I like to take off time from work after the intensive summer pre-sessional teaching. In fact, this year, I wanted to take a kind of ‘sabbatical’ if that’s possible for a freelancer, and reflect on what direction I wanted to go and perhaps review my skills set and take a few online courses. Just then, I came across a Linkedin post by Ton Koenrad announcing the start of a MOOC for LSP (Languages for Specific Purposes) Didactics and ICT Integration. As ESP (English for Specific Purposes) is one of my main interests and I wanted to go back to developing ESP courses, this was the right course for me.
The 6-week course is the outcome of the EU project ‘CATAPULT’, which stands for Computer-Assisted Training And Platforms to Upskill Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) Teachers.
The course aims to meet the needs of 21st century LSP teachers by offering them training in both LSP didactics and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) integration. The course will enable them to develop some of the key competences identified in the CATAPULT project (see the common competence framework – CCF and here the research behind it).(from the CATAPULT course website)
This 6-week course is delivered by a team of European experts in LSP and Computer-Assisted Language Learning and comprises 7 modules.
Assessment and levels of engagement
The course can be taken at three different levels: browser, tester or creator level. I decided to fully engage with it, so chose the creator level, which meant quite a lot of time investment. Assessment was included in each module in multiple ways, such as posting comments, taking quizzes, analysing course material, writing lessons plans, and completing a reflective portfolio.
The main outcome is, of course, the learning. Having done mostly editorial work in the past couple of years, I felt I needed to review my theoretical and practical knowledge of the ESP field. The framework above is quite comprehensive, but makes the necessarily skills tangible. Throughout the course, we worked on all the competencies, and I feel much more confident again as an ESP course developer and teacher, and know where to look for support if I need it.
Another outcome is being part of a community of practice that is hopefully going to last beyond the course because part of the CATAPULT project is the development of a CoP platform called LinguaCoP.
And finally, the team have also created a platform to connect ESP teachers with potential employers or students: Linguaclick.
And this is my certificate 🙂
As there was a specific start date, there were many participants from all around the world. This and the fact that input and interaction was diverse, and tutors were around and provided feedback and grades, let to high levels of engagement. Perhaps the badges and points received for work done and comments posted also helped with this.
I have taken a lot of online courses and MOOCs, but I can say this was easily one of best, and I would have readily paid for it.
Thank you CATAPULT team for developing this course, Ton Koenrad for announcing it, Cédric Sarré and colleagues for the valuable feedback throughout the course, and all the course participants for a valuable and enjoyable learning experience.
If you are a language teacher and already teach or would like to teach ESP, I can highly recommend this course. The next iteration starts on 1 March 2021 and you can register here.