The project team
Maria Fernandez-Toro, Project Director
María is a lecturer in Spanish at the OU, where she has been working since 2007. She previously worked as Co-ordinator of the institution-wide European Languages programme at Newcastle University for 11 years, and taught on the MA in Media Technology for Foreign Language Teaching. Her publications include Training Learners for Self-Instruction
(London: CILT, 1999) and D.I.Y Techniques for Language learners
(London: CILT, 2001; with F.R. Jones), in which self-assessment resources are a prominent feature. At the OU she has written course and assessment materials for online delivery, and recently took part in a review of assessment at the Department of Languages as a member of the Assessment Working Group. She is regularly involved in monitoring tutors’marking and feedback as well as briefing new tutors and examiners. Her recent publications focus on self-assessment and feedback, and was recently awarded an internal seedcorn grant to pilot her proposed analysis method for audio-recorded feedback.
Concha Furnborough, Project Team Member
Concha has worked for the Open University since 1998, initially as a tutor and consultant author developing course materials at all levels, assessment tasks and tutor marking notes. Since 2001 she has worked full time in the Department of Languages, with responsibilities including co-chairing production teams for the remakes of beginner and upper intermediate courses. She has also been engaged in on-going monitoring of tutor feedback to distance language learners. For the last five years she has been a member of the departmental VLE group responsible for facilitating most effective use by tutors and students of online materials and assessment measures, and has contributed to the staff development of Associate Lecturers (tutors). She has also written papers on student approaches to feedback and responses to learning in a distance language learning context.
Elena Polisca, Project Team Member
Elena is senior language tutor and Italian language coordinator in Italian Studies at the University of Manchester. She manages the language teaching team and has overall responsibility for the management and development of the Italian language curriculum at all levels. In the past year, she was awarded internal TESS (Teaching Enhancement and Student Success) funding to develop Hear IT!, an innovative audio-feedback project for first and final year students aimed at increasing student engagement and ownership of the feedback process. Previously, Elena was awarded a Teaching Excellence Award in 2008 by the University of Manchester and in 2010 she was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Peer Support Award. Both awards recognise Elena’s passion and commitment to the enhancement of the student experience and validate the numerous student-oriented innovative projects that she has developed in the past few years.