Massive open online courses on environmental issues for teaching English to university students | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

Авторы: ,

Рубрика: 9. Педагогика высшей профессиональной школы

Опубликовано в

IX международная научная конференция «Педагогика: традиции и инновации» (Казань, январь 2018)

Дата публикации: 02.01.2018

Статья просмотрена: 46 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Massive open online courses on environmental issues for teaching English to university students [Текст] // Педагогика: традиции и инновации: материалы IX Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Казань, январь 2018 г.). — Казань: Бук, 2018. — С. 85-88. — URL (дата обращения: 19.06.2018).

The paper considers the didactic potential of massive open online courses in teaching English to university environmental students. Some issues of blended learning for language training of students of non-linguistic specialties are discussed. Methodical recommendations on the use of Massive Open Online Courses on environmental problems for teaching English to university students are given.

Key words: sustainable development, ecology, environmental issues, information technology, English, blended learning, massive open online course (MOOC).

The term «ecology» was introduced into the scientific lexicon by an outstanding German biologist and naturalist Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel in 1866. Now the scientific discipline ecology is no longer regarded as belonging only to general biology but is gradually turning into a doctrine about the ways of survival of human civilization, and is more and more acquiring the characteristics of a global outlook.

At the present stage of the development of society, more emphasis is put on the importance of issues related to environmental education and environmental literacy [1–3]. It is not without reason that there are more and more voices in favor of «the ecologization of education» [3]. Considering the knowledge of «great ecology» at all stages of the educational process is becoming an obligatory requirement [2]. In the process of mastering of all disciplines, certain issues related to the formation of ecological culture and ecological literacy of students should be taken into consideration.

These tasks should and can also be solved in the process of teaching foreign languages. In this paper, some issues related to teaching of English to students of non-linguistic universities are considered. The existing modern information technologies make it possible to search for and find various ways for the solution of the above-mentioned problems [4]. Steps are being taken to modernize the «Foreign Language» practice course using modern technologies [5, 6].

The authors of the present paper have certain experience in the use of modern information technologies for university students teaching [7–10]. The application of modern information technologies and the use of modern models of blended learning allows to achieve significant improvement in learning a foreign language [11–14]. It appears that the use of modern knowledge of ecology and sustainable development, important for the survival of the whole mankind, the teaching of English (the international language of communication) with the help of modern information technologies that unite the whole world, are becoming both an important task and a way of solving the current challenges facing the educational community.

Such an approach to teaching foreign languages is appropriate first of all in environmental students training. It can also be useful in training of future teachers who will carry on ecological culture to schools when teaching their subjects to schoolchildren.

The use of massive open online courses (MOOCs) for teaching foreign languages with the help of modern models of blended learning seems to be rather promising. It is the content that is of interest for it is freely distributed, modern, demonstrating the existing approaches to the topics and problems studied. Of interest are also different approaches to the design of lectures, quizzes, tests, assignments, and the structuring of massive open online courses in general. The use of such free resources undoubtedly provides certain advantages for lecturers and their students, as it opens the doors to great opportunities for searching for and selecting the material that is best suited for educational purposes. But using the materials of massive open online courses requires a critical evaluation of the topics covered, concepts and approaches to the issues addressed at MOOCs. It is also worth stressing the fact that the overwhelming majority of massive open online courses do not correspond to the Federal state educational standards. Massive open online courses in the authors' view should be considered as part of blended learning models of education. Some recommendations on the use of MOOCs are presented by the authors in their previous papers [10, 12–14].

The content of massive open online courses can be used to create modern teaching aids and textbooks that meet the Russian higher education standards. The English language textbook «Environmental management and water use» [15] was created with consideration of the current material on the problems of sustainability, sustainable development, water management, ecology and sustainable economy. Modern information and communication technologies in teaching foreign languages were also taken into account. The book contains educational material for development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Listening tasks include links to YouTube. The assignments prepared by the authors make it possible to use the YouTube video clips as electronic educational resources. Links to the Internet resources, provided they are carefully selected by teachers, can help solve the problem of organizing independent, self-paced work of students.

