14 November 2012 - 10:02 am

Discovering all about linguistics

Enterprising activity – and enterprise education – comes in all shapes and sizes, and one of USE’s aims is to bring enterprise education to ALL students in the University, partly by giving it a different ‘flavour’ within the curriculum, according to the degree subject the student is studying.

One of the things that makes the work of us ELDOs (myself, Ali and Maria) so satisfying is the sheer variety of the projects we get involved in as part of our support for academics across the University.

A screenshot of the All About Linguistics website homepage

The All About Linguistics homepage

One of the most exciting recent developments has been the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics’ All About Linguistics website, a comprehensive, standalone guide to all aspects of linguistics aimed at anyone outside the University who is interested in language and its study – especially A-Level students thinking of going on to study linguistics at university. The site was developed by first-year linguistics students at the University of Sheffield, supported by academic staff in the School of English, led by Gary Wood.

The students used Google Apps to build the site, which brings together the knowledge the students themselves developed through the study of a first-year module, Introduction to Linguistics.

The website has already had significant impact on its target users, and was picked out as the overall winner in the the Google / ALT “Apps in Learning and Teaching” competition – run jointly by Google and the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) – in September 2012.

The development of this website was enterprising in many ways.  The students had to ensure it met the many needs of its target audience (or ‘customer’); they had to consider the appearance and identity of the site as well as its content (there is now the possibility of extending the “All About…” brand to other subject areas).

The students used a relatively new technological platform (working with the constraints and opportunities this provided to them) to develop something new and innovative out of an initial idea, providing solutions to the challenges of raising awareness of, and interest in, linguistics amongst future university students, and promoting or ‘marketing’ it to them as a potential area of study, all while developing their own project management, communication and collaboration skills, and enhancing their own understanding of linguistics.

In the process of doing this work, they have effectively taken their learning of linguistics out of the classroom and into a new, external environment.  The achievements of Gary and the students are certainly something to celebrate and build upon in the future.

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  • About the author

    Anna Nibbs

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    Howdy! I'm Anna, an Enterprise Education Developer, HEA Fellow, member of the National Enterprise Education Award-winning USE Academy team, and the first point-of-contact for academics in the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Medicine, Dentistry & Health. I also teach on USE's "Making Ideas Happen" module. I'm passionate about learning and teaching, and empowering lecturers - and students - to be as enterprising as they can possibly be. Outside of work, I like to exercise, write, grow fruit and veg, drink tea and spend time with my children reading books, doing crafts and exploring. If you're an academic and you want to know more about embedding enterprise into your curriculum, visit our Enterprise Education website at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/enterprise-education