Creating eBooks: Business mail10-Sep-2013
In the last three years I have experimented with modern applications such as blogs, wikis, platforms, virtual clouds and forums. They have gained enormous popularity and, in my opinion, they serve as an excellent contribution to the language learning process. All of them can add a feeling of novelty to various sessions. These ideas have motivated me to create one of my digital books with a firm pedagogical aim, to help learners benefit more from their language study.
I first started thinking about an eBook in 2011, when I was invited to take part in a Leonardo Da Vinci Partnerships Project, the aim of which was to develop online modules for individual training, in order to meet the requirements of marketing and sales personnel of small enterprises, wishing to establish business contacts with foreign partners. My task was to create and develop a module relating to The Form of Business Letters/Emails of Organising Meetings. At the same time I decided to design an eBook and invite my students (most of them responsible for business communication contacts in their companies) to participate in the creation of the book as part of continued language development through their Business Studies course. Being the potential users of the Project online module in the future, the learners were enthusiastic about contributing to the book with research and models of authentic business letters, which they had already written for various purposes at their work places.
The history of teaching English for specific purposes, especially Business English, shows that staff in small enterprises do not always have adequate skills, both in terms of practical knowledge of a foreign language or the intercultural competence needed to establish and maintain business contacts. In most cases these tasks are taken on by personnel not properly trained in English communication skills. These are firm owners who negotiate contracts themselves, family members or employees who happen to know the foreign language needed for a particular business contact or ad hoc translators and interpreters, not necessarily well prepared for the business task in question.
My aim was to provide learners with appropriate and relevant English, which would help them communicate effectively in the particular business sector of arranging meetings via emails. The eBook would focus on practical and functional language so learners would be able to understand key business concepts, and put new language to immediate use. The digital book should also give information in terms of strategies for different business emails of arranging meetings in order to help learners write them fast and confidently. It also aimed at providing useful tips concerning grammar and vocabulary as well as suggesting exercises, which might enhance learners’ knowledge of this specific subject.
Here I will take the opportunity to thank my learners for all their hard work and willingness to compose samples of business letters as part of their course and their desire to be authors of some of the book chapters. In the eBook there are letters aiming at expressing regret of having to miss an appointment for example or travel arrangements to be made, written by my students.
Finally, I would like to add that not only was the course extremely successful but challenging and rewarding for learners and me as their teacher. It was precious for my students to participate in the “book production” with samples and later to be able to use the book for reference when having to write business letters for real life situations. Of course, it was a great experience for me as well, which allowed me to transform my sessions into interactive, engaging and practical ones.
View our completed eBook here.
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