Thursday, January 25, 2018

blogging, moderating comments and comment spam

Image from "On blog commenting"
There's a lot of spam on on the internet: email, social media, bulletin boards, and other comments posted online.  blog comment spam. You haven't seen it here and you won't ever because I moderate all comments to make no spam gets on. The spammers keep trying though. Here I am hardly blogging anymore but still spending time moderating comments because if I did not send comments to the spam folder, there would be even more of them. That would be bad blog management and annoy readers. All spam ~ but it doesn't have anything to do with ESL or English, so why am I blogging about it?

Monday, July 04, 2016

Understanding IELTS - British Council

Image result for IELTSImprove your English and prepare for tests, such as IELTS reading, writing, speaking and listening, with this free online British Council course from @FutureLearn. Join now. Starts July 11, 2016

Find out more about this course in Chris Cavey’s post for the Future Learn blog:

IELTS: a global test for a global language.”

Sign up and more course information at Understanding IELTS - British Council

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Inside IELTS - Cambridge English Language Assessment

Learn about the skills you need for IELTS Academic and beyond, on this free online course from the experts who produce the test.


  • What skills are important for success in the IELTS Academic test?
  • How do IELTS examiners assess your level?
  • What do you need to do in order to improve your IELTS band score?
This five-week course will help you find answers to questions like these.
We have tried to use simple English in the course as much as possible, but we recommend your English is at least level B1 (around IELTS band 4.5 or higher) to take the course.
Read more at Inside IELTS - Cambridge English Language Assessment

Monday, June 06, 2016

#WhyWePost: the Anthropology of Social Media starts in one week

Have you tried enrolling in MOOCs to practice your English? Do you use social media? If so and you are either thinking about trying one or looking for your next MOOC, this might be for you. You can also follow #whywepost on Twitter or Facebook 

Welcome to our course, Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media. There's just a week to go now.

The course will draw on the expertise of our nine anthropologist educators who have conducted 15-month ethnographies in industrial and rural China, Trinidad, Northeast Brazil, Southeast Turkey, South India, South Italy, South England and North Chile. Over the five weeks we'll challenge your assumptions about social media, and encourage you to think critically about the impact of social media on areas of life such as relationships, business, politics, communication, education, and equality.
We'll be kicking off with an introduction to academic approaches to social media. In the first week we'll focus on our fieldsite in England, and look at how "Englishness" affects how people in an English village use social media. There will be provocative discussions and a short practical ethnographic exercise to get you thinking like an anthropologist.
In the meantime, you may find it helpful to take a look at the Why We Post website which includes one hundred films and many stories about our work and the different fieldsites. You can also follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Get a head start

You might also want to start thinking about how you will conduct your own practical ethnographic exercises. While you're waiting for the course to start, you can prepare by selecting a sample group of about 10-20 people from one of your social media accounts, whom you also know offline. Try to include a range of people e.g. male and female, young and old, but also any other distinction you find interesting, e.g. more or less years in education, types of employment, etc.
Create a 'field book' in which you list these people. This can just be a simple word document on your computer, or you can dedicate a small notebook for this practical work. Try to classify your sample of contacts into categories e.g. friends, family, work colleagues, classmates, and other distinctions you may want to consider for future analyses.
If you don't already have a social media account, such as on Facebook or Twitter, create one and start getting familiar with the kinds of content that people post.

Spread the word

There is still time to invite friends and colleagues to enrol on the course and take part alongside you. Having the support of people you know can really enrich the experience of studying online. As a reminder, the course page where they can enrol can be found here:
There will be plenty of opportunity to interact with other learners within the course, which we strongly encourage. In the meantime, you can use the hashtag #WhyWePost to find and contribute to any discussions on social networks.
If this is your first FutureLearn course, you might like to familiarise yourself with the site by visiting the How it Works page. You'll find more help on FutureLearn's FAQ pages.
Best wishes,
Daniel Miller
Professor of Anthropology
University College London
Need support? Try our FAQs
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

#NRC01PL A Personal Learning #MOOC

for your consideration. Stephen Downes explains in his post on Half an Hour 

This course should interest self-paced learners, ELL instructors, other educators and more advanced English learners. Stephen Downes' Personal Learning MOOC runs February 22-April 8 (7 weeks) and
...explores the topic of learning in three ways: first, through an examination of research and development issues related to the topic; second, through interaction with a personal learning environment (specifically: LPSS) to take the course; and third, through activities supporting the development of a personal learning environment at a conceptual level. 
Course objectives: participants will develop an appreciation of different models of online course delivery, ranging from the traditional LMS through connectivist MOOCs to potential future models of personal learning and performance support.
#NRC01PL Course Registration now open:

Monday, February 08, 2016

SOLE? It's like learning a new language

What is SOLE? It is a  Self-Organized Learning Environment, (SOLE) that can exist anywhere there is a computer, Internet connection, and willing learners.

SOLE is increasingly being used in many different settings, including some where it might not seem a natural fit, such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).   
Traditionally an area which relies on individual learning or teacher-led in a classroom.... Prof Sugata Mitra caused a bit of a stir when he gave a keynote speech about learning needing to be far more self-organised at an IATEFL conference. 
...[E]arly findings suggest that while SOLE is not suitable for teaching higher level grammar, it can be effective in terms of language fluency and confidence.... Further research is now being planned between SOLE Central and International House.
Read the rest of SOLE? It's like learning a new language at School in the Cloud
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