Institute of Romance Languages
and Translation Studies
Halina WIDŁA,
Supporting the learning
through the use
of Distance Learning Platform
The Institute of Romance Languages and Translation Studies at
the University of Silesia teaches students in five specialities:
French language,
Romance philology,
Italian philology,
Spanish language and
Applied languages:
French and English
• Canadian subspeciality,
• French language
studies in the
University's Affiliate in
Each speciality offers
two cycles of
• the three-year BA
• the complementary twoyear Master's studies
also for college
• Philological studies are
run both full-time and
Various blocks of courses
• a block of basic courses (including blocks
of courses in linguistics, blocks of courses
in studies of literature and blocks of the
main language's practise courses),
• a block of courses preparing for the
teacher's and translator's profession
• a block of general education courses
(consisting of subjects such as Latin,
philosophy, second foreign language).
The didactic offer for students of
French language, Spanish language
and French+English languages
a block of professional courses:
law or specialist language.
• Third-year students of BA studies and
students of MA studies are offered four
types of seminars on:
• studies of literature,
• linguistics,
• translatorics
• methods of foreign languages teaching.
New motivation
• Another motivation for us was the change which
occurred when the graduates who passed the New
Matura exam entered the universities. These people took
the new IT course according to the new teaching
programme. They also adopted habits which were
acquired individually by their older schoolmates. It is the
first time we have encountered students who begin their
integration with creating own websites and portals.
These are actvities which would appear rather exotic to
their elder mates. For the very first time two groups of
students – organisations and scientific societies –
appeared asking for server space.
• The Institute of Romance Languages and Translation
Studies runs didactic classes in four foreign
languages. Of course it also cooperates with various
foreign institutions.
• The advantage of Moodle is it's global popularity. No
other system has ever been massively tested in such
• Neither we, nor our partners are forced to learn how
to use a new administration panel (in any such case,
even an uncomplicated panel requires additional
time and training).
• While it might not be disturbing for a person with
technical education, a person with human studies
takes it into consideration primarily.
The advantage of Moodle:
• It's global popularity
• Internationals partners
• Many schools decided to install the
platform in order to improve the
international cooperation concerning
student exchange programmes
• The registration and launching the platform takes only few minutes
• There is a tutorial (in French, English and Spanish) in the form of a
slideshow accompanied by a video presentation, consisting of lectures
which the user can open according to his/her needs
• The administration panel is user friendly and easily adaptable
• No other platform is as suitable for project activities as Mayetic,
because it allows to create any number of groups and sub-groups, to
which the same people can be assigned (depending on their status in
the sub-group)
• This system, only seemingly complicated, enables teachers to easily
organise joint tasks by distributing tasks to different groups of users,
with particular internal hierarchy of individual persons responsible for
respective parts of the project
• The activities are synchronized in accordance with the schedule
• The teacher can choose coordinators of the respective parts and
assign them to supervise the tasks of the sub-groups
• The teacher remains the main coordinator of the works and monitors
the group's progress
Nowadays there are widespread complaints among
distance learning specialists about reluctance of
their colleagues to introduce this form of education.
They should give up attempting to convince the
stubborn and instead make efforts to ensure thet the
next generations, accustomed to the new methods,
choose those institutions in which not only is this offer
available, but is also of high standard.
• A very well-designed on-line deans office
panel is the unquestioned advantage of USELMS. It transparently allows to monitor the
students' progress, while giving them a
chance to correct their shortcomings.
Didactically (i.e. the easiness of validation
and control over documents concerning
progress) this platform outstandingly meets
any demands of a teacher.
Project Activities
• Working on the platform can be divided
into a few steps:
• joint working on a general plan and a topic
of the lesson,
• a division into smaller teams responsible
for creating the particular “moments” of the
• joint concluding the overall shape and
course of the lesson.
Other benefits:
• training in both individual work and teamwork,
• providing new opportunities to shape language
and communication skills
• Mastering media competences
• Intensifying students' scientific attitudes
• Increasing students' creativity
• Developing authonomization of language
• Individualizing processes of foreign language
creation of an e-dictionary
of specialist vocabulary.
• Within the block of the main language's
practises, students can work together on
exercices and evaluate their essays during
the written language classes.
We assume that persuading the staff to
introduce this way of working will result in an
attempt to implement the MAMS system. There
is a good opportunity, because for the first time
we are starting up a speciality which includes
teaching a foreign language for beginners.
Strenghtening this offer by a set of interactive
exercises, as an additional chance for people
who need more revisions, should bring the
expected results.
Block of Translatorics
The entire group of students could be
divided into smaller teams (responsible for
particular fragments), consulting their
results in order to give the translation an
overall shape
Block of Professional Courses
• Most popular solution:
• a virtual enterprise.
A particular function may be appointed to
each students – each of them would have
to do the duties in order to ensure that the
enterprise is functioning properly.
Specialist Language Courses
• French language in business.
• The students can virtually create models
of selected types of commercial /
administrative letters, correct them
together and consult them with the
Studies of Literature
• Within the block of studies of literature,
project activities may base on a joint
analysis of a piece of literature.
General Education Courses
• On the basic level, the activities can involve
preparing short essays, created and corrected
by all members of the group, or creating
bilingual micro-dictionaries (of the first and the
second foreign language).
• On the advanced level, the activities may be
extended and include more linguistic situations,
such as those based on real life situations
transferred to virtual reality (e.g. a simulation of
a job interview, writing application letters etc.).
Effects can be later presented and analysed
during classes.
The cooperation on the platform can be
also used to execute projects which arise
from programmes of particular seminars.
It can serve as a method of joint compiling
necessary scientific tools and discussing
their usage.
• During the philological studies, working on the distance
learning platforms can serve:
• As a training laboratory for project exercises
• As a form of a virtual, individual course of purely linguistic
studies: a language course taking into account needs of
both those exceptionally gifted and exceptionally
incapable of meeting the requirements
• Another stage of having the use of the platform should be
an individualised offer of language teaching, taking into
account students' widely grasped linguistic biographies:
not only age and competence, but also already posessed
knowledge and skills in other languages, which will
strongly accelerate the acquisition of next languages.
Thank you
for your attention

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