The textbook [15] is recommended for students of higher education institutions majoring in environmental management and water use. The textbook can be used not only by bachelor students and master students, but also by postgraduates receiving training in the field of environmental management and water use. The textbook simplifies the work of English teachers in building flexible educational trajectories, individual paths depending on the needs of their students. Approbation of this textbook proved its effectiveness.

Speaking about the advantages of using massive open online courses, it is necessary to emphasize that they should be used in the framework of blended learning. Training that is carried out only distantly is not enough to achieve positive results since the problem of identifying students of massive open online courses who do quizzes and other assignments online has not been solved yet. But the use of the material offered by MOOCs, sometimes partial, with careful selection, with the proper adaptation if necessary and in accordance with educational standards and training programs can be beneficial.

The Foreign Languages Department of the Russian State Agrarian University — the Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy has many years of experience in teaching English using materials on environmental topics which help form ecological culture and develop worldviews necessary for modern professionals in any field of knowledge. Within the framework of this approach, the necessary dictionaries were compiled and used in the educational process [16, 17].

In the Coursera portal catalog ( in the section «Physical science and engineering» there are numerous courses presented in English. The subjects of the courses are diverse: climate change on our planet, environmental protection, the energy future of mankind, the rational use of agricultural land, sustainable food production, social and environmental responsibility, problems of water resources use and many others.

The authors of this paper think that among these the following four MOOCs can be useful for teaching English to students majoring in environmental engineering. The main characteristics of these courses are presented in the table.

Table 1

Environmental issues MOOCs in English

Course Name, Average User Rating (out of 5)

University, Lecturer / Author of the Course

Course duration, Training Load

Forms of Knowledge Control

(Practice Quizzes, Final Quizzes, Exams)


Introduction to Sustainability,


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

Dr. Jonathan Tomkin

8 weeks,

8–10 hours/week

1–2 practice quizzes/week, 1 module quizz/week, final quiz


The Age of Sustainable Development,


Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs

14 weeks,

2 hours of lectures per module

1 quizz/week, final exam


Our Energy Future,


University of California, San Diego,

Dr. Stephen Mayfield, John Dove Isaacs

9 weeks

1 quizz/week, final exam


Our Earth’s Future,


American Museum of Natural History,

Debra Tillinger

5 weeks,

1–3 hours/week

1 quiz/week, no final exam

The courses presented in the table do not require preliminary knowledge for their study, their subject matter is the most general. They are open for study, that is, they are available for students after registration at any time convenient for them. It is recommended to begin teaching English using massive open online courses on environmental topics to first year students. It is necessary to teach students how to use massive open online courses. This should done under the guidance of the teacher, with a discussion «on the ground», that is, in class, and under the strict control of learning outcomes. It is possible to study separate parts of courses or specially selected by the teacher electronic educational resources borrowed from various МООCs. This work can become an important part of first year students training and it will prepare students for more intensive use of MOOCs in future.

Emerging information technologies change the educational environment, they form new global university communities, make higher education accessible to people who want to get it, they make lifelong learning possible, provide knowledge exchange and contribute to the creation of new knowledge, and create advanced educational tools [18–21].


