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The Implementation of EPOS, a Web-Based Learning-Platform for the ELC-ELP and other Validated ELP-Versions within a Tutorial Programme in Combination with Language Courses at the University of Bremen

Author(s): Bärbel Kühn, Astrid Buschmann-Göbels, Rüdiger Fehse
Institution/Organisation: Fremdsprachenzentrum der Hochschulen im Lande Bremen (FZHB) (DE)

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS CASE

1.1 Scope of the initiative


The Language Centre (FZHB) at the University of Bremen is the central service institution for language training as it offers language classes for students of the four public universities of Bremen, the University Bremen, the Universities of Applied Sciences of Bremen and Bremerhaven and the University of the Arts, Bremen. Furthermore, collaboration has been established with the University of Oldenburg, the (private) Jacobs University Bremen and the three great European Cultural Institutes Goethe Institut, Instituto Cervantes and Institut Francais.

With the combination of classes, autonomous language learning and the tutorial program we want to enhance language learning and language activities by establishing modern and successful forms of language learning on the campus- given that students are already knowing autonomous learning from other field of study.where students else where know since long what it means to learn autonomously. So we offer individual coaching and support the idea of peer- and project-based learning. By using EPOS, students have to reflect on their learning process, their success and mistakes. EPOS serves the cognitive and the affective learning fields and the tutorial program as such brings in a social constituent. EPOS is used as a tool for blended-learning in all the above-mentioned institutions; newly it was implemented within the tutorial program at the university. The first evaluations have shown that by the tutorial program autonomous learning has become more attractive and that peer- and project-based learning has a great fun factor for the students. As such - this is where it comes full circle - it is extremely motivating for autonomous learning.

The tutorial programme aims to provide students with transferable communicative skills relevant to mobility, employability and academic life in general and to provide a motivating learning environment dedicated to language learners living in a knowledge-based society.

Furthermore, with the implementation of the tutorial program as a pilot project in winter semester 2007/08, more students have the chance to learn another foreign language or develop their language skills. Although the participation is limited here as well, more students can be accepted than in regular classes.

The programme is running during the semester or in the semester break and ends with a presentation of the projects and an evaluation.

 

1.2 Range of languages learned


Students who register for the tutorial programme can study any language; the Self-Access Centre has material for. Over 150 language learning programmes on CD-ROM from over 40 languages are offered. Additionally, students can use a large amount of books and the TANDEM-service as well.


At the FZHB classes for the following 17 languages are offered: Arabic, Chinese, German, English, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish and Turkish.

In the tutorial program students can get 3 ECTS for a one-semester "participation" with a workload of 90 hours – that is the same as in blended learning classes, where they can get 3 ECTS for a 90-hour-class In order to get ECTS they can register for the program twice. All other registrations are ECTS-free. There is no fixed level to start from. Students can register from A0 up to C1.1/C1.2 level.


1.3 Learning outcomes


Once, students have registered for the tutorial program, they formulate their learning targets together with the tutor. In the first meeting between student and tutor a thorough advisory takes place. The learning targets together with the current level and the level, they strive for, are fixed in the learning agreement. Here it is possible to have intermediate levels from A1- C2.

 

By helping students to prepare their studies abroad due to developing certain communicative skills, increasing their intercultural awareness and competence, they are extremely motivated to study abroad. At the same time the number of incomings (students who come to study at Bremen University) is raising constantly. Studying abroad, they can register for another program: They agree to learn for a language certificate in the country they stay in or they can choose a proje ct, which has to have a strong connection to language- and/or intercultural reflection, do their studies, write a report and earn 3 ECTS by being back in Bremen.

 

1.4 Practical realisation


Students can obtain either 9 or up to 15 ECTS for a program passed. Depending on their starting level, students can choose and set up their learning targets, based on the "can do – statements" of the CEFR. The learning goals are noted down in EPOS as well as in the learning agreement. On the basis of their aims they should choose a topic for a project they have to work on together with a fellow student.


As far as Spanish, French and German is concerned, the FZHB has implemented collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes, Institut Francais and Goethe–Institut in Bremen. The end of a program is a kind of fair, where papers are held and posters are done, teachers from these institutes as well as from the FZHB came to have a look at the presentations, do an evaluation and give a formal feedback to the students.

Tutoring first of all is the task of our skilled students. But in case it is necessary the coordinator of the tutors will be there to meet the tutees for advisory hours. And she or he meets the tutors every week who have then to report the state of the learning processes with their tutees. So the coordinator is coach and supervisor for them AND for the learning students.

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