Revamping Student Learning through student curation & co-design of learning modules

Forum on LSL Language Change:

Thursday, 1/5/17 @1:45 PM

We are sharing with you a student-generated project designed to achieve new literacies and competencies for 21st century learning.

The NFLC Brief (March 2016) has called for ubiquitous, personalized, and relevant learning. Language learning today should look nothing like its predecessors given:

  • Open educational resources (OER)
  • Technology integrations that allow mobility, immediacy, virtuality, and gamification
  • Greater recognition and validation of extra-curricular learning experiences (badging,internships, etc.)
  • Data-driven learning platforms and course adjustments
  • Mastery of content in the upper reaches of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Identifying Common Problems :: Seeking a Common Solution

In 2015, a VCU faculty group identified a major impediment in the articulation of language instruction to be the last semester of the two year language requirement (202):

  • Recalcitrant students drag their feet.
  • Average students rail they can do nothing in the language.
  • Proficient students are frustrated by linguistic forms far above their productive capacity.
  • All but astute, continuing students have a hard time seeing how language study has any relevance to their future, whether social or professional.
Our Mission

Faculty brainstormed how to connect 202 learning to engaging, useful, differentiated and scaffolded, future-aligned activities. Using the online media students frequent, we sought to connect it to course thematics and to focus learner attention through interactivity; in other words, we conceptualized a student-centered learning environment. It is intended to kindle or re-ignite interest in languages and cultural study through discovery learning. It strives to develop learner autonomy and to enable students handle authentic materials sur le vif. Student self-confidence in media navigation together with a contextualized framework support student encounters with the alterity of linguistic and cultural codes. This project affords students great latitude to build connections between the curriculum and their world, thereby making the language-learning experience 'real'.

First, we invite students in FRLG202 courses to join the project. We explain the benefits to them as language learners and how easy it is to participate.

We offer in class demonstrations with a set of online instructions, replete with video tutorials.

The second part of the Project: Creating Learning modules out of student curated materials

The second step of this project selects crowd-sourced (and faculty vetted) curations for scaffolded learning modules development.

The focal point of our project is student engagement: from the student curations to student research for OER support to student input on all steps of the module creation. For this first experiment, each language had one student researcher. The French student, however, had secured an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) fellowship that remunerated well for the entire summer. The other three students shared a Faculty Council Research Grant with their respective faculty members.

As a team, we decided what we wanted the learners to be able to do once they finished a module. The outcomes guided our search for appropriate tools, which we found in H5P, an add-on for WordPress.

Student researchers work with faculty to locate existing, supportive OER and to co-create short lessons for future classes.

Now that we have a template for production and with student research funding for this next summer, we expect to have 5-10 modules per language done by the end of summer 2017. Each year we'll have a new sizable corpus of curations from which to create a sustainable module creation 'machine'.

Our colleague, Yan Gao, offers this module that she and her student researcher created together.

Discussion Summer 2016 on module creation

In three years, we expect to have enough modules that students will have open access to a compendium of learning objects in F2F, flipped, hybrid/blended or completely online courses. The relevance and currency of these OER resources will be part of the sustainable, ongoing project.

For more information or comments, please contact: Lionel Mathieu ( or Kathryn Murphy-Judy (


Created with images by Horia Varlan - "Question mark made of puzzle pieces" • woodleywonderworks - "thank you note for every language"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.