Research Collaboration

International Research Collaboration between Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Coventry University

Workshop_on_Corpus_Development_



Project title : A study of lecturing style in Malaysia and the UK.
Sponsor : PMI 2 Connect Research Cooperation, British Council (RC 90)
Duration : March 2008-May 2010





Overview
 Objective
 Team Members
 Activities
Papers
Holdings

Although English was used in selected Malaysian schools prior to 1982, Malay has been the sole medium of instruction for all subjects at all levels for most of the past 25 years. English-medium instruction was only officially re-introduced at university level in Malaysia in 2005/2006, following the 2002/2003 government decision to teach science and mathematics in English in primary and secondary schools. [The decision has since changed in mid-2009; Malay will be reinstated as the medium of instruction for   mathematics and science subjects in primary and secondary schools starting from 2012.  English, however, will remain as the medium of instruction for mathematics and science subjects for students in the sixth forms and university matriculation programmes.

Reinstating English has been challenging for both university lecturers and their students who have received most of their education in Malay. Lecturers are often insufficiently trained to deliver lectures in English, while students find it difficult to follow lecture content. Nonetheless, a 2006/2007 survey at UTM found that 90% of lecturers now teach in English, though a large majority of them admit to using Malay to check understanding. English is also used in tutorial sessions, examinations, and in the e-learning environment, but lecturers complain particularly about poor lecture comprehension, and the reduction in class interactivity since English replaced Malay. Language support is clearly needed, both for lecturers and for students.  English-medium teaching is particularly important at UTM because the university aspires to attract more international students. Currently 60% of the non-Malaysian students at UTM are studying science and engineering.

The Coventry-UTM collaborative project aims to create a small pilot corpus of academic lectures, modelled on the British Academic Spoken English (BASE) corpus. This will inform the design of instructional materials for engineering lecturers and students at UTM, serve as a resource for the new degree programmes at both universities, and provide opportunities for genre and discourse analysis. The project will offer a supportive environment for young researchers, leading to joint publications and an increased research profile for both departments.  The collaboration also offers the prospect of joint PhD supervision, dual degree awards, student exchange and UTM teaching assistantships for Coventry English graduates.

This  PMI 2 funded project is contributing to the Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC). The Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC) is a growing collection of transcripts of English-medium engineering lectures from around the world, such as from AUT New Zealand.

Following the progress made in this project, the UTM team has been awarded the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) from the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education for another two years to further develop a bigger corpus, under the project entitled "Formulating a typology of spoken academic discourse for science and engineering in Malaysian Institutes of Higher Learning."

To investigate the use of English in engineering lectures, in order to:

  1. Identify and describe typical lecture discourse feature                                                                                                
  2. Compare English-medium lecturing styles in Malaysia and the UK
  3. Explore the current role of English-medium instruction in Malaysian HE

To develop a small pilot corpus of spoken academic discourse, in order to:

  1. Develop staff skills in corpus linguistics and corpus compilation
  2. Create a resource for use in staff development, lecturer training and EAP instruction

Date

Activity

April 2008

Hilary Nesi visited UTM and gave a plenary paper entitled "Corpora in EAP" at the 6th Languages for Specific Purposes Seminar organized by the Dept of Modern Languages, UTM.

May 2008

Sandra Harrison visited UTM.  She presented a talk on "Apologies in email discussion" at Modern Language Department Colloquium Series. Sandra also sat with the UTM team and discussed possible common fields of engineering lectures and topics to be videotaped.

July 2008

Sarimah Shamsudin visited Coventry. She practiced transcribing pilot lecture using Transana software and attended a session on the use of Oxygen to tag transcripts.

August 2008

Anna Buick visited UTM.  Anna gave a talk entitled "The shape of English Language learning materials for student engineers."

November 2008

Masputeriah Hamzah visited Coventry. Filming and transcribing protocols were confirmed.

January 2009

Nick Endacott visited UTM. Nick gave a paper at the department colloquium  on "Managing intertextuality in undergraduate academic lectures";  two research talk to UTM TESL postgraduate students on "Issue in transcribing lecture discourse" and "Working with spoken corpora", and a talk on "Using the data: developing and exploiting a corpus of student message-board chat " to staff of UTM's Center of Teaching and Learning (CTL).

