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 Ling 131: Language & Style
 
  Ling 131 - Welcome and Introduction > Comments
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Who Language and Style is for & how it came into being
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Feedback on Language and Style from ‘Literary Linguistics’ Students, UCE.
November 2005

I have found my experiences of the Lancaster website to be extremely positive as everything is so well organised and explained. Everything is in small bite-size chunks so you don’t have to read through large and sometimes difficult chunks of text. I like the way that there are a lot of exercise to explain what has already been discussed, i think this is really helpful as it enables students to gain a better understanding of what they have read as sometimes reading something is just not enough! Also when you have answered a question you can check what his answer was which i think is an excellent idea because you can see where you went wrong/right.

I think the layout is really good, its all so well organised for each week. It’s really useful for anyone who hasn't quite grasped something and needs it reiterating or for anyone who has missed a session. The exercises are well explained and helpful and the use of diagrams and exercises make it a bit more exciting!
Generally really friendly and coherent! Like the colours too and how it is colour coded for different weeks!

 


As you know, I accessed the Lancaster site originally from the Poetics website before our first session of LL. At that point I didn't know you were going to be promoting it or inserting the appropriate links into your programme on Moodle. I was overjoyed - I'd found a jewel and had already told a couple of colleagues about it!

I liked it firstly because it was written in English and made sense which was more than the books I'd looked at had done. I've found since that you are a wonderful interpreter and the books make sense after the sessions with you, so the Lancaster site took your role really - conversational and pitched at the right level. I suppose that makes it a virtual lecturer! (It didn't provide chocolates at the first session though!)

I liked the treasure trail set-up although I got a bit lost a few times. However, because you've been putting the appropriate links in - that helps.

I've had a go at some of the self assessment exercises but I tend to get a bit irritated because I don't always know what to do - I'm not a techno, more of a dinosaur. For example, when I got a cross signifying that I'd got one of the dragged answers wrong I didn't know what to do, move on or was I to have another go. However, on this point, because I am a dinosaur and like paper in my hand rather than a virtual experience, I like the easy and abundant access to printable material and the further links and reading suggestions. I will persevere with these exercises though because I have discovered in your sessions that the practical exercises, although stretching do have a big impact on the learning experience and the interactive parts of the website are more satisfying than exercises in a book. Even dinosaurs can go technic - eventually!

I think I will use the site more and more because we have covered quite a few topics now and so I would like to retrace my steps and I will probably get more out of it.

I have to repeat my earlier point about where the information is pitched - it really does make the subject "do-able" and this goes back to the first time I read the background information on Stylistics. At that point I moved from "what have I done" to "oh, that's what it means" and for me - that's success. The material explains the little things as well - the little links on which everything else hangs - and it doesn't assume a level of knowledge. That can be a problem because you don't know what you don't know and so in these cases it's very difficult to plug the gaps you don't know are there.

I have found the material you have provided on Moodle, together with the Lancaster site very good. I like to get on with things on my own and this enables me to do it. My only regret is that I would have liked to have moved slower than the course allows, I feel as though I haven't got all there is out of if because time is always so pressurised. Again though, the site will allow me to go back and refresh.

 


What I really liked about it was the summary section at the end, which I found useful to recap the ideas that had been discussed and just reinforce the different types of speech and thought.

The activities and the gradual extension of difficulty level with commentary is also excellent to gain practice in using and applying the different types of speech and thought.

I found some of the terminology a little confusing, since it varied slightly from your information, but I think for someone on the course this wouldn't be an issue since they would be used to the terms.

I can't really think of how it could be improved. It was just interesting to gain another perspective on the issue and I think it did help me to understand the session more.

 


I logged onto to the Lancaster website the other day, and i was so impressed by everything that i spent ages recapping on things we discussed in our lessons such as how speech is represented. I understood everything perfectly and it all made sense. It was clear and simply put, very easy to comphrehend and understand.
I particulary liked the macromedia flash diagram where you can press play, and see how the speech is represented. I thought that was really effective and it stimulated my interest, because you can see how it works on screen.
I also like the activities that you can do, by dragging the answers onto a grid and then checking to see whether you have got it right or wrong.
I think the presentation is very good. Everything is clearly set out and put very simply. It isnt complicated. 10/10.


