Theme-based Invited Speakers

Ana Gimeno

Department of Applied Linguistics

Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, Spain

“Do Massive Open Online Language Courses (LMOOCs) Satisfy Learner Needs?”

Judging from what we hear and read, there seem to be as many supporters as detractors of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). However, MOOCs are still a growing phenomenon and rely on technology to reach out to potential learners in populated cities as well as remote rural areas. Higher education in particular hasembraced this education “outlet” as a way to cater for an increasing demand for high quality online course materials to cover the needs of professionals who would like to engage in lifelong learning, and to satisfy the need to be at the forefront of educational developments and gain more international visibility. However, currently available MOOC platforms are in many respects limited in terms of courseware design and implementation as they are based on the template approach to software authoring. This limitation increases when we think of MOOCs that are intended for language learning – one of the most cognitively demanding disciplines learners can be confronted with. These MOOCs are commonly referred to as Language MOOCs or LMOOCs. Based on the Prof. Gimeno’s experience in designing four upper-intermediate level MOOCs for learners of English as a Foreign Language, which have attracted over 200,000 learners to date from 258 different countries, she will discuss the findings deriving from over 17,000 learner responses to a survey conducted longitudinally over a period of two and a half years to shed light on some of the factors involved in learner motivation, expectations and learning styles. Additionally, as lack of guidance and scaffolding are factors that can lead to learner drop-outs, she will discuss the solutions that were implemented to overcome these deficiencies. In line with this, as some of the more challenging areas in LMOOC design relate to providing opportunities for learners to practise speaking and writing skills, she will discuss ways of designing activities to support learner interaction and communication, considering that these must satisfy learners who come from very different educational backgrounds and cultures.

Biodata

Ana Gimeno is Full Professor of English Language in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain. She is Head of the CAMILLE Research Group, devoted to research in CALL and has been project manager of several funded multimedia CALL research and development projects that have led to the publication of a number of language courses in digital format. In 2016, she co-authored the first Spanish as a foreign language Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivered on the US-based edX platform, which has attracted over 350,000 learners from around the world and in 2018 she published the first upper-intermediate English edX MOOC, which has attracted over 200,000 learners. Ana Gimeno is Associate Editor of ReCALL (CUP) and serves on the Editorial Board of Computer-Assisted Language Learning Journal (Taylor and Francis), as well as being editor-in-chief of The EUROCALL Review. She wasPresident of the European Association for ComputerAssisted Language Learning (EUROCALL) for 6 years (2005-2011) and is currently President of the world organisation for computer-assisted language learning, WorldCALL (www.worldcall.org).