Welcome to MOLA!
The instructors of UFV’s Modern Languages Institute would like to welcome all students of Modern Languages to our progammes of study in eight languages.
We understand that most students will be feeling anxious and uncertain to return to classes this fall because of the change to online learning. Our message to you is ‘Keep calm; we’ve got your back’.
Since COVID-19 struck, your UFV instructors have been working furiously to transform their courses to the new realities. Our goal is to provide you with the best online instruction that we can by striking a harmonious balance between synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (recorded) learning activities. The synchronous activities, completed during class-time, will imitate the face-to-face delivery by using platforms such as Zoom and Collaborate. These platforms allow the teacher to set up communicative exercises with the instructor, with small groups and in pairs. So, you will practise working in your target language with other members of the class in the same way as you would if you were in a classroom. The only real difference is that you are on screen, rather than face-to-face. The actual learning activities are the same, with only slight modifications for online delivery.
In a regular F2F environment you would do your homework outside of class time. In the online environment, this makes up the ‘asynchronous’ activities. These may consist of workbooks, compositions, translations, and other kinds of written and oral activities. Some instructors may use web sites or platforms like Learning Branch to provide more practice. But try to remember learning a language is a skill, so practice is needed, and the asynchronous activities will provide that practice.
Your instructors have been working hard to adapt, so what do you need to do?
- Firstly, try to maintain a positive attitude. We may be in a rather difficult situation, but we believe that we can capture almost all the classroom learning experience in our online courses, so please let us try.
- You need to ensure that you have good connectivity and a space where you can work.
- We highly recommend that you keep your cameras on for most of the class. Interacting with others in a second language is greatly facilitated if you can actually see the other person’s mouth move and witness the facial expressions and gestures of your interlocutor. ‘Cameras on’ is a way to foster more connectedness and interaction by getting to know each other better. It makes the course more engaging and fun, and that’s a major component of any language class. You learn the language to engage with other human beings on their linguistic level, and engagement is much easier when you can hear and see the other person.
- We understand that anxieties and other issues may occur, so if you feel hesitant about having your camera on, you need to work it out with your instructors, and find out what their expectations are.
- Technical glitches will occur, so we have been working on developing backup systems.
- Take your courses seriously and you will still have a great learning experience despite the dreaded COVID-19.
- Enjoy your classes and have fun as you’re learning!