Innovative use of mobile technologies in EAP oral assessment: a pilot study from The Open University

Shrestha, Prithvi; Fayram, Joanna and Demouy, Valérie (2015). Innovative use of mobile technologies in EAP oral assessment: a pilot study from The Open University. In: Shrestha, Prithvi ed. Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes: Local innovations and global perspectives. Reading: Garnet Education, pp. 157–177.


In this chapter, we explore the use of mobile technologies in English for Academic Purposes (EAP), which is an emerging field both in language teaching and EAP. The value of mobile technologies in language learning and teaching is widely recognised. However, the extent of research on mobile technologies within EAP is extremely sparse. Particularly, opportunities for practising English academic speaking skills in open and distance learning (ODL) are often limited unlike in a face-to-face context. By the same token, assessing oral skills in ODL academic contexts is further complicated and demanding administratively and pedagogically. Addressing this gap, a pilot study was conducted with a group of English for Academic Purposes students at the Open UNiversity. A series of activities were designed and delivered through Talkback®, a voice response system powered by Learnosity ( ). Talkback® allowed students to use mobile phones including smartphones, landlines, Skype or OU Voice (iTunes app) for practice and doing assignments. These students' experience of using this system was investigated through weekly online survey questionnaires and telephone interviews. The chapter reports on the results from the study. We conclude the chapter by presenting a number of pedagogical implications of the use of Talkback® for EAP oral assessment and speaking practice in the light of the results which may be applicable to other EAP contexts.

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