The objective of the discipline is for the students to acquire skills in writing and speaking a correct, fluent, suitably varied and appropriate Spanish in relation to complex, academic topics; as well as to reflect on and analyse his/her own and others' language production. These skills are acquired through work on language proficiency with the involvement of relevant theoretical subjects.
The goal of the activity is to increase the students’ oral language proficiency in Spanish and provide the students with an opportunity to work with their creativity. The activity can be carried out flexibly so that the students who do not want to make a public submission to be seen and heard by their fellow students can choose to submit it to the lecturer alone.
I assign students an academic topic, either individually or in groups, on which they must make a video or an audio recording at home. The recording can be a maximum of 10 minutes and handed in either to me or to the whole team via Blackboard (NOTE: Brightspace is now used). The academic topics must either be relevant to the theoretical content of the teaching (eg a summary of a text) or deal with highly topical topics in a Spanish-speaking community. For example, we have been working on the appointment of the Argentine pope and the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
The students themselves choose which technological resources they want to use to study with. Some use their mobile phone, while others have chosen to use Vocaroo eller mailVU. I myself give feedback via audio file, so that the students themselves get a listening material to work with.
Example of an assignment text:
Here is an assignment text that was asked a few days after the new pope was appointed:
Preparar un material audiovisual (en grupo o individual) con el título "Un papa latinoamericano". Ustedes eligen el formato: programa especial de CNN, entrevista, debate, noticia en telediario, etc.
Here I received several fine documentaries with details about the new pope's biography as well as debate programs discussing what this pope will mean for Latin America.
The effect has been positive. I have received many fun and creative video and audio recordings, which have been devised as e.g. news programmes and similar. The students receive more speaking time and they expand their work with oral language proficiency outside of the lessons. Moreover, their listening and understanding skills are trained when they receive oral feedback from a lecturer who is a native speaker.
I have only used the activity with very mature and experienced Master's degree students. I am not sure that it would work quite as well with a new and large Bachelor class. It is important to be aware that some students can find this type of submission challenging because they are not used to recording or filming themselves. It is therefore a good idea to let them choose whether they will show the recording to the entire class or only to the lecturer. It may also help to work in groups rather than individually. The students quickly get accustomed to the working methods and my students have provided positive evaluations.
It is important to be aware that some good tools on the Internet start off as free editions, but that you end up having to pay to use them. That was the problem with "mailVU", which is otherwise a very fine tool.