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Bridging Formal and Informal Learning for Second Language Writing in FLAX


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Presented with Shaoqun Wu at the Symposium on Second Language Writing in Auckland, New Zealand on 21st of November, 2015.

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Bridging Formal and Informal Learning for Second Language Writing in FLAX

  1. 1. Bridging Formal and Informal Learning for Second Language Writing in FLAX Alannah Fitzgerald & Shaoqun Wu Image:
  2. 2. Overview • The FLAX project vision for building language collections • MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) content • Reuse across formal and informal learning • Open Educational Resources (OER) as corpora • Open Access publications as corpora • Free gamed-based apps for Android devices for interacting with FLAX collections
  3. 3. Informal learning - Moocs Massive open online courses
  4. 4. MOOC content in FLAX
  5. 5. FLAX language help in Coursera
  6. 6. Digital library search interface
  7. 7. Law collections in FLAX
  8. 8. Openness in corpus development
  9. 9. The eBook of FLAX “FLAX enables teachers to build bespoke libraries very easily. It is built upon powerful digital library technology, and provides access to vast linguistic resources containing countless examples of actual, authentic, usage in contemporary text. But teachers can also build collections using their own material, focusing on language learning in a particular domain (e.g. business, law) or motivating students by using text from a particular context (e.g. country or region, common interests).”
  10. 10. EAP teacher-developed corpora
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  13. 13. BLaRC Open Access legal corpus
  14. 14. Openness in corpus building Alannah: You know, my next question: Could you have even built the BLaRC without those open government licenses on all of those documents in the BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute)? Maria: No, that’s the thing, that’s the thing. The amazing discovery was the BAILII... and they have added a lot of overseas legal documents, including United States documents. They have the whole planet in there. It’s amazing how much stuff you can find. So, to me it was a huge, huge discovery. That was the best thing that could happen to me. That’s why I started my research on legal corpora. I mean that was one of the reasons. Alannah: Access is so key isn’t, it? And, I’m sure that’s a big part of why the BAILII exists as well because they knew people couldn’t access LexusNexus.
  15. 15. Pilot study on open corpus reuse in formal learning
  16. 16. Construcción de Corpus para I + D: Proyecto multimodal FLAX Maria José Marín-Maria Angeles Orts
  17. 17. Pilot study on MOOC remix in Legal Translation Studies • 52 students in the fourth year of the Translation Degree at the University of Murcia (Spain) were selected as informants. All the students’ linguistic competence level complied with the CEFR requirements for the B2 level • The experimental group (16 informants organised in 4 sub- groups) were requested to only consult the FLAX website as the single source of information to draft their essays. The remaining 36 students (divided into 9 different groups) would act as the control group. • The subject syllabus did not coincide in its entirety with the course lessons included in FLAX, only 4 out of 13 topics overlapped with the ones listed on the online learning platform.
  18. 18. Domain-specific Collocations We focus on lexical collocations with noun-based structures because they are the most salient and important patterns in domain-specific text. Collocations from the English Common Law MOOC: •verb + noun e.g. abolish judicial review •noun + noun e.g. precedent case •adjective + noun e.g. common law •noun + of + noun e.g. court of appeal
  19. 19. Collocations in FLAX
  20. 20. Linking to Learning Collocations Collection (Wikipedia, BNC, BAWE)
  21. 21. Lexical Bundles “Lexical bundles” are multi-word sequences with distinctive syntactic patterns and discourse functions that are commonly used in academic prose (Biber & Barbieri, 2007; Biber et al, 2003, 2004). Bundles from British Law Report Corpus (BLaRC): •noun phrase + of e.g. In the course of his •prepositional phrase + of e.g. on the part of the •it + verb/adjective phrase e.g. it is common ground that •be + noun/adjective phrase e.g. be taken into account in •verb phrase + that e.g. There is no doubt that
  22. 22. Pilot study NON-FLAX-BASED TEXTS FLAX-BASED TEXTS Text Number Tokens Text Number Tokens 1 4,025 1 6,128 2 10,068 2 4,066 3 5,348 3 4,068 4 5,480 4 2,677 5 9,449 Total 16,939 6 8,495 7 5,133 8 4,004 9 3,028 Total 55,030
  23. 23. FLAX text subject areas FLAX-BASED TEXTS 1. Judicial Decisions: the Meaning of Precedent in Common Law 2. Parliament and Statutes 3. History and Peculiarities of the Common Law 4. Introduction to the Civil and Common Courts. The European Court. Parliaments and Europe.
  24. 24. Non-FLAX text subject areas NON-FLAX-BASED TEXTS 1. Family Law: a Comparison between the Spanish, British and American Systems 2. Civil and Criminal Law in the Spanish and Common Law Systems 3. International Law 4. Powers of Attorney in the Spanish and Common Law Systems 5. An overview on Legal Translation in English and Spanish 6. Probate Law: Wills in Civil and Common Law Systems 7. Contracts: a Comparative Study 8. Royal Assent 9. Delegated legislation in the UK, USA and Spain
  25. 25. Termostat analysis TERMS IDENTIFIED BY TERMOSTAT (A) (Drouin, 2003) CORPUS SIZE AFTER REDUCTION NUMBER OF TOPICS (B) TERM AVERAGE (A/B) FLAX CORPUS 226 16,939 4 56.5 NON-FLAX CORPUS 385 16,264 9 42.77
  26. 26. Initial findings from pilot study • The experimental FLAX group appears to have acquired the specialised terminology of the area better than the control Non- FLAX group as attested by the higher term average • Figures show that in spite of containing a greater proportion of terms, which appear to be more specialised, the FLAX corpus has a poorer lexicon judging by its Standardised Type/token ratio (35.23), 3 points below the same datum obtained from the non-FLAX corpus. • Finally, it has also been observed that the lexicon of the FLAX corpus tends to be more basic than the vocabulary in the non-FLAX corpus as 78.57% of the words found therein overlapped with the list of the 3,000 most frequent words of English from the British National Corpus, as opposed to 62.03% coincidence with the wordlist extracted from the non-FLAX corpus.
  27. 27. Future research • Repeating the Murcia study to boost data collection and analysis • Collecting MOOC learner survey data on openness of MOOC content for the development of corpus derivatives for language support • Developing diagnostic domain-specific language tests for MOOC learners – Tests derived from MOOC content in law corpora
  28. 28. FLAX Android APPS for teacher- developed & mooc collections
  29. 29. FLAX TEAM Apps for Android via GooglePlay File:Android_robot_skateboarding.svg /
  30. 30. Collocation Guessing Developers’ Interface
  31. 31. Collocations Guessing Learners’ Web Interface
  32. 32. Collocation Dominoes Developers’ Interface
  33. 33. Collocation Dominoes Learners’ Web Interface
  34. 34. Thank You FLAX Language Project & Software Downloads: The How-to eBook of FLAX: 20links.pdf FLAX Game-based Apps for Android via Google Play Store (free): Ian Witten (FLAX Project Lead): Shaoqun Wu (FLAX Research and Development): Alannah Fitzgerald (FLAX Open Language Research): Maria José Marín (Legal English Research and Development): Maria Angeles Orts (Legal English Research and Development): Jemma Konig (FLAX Apps Development): Xiaofeng Alex Yu (FLAX Apps Development): OER Research Hub: TOETOE Technology for Open English Blog: Slideshare: Twitter: @AlannahFitz