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ClipFlair Evaluation Report - July 2014


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The summative evaluation report by Josélia Neves presents the final results of the project, assessing its overall evolution. It considers the totality and legacy of the project, its overall success and failures, the results of its transnational application and its final deliverables and dissemination.

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ClipFlair Evaluation Report - July 2014

  1. 1. CLIPFLAIR Foreign Language Learning Through Interactive Revoicing and Captioning of Clips LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMME - KEY ACTIVITY 2 LANGUAGES, MULTILATERAL PROJECT 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP D6.5 Summative Evaluation Report WP No. WP6 WP Title Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activity description The summative evaluation report presents the final results of the project, assessing its overall evolution. It considers the totality and legacy of the project, its overall success and failures, the results of its transnational application and its final deliverables and dissemination. Authors Josélia Neves (IPLeiria – External evaluator) Reviewers Status (D: draft; RD: revised draft; F: final) F File Name D6.5.SummativEvaluationReport.doc Date July-2014 July-2014 Page | 1
  2. 2. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The aim of the summative evaluation report is to present the final results of the project, assessing its overall evolution. It will consider the totality and legacy of the project, its overall success and failures, the results of its transnational application and its final deliverables and dissemination. It will present the outcomes of the application of the evaluation plan and the assessment of the final products, services and educational material, including results of their pilot use. It will also list the project’s affordances and provide pointers for its afterlife and possible suggestions for further developments in new projects. Table of Contents 1 Introduction.......................................................................................................... 3 2 The ClipFlair Project............................................................................................ 4 2.1 Aims and objectives ............................................................................................................ 4 2.2 Methodology for the analyses of the main components ................................................. 4 2.3 Organizational / Project development issues ................................................................... 5 2.4 Language learning through revoicing and captioning..................................................... 7 2.4.1 Conceptual Framework and Pedagogical Methodology................................................ 7 2.4.2 Revoicing and captioning activities ............................................................................... 9 2.5 Web platform development and design........................................................................... 10 2.5.1 Storage and management of materials (Libraries for clips, activities and effective metadata management):............................................................................................................... 11 2.5.2 Authoring tools for the development of activities:........................................................ 12 2.5.3 Activities for students / user experience:..................................................................... 13 2.5.4 Interaction, integration and Social platform(s)............................................................. 13 2.5.5 Outstanding issues: ..................................................................................................... 14 3 Final remarks and Project affordances.............................................................. 16 July-2014 Page | 2
  3. 3. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP 1 Introduction The Summative Evaluation Report of the Foreign Language Learning Through Interactive Revoicing and Captioning of Clips (ClipFlair) project, addressed as D6.5, aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of the Project’s overall evolution. As envisaged in the initial proposal, this report is to consider the totality and legacy of the project, its overall success and failures, the results of its transnational application and its final deliverables and dissemination. It is also to present the outcomes of the application of the evaluation plan and the assessment of the final products, services and educational material, including the results of their pilot use. In addition to the aims provided in the initial proposal, and given the project’s outcomes, it seems appropriate to list the project’s affordances and provide pointers for its afterlife and possible suggestions for development in further projects. The considerations presented in this report are based on: • thorough analyses of each work package’s (WP) outcomes – deliverables – in reference to the objectives initially presented; • direct contact with the online language learning activities, both as a user and as an author; • practical use of online learning activities with students; • participation in meetings; • continuous access to the partners’ communication/interaction on the virtual workspace; • informal exchanges with project coordinator, partners and participants. July-2014 Page | 3
