MOOCS FOR TEACHING ESP TO ECOLOGICAL FACULTY STUDENTS

Abstract


The development of Internet technology and the globalization of education have fostered massive open online courses (MOOCs) for sciences and humanities. Various MOOCs are based on different methodological approaches such as connectionism, active learning, cooperative learning, implying autonomy and intrinsic motivation of students in acquiring the skills and abilities that are important for a career. Control of the acquisition is carried out by means of self-evaluation and peer-review using tests with AutoCheck, nonlinear tests with specific evaluation criteria. This form of training involves a fundamental change in the teaching methodology and promotes paradigm shift in the education system, due to changing access to learning materials, their method of presentation, monitoring and evaluation process. Besides the obvious advantages in terms of professional training, MOOCs can also be considered as an additional tool in teaching ESP. Most of the courses provided in the public domain, are in English, and involve leading specialists of the world’s best universities. Participation of students in these courses is not limited to the perceptual component, interactive open structure allows students to participate in forums, discussions, peer-review in the target language. Second-year undergraduate students of the Environmental Studies Faculty were assigned to participate in one of four MOOCs to choose from. For each MOOC project teams were formed, working on a group project throughout the course. The work was organized in blended learning format - independent individual work of each student on the content part of the course, the discussion within the group, preparing presentations, presenting their ideas to students from other working groups, followed by discussion. English teacher was in charge of facilitating discussions as well as evaluating presentations from the content and language point of view. A few positive aspect of MOOC integration were the possibility of independent work of students; high quality of the material; professional vocabulary development; built-in control system. There were also some disputable aspects, such as temporary access to courses as well as very generic approach to the matters discussed. Students who participated in the program were surveyed in order to identify the main difficulties that they experienced while working with MOOCs. In this article we present the results of the survey and will offer the main ways to overcome the problems.

About the authors

N G Valeeva

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Miklukho-Maklay str., 6, Moscow, Russia, 117198

M A Rudneva

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Miklukho-Maklay str., 6, Moscow, Russia, 117198

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Copyright (c) 2016 Валеева Н.Г., Руднева М.А.

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