Tell us a bit about your institution.
The Universidad Latinoamericana has been dedicated to providing Mexican adolescents and young adults with a professional, first level education for over 36 years. It began its activities on February 4, 1976 at Campus Valle in Mexico City. In August 2008, the ULA joined Apollo Global, a subsidiary of the international group Apollo Group, which counts, among its members, prestigious colleges such as the London BBP Professional Education, the University of Phoenix and the Insight Schools and Meritus University in Canada, among others. Since joining Apollo, the ULA has evolved into a leading institution. It currently has four campuses and a wide offer of academic programmes.
Tell us a bit about you.
I’m Maria Elena González García. I have a MA in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language and I joined the ULA in July 2010. Making use of my experience and expertise, I soon realized that the English Programmes at ULA needed to be updated in order to comply with our Mission Statement and to equip our students with the right tools to perform in a global world. With that in mind, we started looking at the latest trends in ELT to put together a competitive, efficient programme. We were excited to find that online education has brought light into ELT methodologies: we found that according to online learning research reports, students involved in online learning outperfom their peers. According to a 2009 study from the U.S Department of Education: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. Students who mix online learning with traditional coursework (i.e. blended learning) do even better.”*
I soon realized that the English Programmes at ULA needed to be updated in order to equip our students with the right tools to perform in a global world.
I was attracted to the idea of blended learning and started looking for different resources and in my quest, I was very lucky to find Macmillan English Campus, an extremely valuable resource for the learning of English as a foreign language. Not only has the English Campus provided us with the great advantage of accompanying our students in their journey to become autonomous, it also offered us a flexible time management programme, with the ultimate goal for students to become ‘independent users of the language (B1+)’, and internationally competitive.
How long have you been using Macmillan English Campus, and how do you use it?
The English Campus was incorporated into ULA’s Academic English Programme – English Pass –Tu pase al mundo internacional del trabajo – in August 2011. A 6-level programme was designed and created inside the Campus by the Associate Dean of Languages, together with a team of assessors. Level 6 is dedicated to the consolidation of the language and to TOEIC preparation. The programme reaches a B1+ level and students obtain the TOEIC certification. The programme has a blended learning modality and I’m proud to say that it is the first language programme of this kind at ULA. It is supported by a textbook, used in ground lessons and evaluated through competences. We’ve also created our own language exams for all levels inside the English Campus.
How has Macmillan English Campus helped your institution, your teachers and your students?
The English Campus has had a crucial impact on ULA’s educational model as it put our institution at the top of innovating education. It’s offered our teachers the opportunity to follow the latest trends in education as well as to develop themselves both as professionals and as continuous English learners. With regards to our students, the Campus has provided them with the key to acquiring knowledge and practice in the process of learning English as a foreign language.
The English Campus has had a crucial impact on ULA’s educational model as it put our institution at the top of innovating education.
The majority of our students have shown enthusiasm and great interest for e-learning and enjoy having so many Campus resources and exposure to English at their fingertips, for example through the dictionary, the news items, the videos, the games, and the listening and pronunciation exercises.
What’s your favourite thing about Macmillan English Campus?
Hard question to answer as there are a lot of things I like about the English Campus, but the one that is most appreciated is its flexibility and friendly structure. It’s just like having a magic wand that lets you discover an English world full of colour, variety and opportunity. As a student, I love the idea of having my favourite /most useful activities bookmarked as well as the adventure of immersing myself in an interesting reading realm, as I can learn about many global topics and develop my reading skills at the same time. As a teacher, I enjoy being able to take the role of a facilitator, provider and on-line tutor, since it makes me a more versatile character. A facilitator, because I’m able to be there for them when needed; a provider, because I can provide my students with supplementary materials and see to their individual, linguistic needs; and as an on-line tutor, because I can guide them and exchange relevant information on the use of the language. As an administrator, my favourite thing about the Campus is being able to follow up on the performance and progress of students and teachers alike. Last but not least, as a course creator, the Campus has opened many doors to a great number of valuable activities, that let us cater for different levels and language sequences.
I sincerely congratulate the Macmillan English Campus team for having had the vision to contribute to the world of education by developing such an amazing source of learning opportunities.
*Source: Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, United States Department of Education.