  1. Экологическое образование для устойчивого развития: традиции и новации: коллективная монография / С. В. Алексеев и др. — Нижний Новгород: ФГБОУ ВПО Нижегородский государственный педагогический университет им. К. Минина, 2015. — 324 с.
  2. Степанов С. А. Экологическое образование для устойчивого развития как важное направление модернизации высшей школы России: дис....д-ра пед. наук / Российский университет дружбы народов. — М.: РУДН, 2011. — 496 с.
  3. Соломин В. П., Андреева Н. Д. Экологизация профессиональной подготовки студентов как насущная проблема высшего педагогического образования // Вестник Мининского университета. — 2015. — № 2 (10). — С. 21–25.
  4. Сысоев П. В. Информационные и коммуникационные технологии в лингвистическом образовании: Учебное пособие / П. В. Сысоев. — М.: Книжный дом «ЛИБРОКОМ», 2013. — 264 с.
  5. Борщева В. В., Чекун О. А. Модернизация практического курса «Иностранный язык» для студентов-бакалавров неязыковых факультетов средствами современных технологий // Современное языковое образование: инновации, проблемы, решения: Сборник научных трудов. — 2015. — Вып. 3. — С. 6–9.
  6. Борщёва В. В., Григорян Я. Г. Развитие учебной автономии студентов в процессе изучения иностранного языка в неязыковом вузе // Вестник Московского государственного гуманитарного университета им. М. А. Шолохова. Педагогика и психология. — 2014. — №. 1. — С. 43–48.
  7. Кашпарова В. С., Сорокин А. П., Синицын В. Ю. Информационные ресурсы сети Интернет для обучения английскому языку // Материалы 3 Всероссийской научно-практической конференции «Модернизация системы профессионального образования на основе регулируемого эволюционирования». — Челябинск, 2004. — С. 52–55.
  8. Кашпарова В. С., Сорокин А. П., Синицын В. Ю. Опыт использования видеоконференций в международной программе обучения экологов // Материалы XVIII Международной конференции «Применение новых технологий в образовании». — Троицк, 2007. — С. 151–152.
  9. Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Современные сервисы сети Интернет для обучения // Сборник научных трудов II Международной научно-практической конференции «Информатизация и глобализация социально-экономических процессов». — М., 2007. — С. 301–303.
  10. Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Дистанционный курс по грамматике английского языка // Материалы XXIII Международной конференции «Применение новых технологий в образовании». — Троицк, 2012. — C. 230–232.
  11. Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Смешанное обучение для повышения качества образования // Вестник Учебно-методического объединения по образованию в области природообустройства и водопользования: журнал. — М.: МГУП, 2013. — № 5. — С. 169–174.
  12. Борщева В. В., Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Использование массовых открытых онлайн курсов в обучении английскому языку студентов нелингвистических направлений подготовки // Педагогика и психология образования. — 2017. — № 1. — С. 45–53.
  13. Готовцева И. П., Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Массовые открытые онлайн курсы и современные методики преподавания языков [Электронный ресурс] // Язык и текст. — 2017. — Том 4. — № 3. — С. 79–86. — doi:10.17759/langt.2017040309
  14. Борщева В. В., Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Массовые открытые онлайн курсы в обучении английскому языку студентов математических и педагогических направлений подготовки // Математика и математическое образование: сборник трудов VIII Международной научной конференции «Математика. Образование. Культура» (к 240-летию со дня рождения К. Ф. Гаусса), 26–29 апреля 2017 года, Россия, г. Тольятти / под общ. ред. Р. А. Утеевой. — Тольятти: Изд-во ТГУ, 2017. — С. 136–139.
  15. Природообустройство и водопользование: Учебное пособие по английскому языку / О. В. Ершова, В. С. Кашпарова, Н. М. Логачёва, В. Ю. Синицын. — М.: ФГБОУ ВО РГАУ-МСХА им. К. А. Тимирязева, 2015. — 128 с.
  16. Зейлигер А. М., Кашпарова В. С. Англо-русский словарь по гидроинформатике. — М.: МГУП, 1997. — 95 с.
  17. Кашпарова В. С., Синицын В. Ю. Краткий англо-русский водохозяйственный словарь. — М.: ВНИИА, 2006. — 220 c.
  18. Андреев А. А. Российские открытые образовательные ресурсы и массовые открытые дистанционные курсы // Высшее образование в России. — 2014. — № 6. — С. 150–155.
  19. Бадарч Д., Токарева Н. Г., Цветкова М. С. МООК: реконструкция высшего образования // Высшее образование в России. — 2014. — № 10. — С. 135–146.
  20. Бугайчук К. Л. Массовые открытые дистанционные курсы: история, типология, перспективы // Высшее образование в России. — 2013. — № 3. — С. 148–155.
  21. Каракозов С. Д., Маняхина В. Г. Массовые открытые онлайн-курсы в зарубежном и российском образовании // Вестник Российского университета дружбы народов. Серия: Информатизация образования. — 2014. — № 3. — С. 24–30.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): Высшее образование, Россия, борщев, английский язык, онлайн курс, Международная конференция, Учебное пособие, Экологическое образование, устойчивое развитие, Российский университет дружбы народов.

Ключевые слова

MOOC, Blended Learning, ecology, sustainable development, environmental issues, information technology, English, massive open online course


Социальные комментарии Cackle
Задать вопрос