  4. 4. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP 2 The ClipFlair Project 2.1 Aims and objectives The ClipFlair project took up from a previous project, the Learning Via Subtitling (LeViS) project, and set out to address: (a) the insufficient quantity of online educational materials for lesser used languages and their promotion; (b) the need for new educational tools and ideas for foreign language learning; (c) the stagnancy of research for new methodologies in FLL; and (d) the little awareness of accessibility issues when it comes to audiovisuals and FLL. The objectives of the project are to: • establish a methodological framework for FLL through the interaction of text (written and spoken), image (still or moving) and sound; • develop educational materials for FL learning by covering the four skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking) and reinforcing cultural awareness. These materials include: (a) a web platform containing the user interface in 15 languages, (b) the library of resources (audiovisual files or clips), i.e. audiovisuals with activities for all CEFR levels of the target languages, accompanied by (c) corresponding lesson plans as well as (d) metadata and (e) guidelines for activity creation and evaluation criteria. Instructors will have the option to create their own activities or use the ones already implemented; • create a web community, with the use of appropriate web 2.0 tools that will give learners and instructors the opportunity to cooperate with other users and provide their own input to the process. The social-networking aspect will be the prevailing key factor; • disseminate and exploit the project products. 2.2 Methodology for the analyses of the main components A general overview of the ClipFlair project, formally organized into 8 distinct work packages, may be addressed within three major areas: (a) the organizational / project development issues (WP1, WP6, WP7 and WP8); (b) pedagogical issues of July-2014 Page | 4
  5. 5. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP language learning through revoicing and captioning (WP2, WP4 and WP5); and web platform design and development (WP3). These three areas, and the work packages they comprise, are not self-contained and are closely interconnected and therefore have a high impact on each other. This division into three main areas serves the purpose of simplifying this report that will inevitably direct readers towards specific and detailed reports written up by various stakeholders within the different work packages and will make direct reference to the deliverables that were produced throughout the project. This will require that this report be read in conjunction with, or after, that of other deliverables. 2.3 Organizational / Project development issues A major element for the success of the ClipFlair project is to be found in its organizational / project development strategies. The Combined Management (Project Coordinator and Local Coordinators) approach adopted proved to be highly effective, thanks to a strong leadership of the project leaders – Patrick Zabalbeascoa, Stavroula Sokoli and Carmen Pérez Vidal –, on behalf of the coordinating institution, who undertook the overall management of the project, covering administrative issues, monitoring the global progress of the project and the coordination of the partner activities and the commitment of the partners who led the various work packages. This shared responsibility guaranteed greater commitment on behalf of all those involved, even if it put extra pressure on the project leaders who had to coordinate the work of sub-groups within the main project and had to ensure that all those involved where on track in their assigned tasks, working out remedial strategies (with the WP coordinators) whenever needed. Coordination and communication between partners was eased by the setting up of the Redmine online virtual workspace ( that proved to be an important tool for all. The virtual workspace served to centralise and organise that whole process and proved vital for monitoring the groups’ activities. It can also be addressed as an important element for the evaluation of the whole project in that it has a detailed register of all the activities and the routes that were followed to solve the problems that came to be in the development of the different WPs. This July-2014 Page | 5
  6. 6. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP management tool also speaks of the open and honest way in which all aspects of the project – achievements and shortcomings – can be accounted for, on behalf of each person involved, and the coordinating team, in particular. An overview of the discussion threads in the forum ( is revealing of the intense discussion that took place throughout the project’s development and the documents that are posted in the “Documents” folder ( provides further evidence of the academic and technical quality of the ClipFlair project. Another evidence of the effectiveness of the organizational approach is the way the four project meetings developed (see meeting reports D1.3a, D1.2b, D1.2c and D1.2d). Project meetings proved to be effective thanks to clear agendas, partner’s contributions with thorough preparatory work and the open debate of ideas. These meetings also allowed for the project partners to know each other better, thus making interaction easier when working on-line and at a distance. Quality assurance and evaluation was carried out by all the participants (WP leaders, web developers, activity authors, teachers and students) and in particular by the internal evaluators. See D6.1, D6.2, D6.3, D6.4, as well as D5.1a, D5.1b for detailed accounts of different aspects of the project. It needs to be noted that reports are all very self-critical and show