The UCML Year Abroad Special Interest Group, comprised of over 50 UK Modern Languages Departments, has partnered with Futurelearn to offer a package of MOOCs to the 2020/21 Year Abroad cohort. These MOOCs focus on intercultural skills, and it is hoped that they can be used by Year Abroad students either to prepare themselves for their residence abroad, or to supplement any provision from their local institution/exchange partner.

These MOOCs are facilitated and free-of-charge for students. They will operate as ‘closed rooms’, meaning that only members of the UK year abroad cohort 2020/21 will have access to them. They are also certified, subject to students reaching certain completion thresholds within each course.

Students are free to enrol on as many of the MOOCs as they wish; there is no requirement that a student take all three. Each MOOC has a different start date, but enrolled students will have access to the materials until the end of June 2021.

Any queries about this project should be directed to UCML’s Project Coordinator, Dr James Illingworth.

Working with Translation: Theory and Practice, University of Cardiff

This MOOC will run as part of the UCML programme from November 16th-December 11th 2020.

Explore what it means to communicate in multiple languages. Translation is one of the most fundamental of human activities, allowing us to interact with one another within and across cultures.

Drawing on the research and expertise of specialists at Cardiff University and the University of Namibia, on this course, you will discover a wealth of practical tips and knowledge about the nature of translation in an increasingly multilingual world.

You will explore translation in a global context, and observe translation in healthcare and the justice system as well as in music, manga, video games and historical romances. You may even discover your own ‘inner translator’ in the process!

This course was recently voted one of the top 20 Humanities online courses ‘of all time’

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching, University of Southampton and the British Council

This MOOC will run as part of the UCML programme from January 25th-February 21st 2021.

Explore key concepts of teaching and learning languages, and how to apply them.

What is language? What is the best way to learn a language? How do we teach languages?

On this course, you’ll tackle these questions and more, as you build your   understanding of language. You’ll discover some of the latest ideas and techniques in the field of language teaching, including the importance of English as a global language, and new language learning technologies.

These skills will be extremely useful for anyone looking to teach English online.

You’ll also explore the difference between online and face-to-face learning, and consider the changing roles of teachers and learners.

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: Language and Culture, University of Leeds

Precise date TBC, but likely March 2021.

Examine the relationship between language, nationality and cultural identity

On this course you will analyse why language is a social construction and examine how it relates to cultural identity.

You will start by exploring what language is, how it relates to the way we think and how it is shaped by the culture it originates from. You’ll learn how language is used and explore cases of intercultural communication. You will examine the difficulties of translation and how politeness is expressed across cultures. Finally, you’ll learn about the controversial issue of language loss and examine the reasons that cause it and its implications for cultural identity.

Guide to Virtual Mobility

Dr Nicola Bermingham (Liverpool) and Dr James Illingworth (Leicester/De Montfort) have also produced a Guide to Virtual Mobility, aimed at students undertaking virtual mobility programmes during the Year Abroad 2020/21:

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