Introducing Macmillan English Campus as an integral part of your face-to face teaching12-Mar-2012
The previous posting has dealt with ways of introducing an online learning platform without having regular access to incorporating it into your lessons. As we have seen, these obstacles can be overcome by finding ways of using MEC outside the classroom. However, finding the time (and the technical requirements) to turn MEC into an integral part of your course both inside and outside the classroom certainly is the preferred option.
If you teach in a classroom that provides you and/or your learners with computers and internet access or if you have access to a PC pool or language lab, there’s no reason why you should not integrate MEC into your F2F sessions. The material on MEC lends itself to being used in different ways. You can ask students to work on exercises individually or you can use the teacher PC and a projector and thus turn it into an all-class activity with you or a student typing in/ticking the answers and checking the result.
In our case, MEC is used for intense courses at levels A2, B1, and B2. Since these courses take place in the institution’s own buildings, they use MEC both inside and outside the classroom. Classes meet for three hours every day and are thus able to work through one level of the CEF within five (in the case of A2 and B1) or six weeks (B2). The course includes an introductory session in the language laboratory or an IT room on the second day of the course.
Usage outside the classroom is the same as described previously. Inside the classroom, at least 90 minutes per week are spent working with MEC, either as a class activity projected onto the wall or as individual tasks in the language lab. Whereas whole-class activities introduce new topics or provide an opportunity for review, individual work mainly serves as consolidation. The teacher acts as intermediary, previewing the content of each unit of the online course and selecting the activities most suited to his/her learners’ needs. The ratio of content delivered F2F and online is 70/30.
Although overall acceptance is high, there is a slight difference between learners using MEC predominantly outside the classroom and those using it in their F2F sessions: The degree of acceptance of MEC as an integral part of their learning process is slightly higher with learners in intensive courses than with those attending courses that use MEC mainly outside the classroom.
When asked what using MEC adds to her classes one teacher points out: “Classes are more interesting. Sometimes you forget about the chore of learning a language or teaching a lesson because you work with something new and you focus on it. I think it is the same for my students. When they play a game, they forget about learning structures.”
Playing games is one of the features students mention when asked what they like about MEC. An A2 learner says: “It has games and you must not only do reading and learning as you do at school.” Another A2 student adds: “It’s very important to me to do some exercises at home and to know if I have done it right or false.” Her peer sums it up. When asked what he likes about MEC he says: “Because I can make the very good exercises, and after the exercises are coming always the answers. I can also correct my own answers and think about what I made wrong.”
All in all, using MEC inside the classroom has provided both teachers and learners with new insights into viewing learning as an ongoing process. The outcome shows that it would be very beneficial for more F2F sessions to incorporate MEC. As a consequence, a larger percentage of courses have been relocated to buildings that offer internet access within the classroom and thus enable teachers to integrate MEC into their teaching time. If your institution has the facilities to allow you to incorporate MEC into your teaching, don’t hesitate to do it, it is certainly worth it.
You can find previous articles from this series below: