About the course
We envisage many possible types of online phonetics course, varying in level and purpose from absolute beginners to postgraduate research and CPD for professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists. The pilot course focused on English Phonetics and was aimed at all those, whether teachers or students, undergraduate or postgraduate, who wished to acquire or renew knowledge and skills related to English phonetics. There is a ready worldwide market for this type of course as shown by our annual Summer Course in English Phonetics.
The course was structured so that, by the end of the course, students were able to:
The course was modular with eight units, one every week, each consisting of a tutorial material, self assessment exercises and guidance for further independent study. There were assignments including transcription exercises throughout the course, and a formal assessment at the end.
A wide survey of printed and online resources was conducted, but at an early stage in development it was decided that no currently available textbook was entirely appropriate for the requirements of the course. Original material was written in the form of eight lectures, of which the text alone runs to 28,000 words. Lectures were provided on interactive course pages, with sound file links throughout (and as a backup, as printable pdf files).
Extract from a lecture :
Week 1: Introducing phonetic transcription I
Click here to try out some of these exercises.
Each batch of Exercises concludes with ear-training practice, which presents recorded material which must be transcribed. Alongside self-assessment and individual interaction with tutors, certain exercises were designed so as to encourage interactive discussions with fellow students
Example of a thread in Discussions :
Each unit included an assignment to be submitted for grading. This made use of the VLE's standard provisions for controlling and logging assignments, though alternative forms of submission had to be catered for, corresponding to the different computers and software in use among participants. A two-tier system of detailed feedback was evolved, in which general feedback relevant to all students was accompanied by individual explanations aimed at each participant. The general feedback was kept available as a resource within the assignments area of the course.