We analyse data provided on reflective questionnaires and gained from discourse on discussion forums. Most of our respondents (85.8%) think that listening and speaking skills can be learnt on an online course equally well as reading and writing skills. They find listening activities with listen and repeat exercises by far the most useful to achieve this.
As for foreign language anxiety, we could assume that on a massive online course students experience little anxiety as they don’t actually face “uncomfortable” synchronous speaking situations. This is not borne out in our study, the data clearly shows that speaking activities trigger much more anxiety than any other type of language activity. A bit less than half of our respondents do the recording activities, but it is only the 16.3% of them who actually upload it despite the fact that whenever they receive a feedback they find it ‘very useful’ or ‘fairly useful’. The main reason for not uploading their recordings is ‘feeling intimidated’. Students’ comments also reflect this anxiety. They often apologise for their pronunciation (e.g. “I think it will require more listening as I can roll my rr’s but I sound like a drunken lowlander singing…”), while they rarely do so because of their limited grammar or lack of vocabulary.
We finish the presentation by making recommendations on how we can facilitate speaking activities on an LMOOC and how to attenuate foreing language anxiety on these courses.
Bárcena, Elena, Timothy Read, Elena Martín-Monje & Mª Dolores Castrillo. (2014). “Analysing student participation in Foreign Language MOOCs: a case study”, In Ulrike Cress & Carlos Delagado Kloss (eds.) EMOOCs 2014 Proceedings of the European MOOC Stakeholder Summit 2014. 11–17.