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Meeting students again

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 4 Nov 2014, 16:15

I currently teach courses at level 1 and level 3 (plus a Masters level module).  This year, some of my students in the level 3 module, Analysing English Grammar (E303) are students I know from having taught them EAP Online (L185).  It will be interesting to see the extent to which they have developed and used the skills of EAP Online.

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Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters

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The new L161 course makes use of the Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters (Byram et al 2009).  It seems to be a useful document in that it provides a framework for the analysis of intercultural encounters.  However one aspect slightly puzzles me and that is the use of the question "Who am I?".  Thinking about significant intercultural encounters I have had, it appears that they change who I think I am and I would think the relevant question would be "Who was I?".

It seems to make use of the principles of reflection dealing with "what?", "so what?" and "now what?" (Barrett 2001).  The first stage after the "Who am I?" section involves describing the encounter (page 6).  The section on the importance (page 7) deals with the question "so what?" .  The section on "looking back and looking forward" (page 18ff) seems to deal with the issue of "now what?".

 

Barrett, H.C. (2001) “Electronic Portfolios: a chapter to be published in Educational Technology: an Encyclopedia [online] Available from http://electronicportfolios.org/portfolios/encycentry.pdf (Accessed 28 October 2007)

Byram M, Barrett M, Ipgrave J,  Méndez García M de C, Buchannon- Barrow E, Davcheva L, Krapf P, Leclercq J-M (2009) Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters Council of Europe Available at http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/autobiography/Source/AIE_en/AIE_autobiography_en.pdf [Accessed October 21st 2014]

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Welcome to new students on E303 and L185

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Students on these course are just starting a new presentation.  There is beginning to be some activity on the Tutor Group Forums.

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L161 briefing

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 22 Sep 2014, 16:37

I was in Milton Keynes for a briefing for tutoring on this new course (L161 Exploring Languages and Cultures) on Saturday.  It looks like a very interesting course and I think students should be looking forward to doing it.

There are examples from many different languages and text types.  For example, there is an interesting analysis of different kinds of menus in different kinds of contexts where it is pointed out that the categories expected on menus in Britain and the ordering of these is not the same on Chinese menus.

 

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Student feedback

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I have had some mixed feedback on the same course.  One student was so keen on my work that she named me in response to a question of who was significant for her studies and made some very generous comment.

In the anonymous feedback for the same course, I generally got good feedback but for each category, there was one who wrote negative comments.  I can entirely understand that there are different opinions and students should give their honest views.  However, some of the feedback is demonstrably (or could be demonstrated as) untrue - e.g. feedback that messages were not replied to.  I am sure that one rogue person who seems to maliciously criticise would be ignored in the greater context but I wonder whether there should be a need to demonstrate criticisms are reasonable.  I suppsoe this might affect anonymity.

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Talk the Talk MOOC again - terms of address

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014, 13:19

It still seems to be going well and many students have been supportive of each other.  There are, however, some postings that seem unnecessarily negative about presentations that people have posted.

One thing that has been striking is how often terms of address have been problematic.  Some people have been using titles (Mr X etc) and Madam/Sir.  These seem to be misinterpreted at times.  There is a perhaps a need for clearer expectations about the level of equality that is expected.

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Talk the Talk MOOC Week 5

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The course generally seems to be going well.  Something that is striking is that in week 5, there are quite a large number of students still posting on the early activities, stating that they are just starting the course.  I am trying to reply to at least some of the postings by these students so that they are aware that we are interested in their contributions and still keen to encourage them.

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An "intense" OU Live session

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014, 13:23

I had an OU Live meeting last night which seemed particularly intense in terms of the demands that I was under.  One of the students was having problems with sound so was typing about this problem in the chat box.  I was feeling under pressure to support her as I also spoke and manipulated the white board and also tried to encourage engagement from the other students in the group.  Sometimes the demands on tutors can be quite extreme when doing OU Live sessions.

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Weeks 2 and 3 of the Presentation Skills MOOC

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Students still seem engaged on the course and there is plenty of useful discussion occurring.  I am trying to encourage and support by making my presence felt.  There was one unusual reply to a message I posted - "yah".  I find it hard to interpret.

 

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First week of Talk the Talk MOOC

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The first week was interesting to experience.  There were many comments and the discussions seemed to be lively.  Many of the concepts were perceptive but the main impression was of energy as there seemed to be postings almost by the minute.  I wonder what student responses to such a busy course are.

The course I took as a student (on Corpus Analysis) had many more facilitators and they were more visible as a result.  I hope that students do not feel that there is too little presence of the facilitators but they are only human and cannot be present all day every day.

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A Future Learn MOOC on presentation skills

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014, 16:59

I will be working as a facilitator on the Future Learn MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on presentation skills.  If anyone reading this wants to join, they can do so at:

http://www.futurelearn.com/courses/talk-the-talk

It is free to register for it. 

I hope to post some thoughts on how it goes as the course progresses.

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End of two courses for this presentation

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014, 13:35

Recently finished L185 and E301 for this presentation - time goes so quickly.  They are both good courses and students who work hard on them learn a great deal.

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100 years since Sun Ra was born

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 12 Jun 2014, 10:11

It is the centenary of Sun Ra's birth today.  

I wrote a post about a documentary about him here:

http://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=137228 

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OU Live for LB160

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 21:45

OU Live is being used for LB160 for the first time this presentation.  We had the first two sessions last week.  Students in one group needed help getting used to the technology but those in the second group were already familiar with similar systems which meant we could concentrate on the content of the session.

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Committed students (continued)

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Saturday, 29 Mar 2014, 22:15

I have commented before on the inspiring commitment of many students and this was underlined again this week by the example of a student who woke up for an OU Live tutorial at 4 am where he lives.

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Supporting students through tutor group forums

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 20 Mar 2014, 16:04

I have been thinking about the roles of the tutor group forums in supporting learners and this seems to be particularly relevant on L185 where learners face more challenging texts for TMA 4 than they had been exposed to before.

It seems to me that the following could help to scaffold them:

- encouraging top down reading strategies

- asking questions

- encouraging learners to use the "collective intelligence* of the group.

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E303 tutorial

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 17 Mar 2014, 10:54

The tutorial for E303 on Saturday was quite enjoyable.  The students had the opportunity to practise their skills in using the concordancer.  However, even more importantly, they had a chance to use it to explore the language and they were able to notice some of the results of different searches.

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MOOc on Corpus Linguistics,

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I decided to try the MOOc on corpus linguistics.  For a response to my first week on the course, see http://patrickdandrews.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/initial-impressions-of-corpus.html

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Creativity in OU Live

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 26 Jan 2014, 12:49

Several students have referred to creativity in OU Live sessions.  This often seems to occur when switching between chat at the beginning (while waiting to see if other students will come) and starting on the content of the sessions.  I would be interested in examples people notice.

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"Intensity" in OU Live

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The term "intensity" came up in an OU Live session yesterday where some students commented on how busy the tools.  They commented on how they were listening, speaking and also writing in the text box as well as reading the comments and looking at the whiteboard.

It is hard for the tutor and the participants to follow some of the strands that are going on.  I suppose there is a tendency to ensure that the sessions are seen as being valuable.

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