L@S: The New SIG of openTEL

The launch of our new Special Interest Group: Learning at Scale (L@S SIG) happened on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021. Dr Shi Min Chua led the first online meeting of the SIG, which featured a presentation from a Senior Lecturer at The Open University (The OU). The interdisciplinary event welcomed 21 people across the university who had the opportunity to share their work on L@S with others.

Dr Anna Comas-Quinn kicked off the session with her presentation: Learning beyond the classroom: online volunteer translationShe shared findings from her doctoral research project that explored the experiences of a global sample of online volunteer translators. Anna also reported on two action research projects (Comas-Quinn & Fuertes-Gutiérrez, 2019Cámara & Comas-Quinn, 2016) that piloted and implemented the use of online volunteer translation activities in language and translation teaching.

The meeting was then followed by a roundtable discussion with academics and researchers interested in learning more about the SIG. Attendees mentioned how their research and practice related to learning at scale. All the members in the meeting agreed that The OU is a pioneer of this learning modality, considering the large number of students taking distance learning modules at our institution since 1969.

The organiser also prompted the attendees to think of the aspects they would like to explore further in the upcoming sessions of the SIG. They mentioned the following topics for the L@S SIG agenda of 2021:

  • Impact on learners & educators
  • The methodology and data used to research L@S
  • The context of L@S in developing countries, including F2F and community centres
  • Automated feedback
  • Learning Analytics
  • MOOCs
  • Digital badges
  • Microcredentials
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Learners’ disposition and cultural influences
  • Assessment at Scale
  • The distinction between delivery and learning at scale

One of the members shared their thoughts on L@S and wrote: “What dimensions can ‘scale’ have? Obviously, the number of learners, but inspired by Anna’s talk and other comments, others come to mind. E.g. number of Learners, Teachers, Subjects (Sciences, Languages, Arts etc.), Pedagogical approaches, Technologies used, Communication media (audio, video, text, image, hypertext etc.), Distance (various forms: physical, transactional…), Languages, Emotions”. Another attendee shared an interesting article on students who set up their study support at scale in places like YouTube and Reddit. These platforms are part of The Study Web, “a constellation of digital spaces and online communities—across YouTube, TikTok, Reddit, Discord, and Twitter—largely built by students for students”.

The discussions from the meeting will inform the future SIG events. If you would like to keep up to date with the Learning At Scale SIG agenda, please email us to add your name to the new L@S mailing list.  

New Special Interest Group: Learning At Scale

openTEL are pleased to invite you to join our first Learning@Scale SIG in OpenTEL. In this first event, Anna will present her research about online volunteer translation. After her presentation, we will have a roundtable to discuss the agenda for our SIG in the future.

You are welcome to join any of the programs. Please email openTEL or ShiMin for an invite.

Programme (26 May 2021)
15.30 Introduction
15.40 Dr Anna Comas-Quinn presents Learning beyond the classroom: online volunteer translation (see info below)
16.30 Roundtable: What do we want for our SIG
17.00 End

Speaker Bio
Dr Anna Comas-Quinn is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, UK, where she has been teaching languages and translation for the last 20 years. She has led teaching and research projects, edited two volumes on open practice in language teaching, and published on open education, technology-enhanced language teaching and the integration of online volunteering in language and translation education.
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