a clear notion of the project’s limitations. These are always followed by proposals for improvement, which demonstrate the constructive and pedagogical approach taken to monitoring, accessing and reporting. Dissemination (WP7) was carefully planned and consistently carried out by all the partners and by the work package coordinators (UCL). It is believed that the ClipFlair project is now widely known – in European and non-European contexts – and the platforms for dissemination that have been created – leaflets and posters, as well as social media, such as Facebook, and the Project’s webpage, will continue to make the project known to many more. A special reference needs to be made to the final conference, which took place in Barcelona, 18-19 June, and served as an important forum for dissemination, evaluation of the Project’s impact and possible ways forward. A reading of D7.5 July-2014 Page | 6
  7. 7. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP provides ample insight into the richness of this specific event and its impact on all those who took part. Still within the Project Management work package, Exploitation (WP8) was carefully planned and carried out throughout the Project. It is, however, believed that the Project’s outcomes will be further exploited, now that the Project is complete. The potential that lies within the ClipFlair deliverables, highlighted at various points below, may be seen as one of the Project’s affordances. Other issues pertaining to the operational management of ClipFlair, such as its financial administration, were not analysed, once they are considered beyond the scope of this report. In short, it may be concluded that the collaborative approach and the organizational plan, carried out in continuous and sometimes concurrent and intersecting cycles – planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating – within each WP, and throughout the ClipFlair project as a whole, was effective and allowed every element to fall into place within the greater whole and to contribute towards the success of the collective aim. 2.4 Language learning through revoicing and captioning 2.4.1 Conceptual Framework and Pedagogical Methodology One of the main deliverables of the ClipFlair project is the Conceptual Framework and Pedagogical Methodology (D2.1) given that it is structural to all the work carried out in the main (productive) work packages (WP3 and 4 and indirectly in WP5). It sets the guidelines for the core business of the ClipFlair project: (foreign) language learning through revoicing and captioning. The intense debate over the project’s conceptual premises – which took place in various discussion threads on the Redmine platform and, in particular, during the 2nd project meeting in Tallinn – allowed for the development of a document that will certainly become a reference in fields such as Foreign Language Teaching and of Audiovisual Translation. It will certainly be a “legacy of the project” (D2.1 p.2) that will feed into numerous new (academic and practical) projects. July-2014 Page | 7
  8. 8. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP As happens with other theoretical proposals, ClipFlair’s conceptual framework is questionable and open to rewriting. This is particularly true in this case in that some fairly set concepts from different fields – that of audiovisual translation and of (foreign language learning, for instance) are being challenged when bringing together domains that normally do not feed into each other. In fact, the novelty of the ClipFlair framework proposal is its attempt to merge notions that up until now, were never seen in conjunction. This has brought to the fore gaps in the distinct underlying concepts. Evidences of such challenges may be seen, for instance, in the introduction of the notion of “voice-on”, an AVT type that is seldom seen as different from voice-over; or the enlargement of the 4 skill division in the Common European Framework to cater for the audiovisual context that would better be accounted for through six skills. The interesting list of descriptors, used in the Activity Description Form (D2.1, section 2.8.2), speaks of the thorough and systematic way in which this innovative learning scenario (learning languages through revoicing and captioning activities) allowed for further thinking about language learning materials and pedagogic approaches. The descriptors that have been used for ClipFlair may well be incorporated into language learning in general and possibly in other learning scenarios. An issue that comes to the fore throughout the whole project, and that is particularly evident in D2.1 is the amplitude of what is being truly addressed (in conceptual terms), which opens various avenues for replicability and further development. Even though the ClipFlair project is all about Foreign Language Learning, its principles, methodological approach and technical affordances make it a sound framework for language learning in general; the development of creative writing and of linguistic and artistic skills (such as script writing, or the development of multimodal/audiovisual materials); or for the learning of audiovisual translation in general. In addition, part 2 of D2.1 – Concepts and Terms. Terminology and Definition of Terms, might in itself de addressed as a deliverable in its own right, to be seen and used outside and beyond the ClipFlair project, with affordances that are still to be established. This list of concepts might still be enriched with a closer look at the July-2014 Page | 8
