September 2014 update

As usual, 2013-14 was another busy academic year. Here are a few highlights of my activity:

Publications

Fernández-Toro, Maria and Hurd, Stella (2014). A model of factors affecting independent learners’ engagement with feedback on language learning tasks. Distance Education, 35(1) pp. 106–125.

Fernández-Toro, Maria and Furnborough, Concha (2014). Feedback on feedback: eliciting learners’ responses to written feedback through student-generated screencasts. Educational Media International, 51(1) pp. 35–48.

Keynote address

Developing intercultural competence and employability skills for language graduates in the digital age. Innovation in Foreign Language Education Colloquium – University of Bath, 13th June 2014.  This marks the start of a new avenue in my scholarship activity, which will include a public engagement strand aiming to raise public awareness of the value of studying languages for employability and personal development.

New module: Exploring languages and cultures

My main teaching activity this year was to lead the academic team who produced a flagship module for the Language Studies Programme as from October 2014: Exploring languages and cultures (L161) introduces key concepts relating to languages, language learning, plurilingualism and intercultural communication and is the compulsory, first module in all Language Studies qualifications. Work on this module was full of challenges and rewards as this was the first time colleagues from the Department of Languages wrote a module in collaboration with Department of Applied Linguistics and English Studies. Over 900 students have already registered for it and I am looking forward to this first presentation.

Projects

As a follow-up to the e-Feedback Evaluation Project (eFEP) funded by JISC, we were awarded a Scholarship of Assessment grant for a project entitled Evaluating the ‘feedback on feedback’ approach in language modules to pilot the ‘feedback on feedback’ method within a teaching context (it had been originally developed as a data collection method for research purposes).

The CercleS 2014 conference (Fribourg, 4-6 September) hosted a final dissemination event for the MAGICC project. In collaboration with Dorota Żarnowska (Poznan University of Technology, Poland), I presented the Autobiography of Academic and Professional Intercultural Competences and Skills, a self-assessment resource that we developed together as part of the MAGICC ePortfolio.

I have also recently joined a Department of Languages scholarship project to investigate the usefulness of languages to employability. This follows on from my involvement in the production of the new module Exploring languages and cultures, where employability skills are an integral part of the syllabus.

Other activities

I cannot conclude this account without mentioning my musical fundraising activity. Despite a frantic work schedule I did manage to travel up to Gateshead in July to sing with VoiceQuad at the Mick Danby Mix concert. The event was to celebrate the life of our much loved friend and fellow musician Mick, who lost his battle against cancer last February and I simply had to be there! You can listen to the set we sang in my Spanish blog.

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About mft2

Lecturer in Spanish, Department of Languages The Open University, UK
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