The Circle U. French Hub launched an online language course to support the integration of students coming from Ukraine

Language barriers are among the main obstacles in integrating international students into our universities. The arrival of Ukrainian students in our universities in times of crisis has brought new challenges that the Circle U. French Hub has chosen to meet by offering in record time French courses to beginners.

What is it about?

The French Hub in Circle U., which is a bottom-up initiative coordinated by the taskforce on blended learning (WP2) and the Circle U. Think and Do Tank (WP6), is an online community that exchanges and shares knowledge, practices and resources in French, on how to learn French and around francophone cultures within Circle U.

In April, the French Hub took the decision to join forces and develop a beginner-level French course to support the language learning of some students coming from Ukraine enrolled at Université catholique de Louvain and Université Paris Cité.

How does it work?

The French course project involves King's College London, Université catholique de Louvain and Université Paris Cité. The online learning module lasts six weeks. Each partner contributed by mutualizing existing and online learning material from their home university. The material is available on a Moodle Cloud platform that the Circle U. taskforce on Blended Learning specifically created for this project. In parallel to the online self-learning platform, students have two hours of weekly webinars with an intern to practice pronunciation and conversation in French. Two interns from the Master Sciences du Language. Linguistique apliqué à la didactique du FLE (français langue étragère) and Master Didactique des langues. Français langue étrangère, français langue seconde et interculturalité of Université Paris Cité are in charge of driving the webinars and correcting students' exercises.

Who is the target?

Students from Ukraine that the members of the French Hub could rapidly identify were targeted. Other refugee students who were already registered at Université catholique de Louvain or at Université Paris Cité were also accepted. The refugee students at UCLouvain can follow a physical 2h French course. Some of these students are also following this course.  At Université Paris Cité, the responsible for the student life at the university, in charge of the refugees’ process to be integrated at the university, provided several candidates for the course. This opportunity was communicated across several channels and reached refugees students already enrolled at the university, who also needed French courses.  In two weeks, 20 students from both universities were recruited.

What are the challenges?

The main challenge has been to develop the  course , set up the online and shared platform and recruit as many students as possible in a record time: one month. The next challenge will be the collaboration between students from different cultures and coming from different universities. Also, keeping motivation high and bringing the students to the end of the course. This course does not award credits.

What's next?

The French Hub will meet at the beginning of July to assess this initiative. The idea would be to launch another course in the second semester of 2022 or to open the beginners’ course to more students and staff by exploiting broader communication channels beyond the French Hub. The idea of opening courses in other languages is also on the table. This initiative can be a model and an inspiration for other micro-collaborations within our alliance.

Published June 26, 2022 2:45 PM - Last modified June 29, 2022 12:54 PM