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Serendipitous Innovation with Academic English Resources


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Presented at the Queen Mary University of London Continuing Professional Development conference on April 8, 2016

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Serendipitous Innovation with Academic English Resources

  1. 1. Serendipitous Innovation with Academic English Resources Alannah Fitzgerald
  2. 2. Serendipitous Innovation
  3. 3. FLAX Academic English Collections
  4. 4. Sharing EAP Materials Online William Tweddle: Well, the PIM [BALEAP Professional Issues Meeting] that we went to in Southampton where we were presenting Academic English Online, and Kathryn [Richardson, director of the QMUL Language Centre] was saying how it was going to be available to everybody. You know, that it’s now available on the Internet instead of the intranet. Alannah Fitzgerald: Yeah. William Tweddle: And, there was a lot of sort of, “Well, why would you do that?!” coming from the audience, you know? Alannah Fitzgerald: Hmmm, I remember that. (Focus group discussion, April 2015).
  5. 5. Developing Raw Academic Articles into ESAP Materials Martin Barge: You know, I think the thing about open educational resources, the question here, or part of the question here, which we discovered in this project, for example, is if you take a text, a raw text, which is not adapted for teaching like an article, it has EAP potential because it’s an academic article. Then the ability to use that and to put it into materials, or adapt it, modify it, or change it under the Creative Commons thing is the, the revelation. Because we’ve all been doing it for years anyway, from copying it from a book or something when we’ve not supposed to have been adapting it, changing it, or whatever.” (Focus group discussion, April 2015).
  6. 6. Serendipity in ESAP Materials Dev. I Alannah Fitzgerald: You know, my next question: Could you even have built the BLaRC without those open government licenses on all of those documents in the BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute)? Maria José Marín: No, that’s the thing, that’s the thing. The amazing discovery was the BAILII [...] 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 have happened to me. That’s why I started my research on legal corpora. I mean that was one of the reasons. (Interview, August 2015)
  7. 7. Serendipity in ESAP Materials Dev. II Through an act of “serendipitous genius on Chris’ part” (email to team QMUL, August 2015), micro PhD abstract collections were developed to support pre-sessional vocabulary learning.
  8. 8. EThOS PhD Abstracts Collections
  9. 9. Dewey Decimal Classification
  10. 10. Browse by Discipline
  11. 11. Wikification of Specialised Terminology
  12. 12. Managed Open Access Initiatives A formal request must be registered with the Oxford Text Archive (OTA) to develop the BAWE (British Academic Written English) corpus for non-commercial “research use or educational purposes” (IT Services, University of Oxford, OTA, 2015). Similarly, the abstract metadata of 400,000 PhD theses is available via the EThOS toolkit, which offers guidance on employing EThOS metadata for “reuse by third parties for not-for-profit purposes” (The British Library, n.d.).
  13. 13. Research into EAP Materials Use Saima Sherazi: I mean we can take students to the water but we can’t make them drink it. There actually needs to be a research project, probably, where we ascertain how much of what we introduce to them - because this is all that we are doing, we’re introducing them to WordSmith or introducing them to FLAX - whether they actually use any of them. (Focus group discussion, April 2015).
  14. 14. Thank You FLAX Language Project & Software Downloads: The How-to eBook of FLAX: http://flax- 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): TOETOE Technology for Open English Blog: Slideshare: Twitter: @AlannahFitz