Linguists launch on iTunes U
English Language and Linguistics students are taking part in an innovative public engagement initiative, by sharing their specialist knowledge on a multimedia platform.
As part of their third year ‘Special Subject’ module, the students are producing an introductory ‘All About Syntax’ course, which will be published on the University’s new iTunes U presence. The iTunes U course will teach viewers about the structure of language and demonstrate how syntax can be applied in other areas of linguistics.
The students, overseen by course convenor, Gary Wood, Associate University Teacher in the School of English, and iTunes U Manager, Graham McElearney, are producing a series of video, audio, screencast and e-book materials targeted at GCSE and A-level students. Graham said: “The University recently launched ‘Sheffield on iTunes U’ – its new digital presence on Apple’s online iTunes store. It’s a really exciting public engagement opportunity which involves sharing the University’s excellence in learning, teaching and research by providing freely-available, educational audio-visual materials. It’s also a really powerful way to showcase the achievements of our fantastic students to a potentially global audience.”
Students are collaborating with departments across the University and working closely with outreach schools and colleges throughout Sheffield to develop the course. They have also received specialist lectures in marketing and branding, teaching and learning theories, multimedia production and project management. Student, Richard Spencer, said: “Multimedia methods of assessment, like this, benefit students as they encourage active and exciting engagement with topics. In becoming producers of academic content, you have to have a firm grasp of the topics and find innovative ways of teaching complex information in a manner that is easy to digest.” Emma Traxon added: “I love the fact we are making something real that others will benefit from as well as developing skills we can apply in a range of different jobs.”