Thursday, July 24, 2014

English Vocabulary Class

This is a vocabulary project consisting of a unit design to teach English as a foreign language by means of a 2.0 web tool (a wiki). It is intended for first year´s tourism students from the University College of Caracas. This is was done after recognizing the needs and the resources available for the students through a needs analysis instrument. By incorporating this web tool, I expect to compensate the lacks existing at the institution in terms of books, language laboratory and even the excessive amount of students per teacher. This can make the interaction among learners and teachers more effective, making them realize of the tools available beyond the classroom, to motivate students but also call the attention of the institution in order to support and promote the use of technologies inside the English classrooms.

The main purpose is to help students improve their vocabulary and pronunciation by introducing information and communication technologies (ICT) in their syllabus. 

This is the first step to the introduction of these kinds of tools to ELT at the previously mentioned institution. This university offers a four-year Bachelor program in Tourism where English is mandatory in every year where they need a minimum grade of 12 to approve it. By the end of their studies students are expected to be able to communicate in English both in oral and written forms.

By using the Wiki students are expected to produce and practice vocabulary related to Tourism by using audio recordings of themselves, videos and PowerPoint presentations on the Wiki.

As said before the 2.0 web tool to be used is a wiki. This course wiki has 12 pages with links in the sidebar, learners can click on them anytime and the information will be displayed. The pages are: Welcome, the project, this is us, our course, our syllabus, evaluation, resources, week 1, week 4, week 7, week 10 and visitors page. In those pages learners will find a detailed description of the steps to follow in every activity. They will also find useful videos that will help them with pronunciation and to deal with some technical issues like how to do a power point presentation or how even to create a video with a cell phone. 

As a final reflection, although this is a lot of work, I really enjoyed doing this for my classes. I just hope my students value all the work, find it useful and contribute with their ideas to make it better.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Stands for "Virtual Learning Environment." A VLE is a virtual classroom that allows teachers and students to communicate with each other online in real-time using video or Web conferencing (, 2014). All which is related to the class such as information, materials, assignments and instructions are provided via the Web. VLEs are also known as Course Management Systems (CMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS), among other names. These are being used more and more to feed the rising demand of English courses online. They have proven to be effective but also a very dangerous weapon when their developers only care about profits and not about education of quality.
Students can log in to the class website to view this information and may also download assignments and required reading materials to their computers. Some VLEs even allow assignments and tests to be completed online. These sites offer many ways in which the teacher can communicate and interact with the students such as forums, bulletins, chats, etc.
By using these platforms teachers can assess, evaluate, follow the track of the students and collaborate with other teachers. One positive aspect of these is that they can be accessed off-campus, meaning that the learning process does not stop just because students are outside of the classroom.
These are becoming a more and more popular method of e-learning while for some a VLE cannot fully replace the traditional classroom; it can be a useful way of teaching students who reside in many different locations.
There are different types of platforms available for e-learning, such as:
• Off-the-shelf, such as Blackboard or WebCT
• Open source that are often free to use and adapt but support is charged for, one example is “Moodle”
• Bespoke: those developed by institutions for their own individual needs.
The most common ones are: Blackboard, WebCT (acquired by Blackboard in 2006), Moodle, and Universities’ own bespoke systems.
You can also check the next article for further reading:



Oxford University Press, 2013. Available at: