Why study a MOOC on Corpus Linguistics?


I thought it was time to give MOOCs a try, so I decided to sign up for the Corpus Linguistics course produced by Lancaster University within the FutureLearn platform.

Experiencing online study

The main reason for starting such a course now is that I want to experience online learning from a student’s perspective and get a taste of the kinds of challenges that our students have to face in their studies. the estimated workload is 3 hours per week (probably an under-estimation), and after just one week of study I can tell that finding time is going to be the main challenge for me.

Learning about Corpus linguistics

I have a potentially valuable dataset that was collected as part of a JISC-funded project (eFEP). It consists of the written and spoken feedback given by 36 Open University tutors on 200 student assignments in Spanish language courses.

The dataset in question, which is already anonymised, comprises:

  • 100 written feedback reports (PT3 forms in OU jargon) on written assignments
  • 100 PT3 forms on speaking assignments
  • 100 spoken feedback (already transcribed) on speaking assignments

The sample includes equal numbers of assignments from each of the 4 levels taught at the OU (i.e. beginner to graduate level).

Although a preliminary analysis of the data  was carried out as part of the project, the methods of analysis did not include corpus linguistics. Instead, the corpus was coded using the FACT analysis tool, which concentrates on specific features of tutor feedback rather than linguistic analysis.

By studying this course I hope to be in a position to make the dataset available on a suitable open platform, in a format that makes it usable for corpus research purposes.


About mft2

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