  9. 9. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP implications of intersemiotic translation (as happens with audio description, a language transfer type that is widely used in the actual activities (WP4), but that is not sufficiently rationalised in the conceptual rationale). In short, WP2 will necessarily be seen as the solid corner stone on which the ClipFlair project was developed and perhaps that of many other projects to come. 2.4.2 Revoicing and captioning activities In the initial proposal, the ClipFlair Project set out to develop 317 language learning activities for 15 languages, through the work of 42 teachers, from partner institutions. At the date of this report, the count was 370 activities, for 15 languages, resulting from the work of 36 authors. These figures are understated given that some activities unfold into multiple possibilities, either because they are not language bound or are open to follow-up activities. It needs also to be mentioned that the activity development team grew in the project’s lifespan, thanks to the active involvement and contribution of people who were not initially part of the consortium. These contributions were very enriching and are a promising spin-off of a project that has come to be of interest to many linguists and teachers beyond the actual project partners. Authorship and usage issues The ClipFlair consortium brought together “domain experts”, with relevant experience in foreign language teaching and in audiovisual translation to work within the set languages and to develop the revoicing and captioning activities. The diversity of backgrounds, experiences, cultural backgrounds, personal and contextual circumstances made the project all the richer, but equally more difficult to manage. Here again, the strong leadership of the coordinating team, the solid conceptual premises, and clear and well-structured activity templates and guidelines made it possible to find common ground on which to build the various activities. Issues such as the selection of (audiovisual) materials, pedagogical traditions and preconceptions and the perception of copyright, for instance led to heated but fruitful discussions that will inevitably feed into the personal and national practice of the different partners. The existence (or non-existence) of previous technical experience and competencies July-2014 Page | 9
  10. 10. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP (for instance, with online authoring tools and multimedia/AVT activities) also proved to be both a challenge and an asset to the development of new activities. Here too, close collaboration between partners, through the workspace and direct contact) showed how communities of practice can be healthy and productive. While stronger partners pushed the project forward and helped the less experienced ones to progress; the weaker, or less experienced partners put the authoring process to the test and helped the IT developers to improve usability and to find ways to make the whole authoring process more user friendly and effective. It is firmly believed that the pedagogical quality and efficacy of the various activities proposed has been safeguarded, through the actual authoring process, and mainly through the piloting and peer review system (see D5.1a and D51.b, and the online feedback in Now that the ClipFlair project comes to an end, having clearly achieved its aims, all the materials that were developed are open to further assessment and scrutiny (from new and different angles). The fact that the activities can be used for other purposes than those proposed by ClipFlair, makes them excellent ground for new projects and lines of research to be exploited in the future. 2.5 Web platform development and design The analysis of the ClipFlair web platform could have easily been incorporated in the previous section, given its close relationship with the Project’s central object – online FLL revoicing and captioning activities. However, the work that was put into the development of the tools made available in ClipFlair Studio, in particular, the site’s overall layout and interface and its usability and accessibility features, makes it deserving of specific considerations. The development and design of the ClipFlair platform was addressed in WP3 and was carried out by ICT and Educational Technology Experts from CTI – Research Academic Computer Technology Institute (Partner 2 in proposal). The CTI team – and Vasilis Delis, Thanasis Hadzilacos and George Birbilis, in particular, – worked in close collaboration with the ClipFlair coordinators and various WP leaders in a continuous effort to develop a platform and tools that would comply with the July-2014 Page | 10
  11. 11. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP requirements of quite distinct (and highly demanding) needs. Such needs may be summarised into 4 main areas: (1) storage and management of materials (Libraries for clips, activities and effective metadata management); (2) authoring tools for the development of activities; (3) activities for students; and (4) social space (blogs, forums,…). Bringing these different fields together to good effect – Audiovisual Translation, Foreign Language Teaching/Learning and Web design and development – will have required great efforts and may be one of the high notes of the ClipFlair Project, proving that multi-disciplinarity will lead to innovation. Before further considerations it needs to be noted that the outcome of WP3 is essentially due to the CTI team’s profound understanding of the Conceptual Framework and Pedagogical Methodology layout, provided in D2.1, the constant dialogue between all those involved in the Project and, above all, the team’s technical competence and their will to find the best solutions possible, even