Online delivery isn’t the norm for English language teaching with onshore CQUEnglish language students usually studying 20 hours per week in a face-to-face environment. However, CQUEnglish has risen to the challenge of transitioning courses online after 3 weeks of intensive preparation.
Teaching staff have been upskilling for the digital environment by attending CQUEnglish Australia, Cambridge Assessment and NEAS workshops and short courses in the areas of online teaching, learning and assessment.
Staff have also been preparing existing and new students for the change with introductory ‘Getting to know Zoom’ sessions to help students of all levels of English proficiency gain practical skills and confidence in studying a second language in an online environment.
The first ELICOS group to go online were students from Papau ew Guinea and the Philippines studying the Certificate IV in Business on Rockhampton North campus.
As part of a collaboration between the School of Business and Law and CQUEnglish, these students were recently studying face-to-face on campus and most did not have access to a personal device.
Just over a week later, they are all successfully participating in online English classes delivered by CQUEnglish using laptops provided by the Library, after receiving Zoom training from the training staff.
Although the transition from classroom to online synchronous and asynchronous delivery has been a learning curve for all, feedback has been very positive. The students and their teachers are up to the challenge and learning new study and life skills along the way.
Student Danny Nos, like the others in his class, have some experience with computers, but very little experience with online training.
“I am new to experience the online classes, but it is interesting and exciting to me, when we see ourselves in the screen.”
He said when he wasn’t studying, he and other PNG students were living at the Residential College at CQUni’s Rockhampton North campus.
“Living at the res college is all good, but when it comes to dinnertime, we have to sit two meters away from each other and one long table will only seat three people.”
Danny hopes to return to PNG and become an ambassador for tertiary education.
“I want to go back to my country and implement the new ideas and skills to make things happen.”
Other English language units, which started on 14 April, include a General English 2 unit, helping pre-intermediate students develop their general language skills and English for Academic Purposes units (levels 1-3) preparing students for their future tertiary studies within the University.