The FAVOR project (Finding a Voice through Open Resources)
There is strong government and societal acknowledgment of the importance of learning languages, and the FAVOR project will showcase the excellent and often unrecognised work of part-time, hourly-paid language teachers in universities, by engaging them in activities which will enhance the student experience and contribute to the academic life of their institutions.
Engaging part-time, hourly-paid academics in academic culture is a particular issue in the teaching of modern languages in the UK. Teachers of language are often employed in university language centres and are separate from academic departments which focus on content. They are usually on teaching-only contracts and have low status compared to their research-active colleagues. Such tutors tend to have intensive teaching timetables, allowing them little time to pursue research interests which would enable them to contribute to the research life of their institutions, or pursue professional development and raise their professional profiles. Despite this situation, language tutors are usually front line staff, who are in first, and close contact with new students. This means that they are ideally placed to understand their needs, expectations and challenges in the transition from school to Higher Education.
This project will make good use of this knowledge and experience by engaging tutors in publishing a significant number of their language teaching resources as open content, and creating a suite of new open educational resources designed to assist prospective students in understanding the nature of language study at HE level. These activities will benefit the education community by increasing the pool of high quality teaching materials openly available; archiving useful content at a time of cuts and consolidation in language departments, and promoting the benefits of studying languages to school pupils.
Language tutors from five different universities will be involved in the project: Aston, Newcastle, UCL SSEES, SOAS and Southampton. All learning materials will be published for use and re-use on the web, and disseminated to schools where they will be evaluated by prospective and existing students and will contribute to the national agenda for the promotion and support of language learning.
- to engage part-time language tutors from 5 UK institutions, in the release of teaching resources as open content
- to engage tutors in creating repurposable digital resources which will support tutors and pupils in the decision-making process of university applicants considering the study of languages, and also on the nature of language study at higher level in the UK
- to raise awareness of the work of part-time tutors within their own institutions and the wider academic community and enhance their professional profiles
- to establish an online community offering support for the development and sharing of materials
Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes
a set of new and existing language teaching materials for a range of languages taught in universities, which can be used and adapted by others
- a suite of new OERs which are aimed at giving prospective language students ‘a taste’ of language learning in HE by showing them the nature of language study in universities but also the range of new languages that can be learnt
- enhanced awareness of the work of part-time language tutors
- greater integration of part-time tutors into institutional and academic life
- opportunity for tutors to build an academic profile and engage in research
Kate Borthwick, LLAS Centre, University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, 02380 594814, 02380 594815 K.Borthwick@soton.ac.uk
LLAS Centre, University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, 02380 59481 02380 594815email: firstname.lastname@example.org