Brno University of Technology – Institute of Foreign Languages Brno, Czech Republic
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This paper focuses on the possibilities of using ICT for self-study of foreign languages and as a support of direct teaching.
Following the development projects of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, teaching English at the Faculty of Business and Management has been connected with an electronic support in the form of blended learning within the university e-learning system. Teaching is supplemented by various types of activities employing interactive revision exercises and electronically submitted assignments. The paper summarizes the main advantages of the use of ICT elements in teaching Business English courses.
With respect to the results achieved, The Institute of Foreign Languages sent an application for a project called BUT English Campus which was approved and its implementation is planned for the years 2009–2012. It is supported by the European Social Fund within the Education for Competitiveness program and the state budget of the Czech Republic. Its aim is to create a large support for the study of English for students and employees. An e-learning support for the self-study of English enabling further development of the acquired language skills will be created within the BUTEC project. It will supply the possibility of self-evaluation and preparation for international City&Guilds examinations. The e-learning module will offer a tool for English language development and improvement. It will supplement English classes and serve employees for further language training and self-evaluation. The e-learning module will be incorporated in the BUT information system and include a testing part, grammar and vocabulary, all supported by numerous audio and video recordings. The module will contain a wide range of sample documents and downloadable materials. It will also offer suggestions for self-study and links to other resources.
The paper summarizes the experience with incorporating e-learning support into teaching and describes the objectives and plans of the running project aimed at creating compact e-learning environment for self-study and as a supplement of direct teaching.
Teaching English should reflect the demands for ongoing education and attempt to use all available means to reach the best results. It has become a common practice at the Brno University of Technology to use e-learning as part of the educational process. E-learning is an integral part of the information system therefore it has the advantage of being interconnected with the database of students which enables students to access it automatically after signing in for a concrete course in the study plan. Or, there also exists a possibility that an e-learning course can be made accessible for all students and employees of the Brno University of Technology, which will be the case of the BUTEC project (more information on it will be introduced further on). E-learning at the Brno University of Technology also employs Moodle which is user friendly and offers the possibility of creating interactive materials which can be processed directly in Moodle or materials produced outside Moodle – e.g. Hot Potatoes. Hot Potatoes provide teachers with the opportunity to prepare various types of exercises which are subsequently downloaded into Moodle. Moodle encompasses a wide range of activities: it enables teachers to put complementary or additional materials such as presentations or study texts or materials to be downloaded by students or various links which can serve the students for further practice and self-study.
Another positive feature of Moodle is that it allows submitting of assignments. Students submit assignments straight into the individual course in Moodle...