The layout of the website was clear and straightforward to follow as the topics were clearly headed. the website is appealing as it does not just answer the questions/or explain the topic in one big written format but it is broken down into short paragraphs and tables which the reader can interact with. I thought this was very effective and made it enjoyable to read/learn.

 


I agree with Sonia that the website was very well organised and well explained. All the information was placed into sub-catagories and because of this, I found it easy to find my way around the website. I particularly liked the diagram where you could click on play and it is all explained below. This helps students to understand that particular topic as it is all broken down and clearly presented. I also liked the fact that there is tasks to do on there and it gives you their point of view after you have done it. This also helps the student further their knowledge, and as Sonia said above, allows you to see where you went wrong or right.
A suggestion to modify it, may be just to add abit more information explainings topics, and perhaps adding more topics onto the website.
There wasnt really anything i didnt like about the website as it is colourful, informative and easy to use, so what more would you need!?!

 


Personally, I think the layout of the topic session is the first striking feature. This is effective because of its obvious ease of use with understandable instructions; clear and distinctive topics located at the left-hand margin, which focus on what areas are being discussed, and colourful yet meaningful diagrams to explain the way discourse operates.

Through these diagrams, one can envisage being in the given situation, so it is a more clear and manageable way of understanding it in the mind. Not only that, but also the site provides you with the opportunity to analyse the information given, in order for you to include your own input on the matter. Therefore, I think it is a positive move to include feedback on the topics mentioned, because it enables you to draw conclusions in the ideas you have submitted in the self-assessment compared with their ideas.

This site is certainly user-friendly, as it is clear, readable, succinct and to the point. The idea of expressing it in different stages is useful, because you can break things down into different themes to make it more comprehendible. The conclusion summarises the findings and the main points that have been discussed including re-iterating the themes that have been covered. Overall, it is difficult to find flaws or make suggestions of how it is to be improved, because it is so effective. I would most definitely attribute this site to my learning about discourse as it would help me distinguish discourse in a more in-depth manner to see how it operates.

 


1) What did you like/ dislike and find helpful/ unhelpful about the language and style material provided?
- The general organisation is really good because you can click to have information on the topic which is interesting for you and you’re not confused by too much information in the same time.
- You can be provided with the main information or find specified ones thanks to the links provided. There is also an access to a very detailed list of books related to the topic.
- You can find some questions to make an application of what you’ve read and you need to click to find the answer so you’re not tempted to read them!
- The drawings and schemes are really helpful since they provide a clear an immediately understanding of what is said.
2) Did you any self assessment?
Yes, it’s very interesting and not boring at all because the way you’ve to answer the questions (for example the activity in “some different ways of presenting speech”) is like a kind of concrete application and a game in the meantime.
3) How would you modify or change the material?
Of course nothing is perfect but I cannot point out what need to be modified: everything is clear and summarise under a lot of helpful headlines but if you need further information you only need a click to reach the link or book which contains.

 


As promised just a couple of points about the course.

I really liked the smooth, gradually progress through the Tasks, which build on each other. I found the links useful, especially having the Speech Presentation descriptions available for the assessment. The self-assessment was also good as it enabled me to know whether I had completely understood. Unfortunately, there must have been a gremlin in one of the assessments at the time I did it, as it kept telling me I had a couple of answers wrong despite the fact that they all agreed with the given answers!

One thing I found difficult was that, in some cases, it went into more depth than you took us, so I began to get confused, but that is probably just because I'm looking at it from a different angle.

 


The pages are very well structured and reader friendly. What I liked very much was the fact that the "Linguistics stuff" is explained in a very simple and comprehensible way (although I am not a native speaker I could rather easily follow each steps). Giving the conclusions and explanations to the exercises (good, interesting texts (novels, newspaper articles,...)!!!) helped to better understand what the topic is about.
I especially liked the task about the gulf-war article (Ideological viewpoint) which analysed the use of (e.g.) euphemism to (subconsciously) express a specific viewpoint.
All in all I think this is a much easier and more understandable way to learn about discourse structure and point of view than reading the rather complicated books about it!

 


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