What you will study
The course is divided into 5 units, which explore the role of languages and cultures in situations of crisis.
Unit 1 provides an introduction to the course. You’ll start by looking at people’s personal stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, from a linguist unpicking the evolving new language to the poignant experiences of teenagers at the forefront of the first European wave in Italy. These stories, and others, illustrate key concepts such as crisis, culture, culture shock and intercultural encounters.
Unit 2 focuses on the role of humour and language in the COVID-19 pandemic internationally. You’ll look at a range of examples in different languages, including English, German, Spanish, Korean and French, that illustrate how neologisms are created. In this unit, you’ll also look at the symbolic meanings of relevant objects and the effect that these symbolic meanings can have in public health messages in times of crises. The study of language use in public discourse continues with an analysis of the metaphor of war. Finally, the specific needs of multilingual societies are considered in the dissemination of public health information in times of crises.
Unit 3 explores how people use art to translate, document, transform, and make sense of crises. It includes explanations of key theories and perspectives of art, and also looks at art on digital platforms.
Unit 4 covers methods to gather, evaluate, read and share reliable information in times of crisis. You’ll undertake practical exercises to put these methods to the test, for example, through the use of Voyant Tools. A special focus is given to the role of social media platforms.
Unit 5 focuses on the situation of people adversely affected by structural inequalities in times of crisis. The unit starts by evaluating the overreliance on data gathering in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can prevent some ‘invisible’ communities from being looked after. You’ll then explore the experiences of those who find themselves more severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises due to their race, gender, socioeconomic background, or disability using case studies from Brazil and the UK.
Please note that although this course is non-accredited, it can be used towards the module Making your learning count (YXM130) to gain OU credits.
You will learn
By the end of this course, you will:
- understand the complexity of concepts of culture and language change and use and their potential impact on how people manage and respond in crisis situations
- understand systemic inequalities and how they affect communities and individuals in global crises
- be able to interpret, evaluate and negotiate perspectives and practices of your own and others’ cultures in times of crisis
- be able to gather, evaluate, read and share reliable information
- be able to identify characteristics of private and public discourse in times of crisis
- be able to use digital tools and platforms to engage with artistic responses to global crises
- be able to use Voyant Tools to evaluate reliable information in crises.
The course is taught entirely online, with the aid of a learning adviser to offer support where needed. You will have access to online forums that you are strongly encouraged to participate in, as they are an excellent source of support and information. These forums combine peer support with input from the specialist learning adviser(s). Other support is available via the StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.
If you have a disability
The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.
The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying LG005 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.