Student Life: An internship with eLanguages

We want to say a big thank you to Marcy Nguyen, who is currently studying for an MSc in Education, and recently completed a 4-month internship with eLanguages here in Modern Languages and Linguistics. Marcy has written the following blog about her experiences with us:

I received an email regarding internship opportunities from the Employability Lead of the Southampton Education School back in December. It included the opening position of eLanguages Project Assistant. With my background as an English teacher, some experience in graphic design and social media management, I found myself totally intrigued, suitable and immediately applying. Some time after the interview, I was offered the position.

As an international student relying on predominantly academic, non-colloquial language and lacking knowledge about British office culture, I didn’t expect to be able to integrate myself into the team. However, everyone was welcoming, fun and chatty and I learned a lot about the working culture in the UK through my observation. This was definitely an enriching intercultural experience for me. I hope every international student will learn from my experience that we can and should step outside of our cultural comfort zone and learn about the world.

Managing the Twitter accounts was my first task at the job. Although what I do on Twitter mostly involved following and interacting with others, tweeting about updates and online resources, I stumbled upon many hidden gems: innovative ed-tech products and services, people dedicated to education and lifelong learning and so much more. Because of this, I decided to create a Twitter account solely to connect with passionate people and discover innovations in educational technology. In a way, I am grateful for this portion of the work, even though it may have seemed a monotonous daily task at first.

I spent quite some time designing posters, postcards, headers and bookmarks as eLanguages and Prepare for Success needed a refreshed look. My goal was to create welcoming, attractive and friendly visual images for them. Dedicatedly designing the EAP Toolkit posters, and then having them put up around the campuses helped increase the publicity of the Toolkit and had an emotionally rewarding feel as well. New headers for the social media sites also created a more welcoming vibe and a sense of identity for Prepare for Success and eLanguages.

Four months of running the Twitter accounts, updating weblinks, web designs, student emails, designing posters, editing a video and modifying the Toolkits were very educational. I have learned so much more about virtual learning environments and educational technology. The internship also afforded me the opportunity to experience a British working culture, further my journey in educational discoveries and learn about the essential work behind developing and maintaining an online course and its syllabus.

Overall, the experience has been emotionally and mentally fulfilling. I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone in eLanguages and Modern Languages and Linguistics for this unforgettable part of my journey. All the best!

Thank you Marcy and best wishes for the future!

Open Day this Saturday 13th October

Open day sceneThere’s still time to book your place on our open day this Saturday! There will be a number of Modern Languages and Linguistics events through the day, and plenty of opportunities to explore Avenue Campus and Highfield Campus, which are just a 10-minute walk apart.

You can get the full programme for the day and follow us on Twitter to find out more!

Welcome Freshers!

Welcome to all of our freshers who will be starting degrees here in Modern Languages and Linguistics this week. We hope you will have a fantastic experience!

You can find out more on the Undergraduate welcome pages and the Postgraduate welcome pages, as well as the University’s welcome website.

Student Life: An internship with the MA in ELT: Online

Back in June, I gladly waved goodbye to Avenue campus, having spent the last few months hunkered down in its corridors hunched over my laptop, exasperated in my efforts not to write 8,000 words of waffle in lieu of a dissertation. Yet, I found myself not a month later returning to campus to start a 3-month internship with the online MA programme in English Language Teaching.

For many students of English and French progressing into teaching is the natural next step, nourished by working abroad with the British Council in their third year or taking part in language outreach programmes with local schools. However, as someone who had decidedly avoided anything to do with linguistics or teaching for fear of classrooms full of screaming, snotty-nosed children (not that many of my classes at university were much different), I was surprised to find myself quickly hooked by the programme and the work at hand.Online MA in ELT ident

I think it is fair to say that the position was somewhat undersold, with the task at hand advertised chiefly as content migration. Previously hosted on Moodle, myself and another intern were responsible for transporting the course to Blackboard. Thankfully, this turned out to be a smaller portion of the work than I’d imagined and the summer was not spent mindlessly clicking copy and paste.

The move to Blackboard presented the opportunity to refresh the course a bit, and our goal was to create a welcoming environment and try to create a sense of community and identity for the course through its online learning environment. Students and tutors of the course are based across the globe, therefore it was important to create a (virtual) space that linked them to each other and made them feel connected to the university itself too. To this end, we’ve spent time a lot of time editing videos and graphics for the course, creating personal and study support materials for the students, and exploring and testing various sites and computer programs for educational interaction.

The internship also afforded the opportunity to reflect on my own language learning at university. Skimming through the course checking for broken links and other glitches I had numerous lightbulb moments where the theories and concepts explored in the course content shed light on my experiences in French classes over the last 4 years.

Overall, the experience has been engaging and massively educational. I’ve learned a lot about virtual learning environments, teaching and education, and language acquisition, which has ignited a keen interest in an area I had previously overlooked.