if that meant redoing things and taking experiments to the limit. Careful planning (D3.1), consistent development (D3.3a D3.3b and D3.3c), continual piloting (D5.1a and D5.1b) and the various quality assurance (formal and informal) mechanisms made the final outcome possible. A few notes on specific issues pertaining to the main development areas need to be made. 2.5.1 Storage and management of materials (Libraries for clips, activities and effective metadata management): The simple and objective listing that is now available both for activity authors and users is the result of an excellent approach to tagging and management of metadata. By implementing the categorization proposal set forward in the Conceptual Framework (D2.1a and b), and by fine tuning it in the process, the system responds to the data provided by authors in the descriptive data input forms and provides sufficient information to users in general. A down side to the tagging process, which is in itself an asset as far as quality assurance goes, is the (human) mediated process of feeding the system. The fact July-2014 Page | 11
  12. 12. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP that the data provided by the activity authors has to go through an IT person before becoming available online might be seen as an annoying step to authors and may be questionable in the project’s afterlife; however, it is definitely the best way for the Project to have control over its content. 2.5.2 Authoring tools for the development of activities: The long and complex process that led to the present state of the activity “playground” (activity development suite), minutely described in D3.1 System Specification and Design Document, resonates of the difficulty of arriving at a solution which is effective for the purpose (creating comprehensive multimodal language learning packages); easy to use and intuitive; flexible enough to incorporate very diverse activities and languages; and responsive. The use of Microsoft Silverlight contributed significantly to the ClipFlair’s application’s outcome, even if it could still be further improved (as happens with any new product). The ClipFlair Studio was carefully shaped with “high level design features” to serve the purpose of foreign language learning through captioning and revoicing, guaranteeing easy manipulation of technical features, such as manipulating film; that would be easily integrated with back office features, such as creating clip and activity libraries; and that would easily interact with social media. The user experience design underlying the whole project catered for user-friendly interfaces for different users, among which authors, teachers and learners with different profiles (as specified in 2.3 of D2.1). Despite the great effort to make the activity development suite easy-to-use, less technical savvy authors, may still find the authoring process confusing, even after reading the detailed User Manual and Tutorial (D3.2) and watching the online materials – tutorial activity, video tutorial, manual, FAQ, hints and tips – in the Social webspace ( Despite the hitches that might still be found and the fact that creating activities is a time consuming (and still complex) process, as happens with the development of any kind of teaching material, the ClipFlair Studio may be seen as the only (open) online resource development suite that serves the purpose of creating multimodal language learning activities. If one is to July-2014 Page | 12
  13. 13. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP compare ClipFlair Studio to similar products (see 6.1. of D.1), it is clear that, here, major steps have been taken towards the achievement of a fully integrated activity development suite, that may well be used for purposes other than foreign language teaching/learning. 2.5.3 Activities for students / user experience: Counterbalancing the stressful process of creating effective learning activities, the actual use (by teachers and students) of the materials produced prove that the paths taken have been successful. The reports on the pilot use (D5.1 and D5.2) show how students react to the activities and provide interesting feedback for improvement. Here as with the rest of the project, the Conceptual framework and pedagogical methodology resonates. Learners take an “active role”, in “unique and individual learning processes” and learn from doing in what appears to be an “engaging and attractive work space”. This engagement becomes all the more evident when learners become authors and they too start contributing towards project with new activities. The collaborative nature and the potential for further development is highlighted in this ongoing process. 2.5.4 Interaction, integration and Social platform(s) Given the Project’s collaborative nature – involving project partners from very different parts and a large and diverse “community” of ClipFlairers (beyond the stakeholders), special care was put into making the Project accessible to all through the use of mainstream Web 2.0 social media. This meant finding ways to integrate the Project with existing platforms (such as youtube, from which video clips were sometimes taken) and using the tools that people in general are already familiar with. The Redmine workspace proved itself very useful for Project management, but The Clipflair tailored social platform –– (with its forums, blogs and groups) played an important role in dissemination, collecting valuable feedback and keeping momentum for a whole community of practice that came together through it. It needs also to be highlighted that the Project has a strong widespread presence in non-specific social media and is widely disseminated on facebook, July-2014 Page | 13
  14. 14. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP twitter, youtube, and through other mainstream tools. Its virtual presence can easily be verified through regular web search engines. 2.5.5 Outstanding issues: It is clear that the ClipFlair Studio is a very successful and sound result of the ClipFlair Project and that it withholds enormous potential for further developments. There is, however, an issue that was not considered in this Project and that might be seen as a follow-up: web accessibility. ClipFlair activities have an enormous potential for inclusive education. Its ingredients – multimedia materials, multimodal communication solutions, online development, “for all” approach to language learning and learner centred approach – will certainly be appreciated by teachers working with Special Education and by learners with special needs (particularly those with sensory impairment). However, the ClipFlair Studio cannot be used by people with visual impairment. The Web design that was followed is visio-centric in what will have been an effort to make the application intuitive and easy-to-use. No alternative (verbal) components that might be read by screen readers makes it totally inaccessible to a wide range of users (including sighted persons whose learning modes are not visual). As it stands, the ClipFlair Studio does not comply with the W3C (WCAG1.0/WCAG2.0) criteria for accessible sites. Some of the pointers might still be introduced, but in order to make a truly accessible platform, structural changes would need to be made (something to be looked into should the Project have further developments). The main accessibility issues to be found with the present format are: a lack of headings, no ALT-text in links and menus; no links to jump information blocks; page’s main language is not identified; various CSS errors (mainly tables); the use of Javascript; inadequate text formatting and poor colour contrast. In short, the whole webpage is non-accessible and non-responsive. These comments on accessibility issues should be simply addressed as food for thought and a stimuli for future developments. They do not detract from the value and quality of all that has been done. July-2014 Page | 14
  15. 15. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP It needs to be said, however, that, despite the fact that the platform does not comply with W3C guidelines, ClipFlair still manages to achieve its wish to cater for the needs of people with disabilities, as stated in the proposal. The materials that are developed, particularly those with captioning (useful as subtitling for the deaf and the hard of hearing) and with audio description (useful for people with vision impairment), are valuable assets not only for language learning but also for offering people with sensory impairment access to audiovisual materials. Another indirect effect will derive from the impact that creating accessible materials will have on participants at large. For instance, all the students who come across activities with audio description (some of which explicitly stating issues pertaining to disability) will have been offered an opportunity to think about disability and accessibility issues; topics which are seldom addressed in traditional mainstream educational settings. July-2014 Page | 15
  16. 16. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP 3 Final remarks and Project affordances If one more comment needs to be done to the ClipFlair Project it will be to reinforce the highly critical self-assessment and tight quality assurance strategies that were implemented throughout the whole process. Any criticism that might be set forward by an external evaluator will have already been pointed out by those involved in the development of the different work packages (in a number of deliverables) and will have been amply analysed in search of adequate solutions. A positive and constructivist approach to shortcomings has turned crisis points into productive opportunities and has helped to limit what will always be an ambitious and challenging Project. To sum up, the most striking aspects of the Foreign Language Learning Through Interactive Revoicing and Captioning of Clips (ClipFlair) project may be listed (in no particular order of importance) in the following way: • an example of how collaborative networking and well organised communities of practice can make diversity an asset; • a strong promoter of linguistic and cultural understanding between widely used and lesser known languages and cultures; • a project that is promoting an expanding community (beyond the partners) – involving teachers and learners (within and beyond Europe), who are becoming authors and critical thinkers in different (linguistic, educational and technical) domains; • a solid online platform that may be changed and improved to cater for the needs of different users and with potential for other uses beyond Foreign Language Learning; • a versatile and challenging conceptual framework that can feed into theoretical thinking and that can be applied to other fields and domains; • an open online activity based learning concept that could be useful for the teaching/learning of other subjects (eg. maths, physics, history), that can be an efficient learning tool for students who “learn by doing” and with great potential for special education; July-2014 Page | 16
  17. 17. 519085-LLP-1-2011-1-ES-KA2-KA2MP • a collaborative organizational model that is based on solid ethical principles; • A project with ample opportunities for a long, rich and diverse afterlife. July-2014 Page | 17