April 2009

Nick Endacott visited UTM and discussed progress of ELC. Nick discussed with department staff the setting up of joint MA programme between Coventry and UTM. He also presented a paper at RELC Singapore.

May 2009

Noor Mala Ibrahim began her study visit at Coventry  as part of her Ph.D degree programme. She presented a poster presentation entitled "The structure of engineering lecture discourse: the case of Malaysian classrooms" at Aston Postgraduate Summer Conference on Corpus Linguistics in Aston University, Birmingham.

May 2009

Ummul Khair Ahmad visited Coventry.  While in the UK, she attended the 5th International Conference of Corpus Linguistics held at University of Liverpool, and participated in the Aston Corpus Summer School at Aston University, Birmingham (27-31 July 2009). She and Nick Endacott presented a paper on "Response to and effect of humor in Engineering Lectures in Malaysian and UK Higher Education Contexts" at Laughter and Humour Interaction Conference, University of Huddersfield, June 24-25 2009. She continued the discussion of the proposed joint UTM-Coventry MA programme.

October  2009

Hanita Hassan visited Coventry. The joint UTM-Coventry MA programme took clearer shape.

November 2009

Abdul Halim Abdul Raof and Masdinah Alauyah visited Coventry. They attended meetings to discuss the joint UTM-Coventry MA programme and talked to Coventry students about ESL career possibilities in UTM.

January 2010

Hilary Nesi visited UTM. She gave a workshop on using Wordsmith Tools and gave a document colloquium   to staff and postgraduate students of TESL.

February 2010

Ummul Khair Ahmad visited Coventry. She attended meetings to discuss the joint MA proposal, and worked on a poster presentation with Hilary. She also began working on the corpus workshop to be held in May 2010.

March 2010

Abdul Halim Abdul Raof visited Coventry

April 2010

Sarimah Shamsudin and Masdinah Alauyah Mohd Yusof visited Coventry. They worked on standardizing the UTM-Coventry ELC transcription protocols and worked on the guidelines for tagging.

12-13 May 2010

Hilary Nesi visits UTM and participates in the Workshop on Corpus Development in Malaysia.

May 2010

Sandra Harrison will visit UTM.


CONFERENCE PAPERS PRESENTED IN 2009

  • SARIMAH SHAMSUDIN. Using Technology in Materials Design to develop non-native English Speakers' speaking skills. RELC Seminar, The Impact of Technology on Language Learning and Teaching: What, How and Why. Singapore. 20-23 April 2009

    Abstract

    Using Technology in Materials Design to develop non-native English Speakers' speaking skills

    There are four types of corpus currently available to EAP practitioners, namely, corpora of "expert" writing, learner corpora, corpora of university student writing and spoken academic corpora (Nesi, 2008). Spoken academic corpora that focuses on engineering lectures is currently being developed at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Coventry University as part of the project "A study of lecturing styles in Malaysia and the UK" funded by the British Council (a PMI 2 Connect Research Co-operation Award).  One of the aims of the project is to investigate the use of English in engineering lectures in order to identify and describe typical lecture discourse features. The use of technology is vital in facilitating the process of analysing language features in English lectures. This paper presentation therefore intends to look into how technology can be used to discover the language that is used to delivery Engineering lectures in English and design materials to develop non-native speakers' speaking skills in delivering Engineering lectures in English
  • NOOR MALA IBRAHIM and UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD. The structure of engineering lecture discourse: the case of Malaysian classrooms. Poster Presentation, Aston Summer Conference on Corpus Linguistics. Aston University, Birmingham, UK.  18 May 2009.

    Abstract

    The structure of engineering lecture discourse: the case of Malaysian classrooms

    A number of studies have investigated the ways in which academic lectures are structurally organized, either through examination of the overall structure of lectures or a particular segment of lectures. Young (1994) in her study on macrostructure of lectures identified six phases that form the structure of lectures. Other studies, Thompson (1994) and Lee (2009) looked at lecture introductions; while Lee found that size of the class influences lecturers' choices of rhetorical moves, Thompson hasdemonstrated that lecture introductions seem to lack a typical rhetorical order and have unpredictable move structure. Most of these studies have focused on lectures in the North American and Western European settings. Not much is known, however, in academic settings where English  is a lingua franca (ELF). With the growing emphasis on English as the medium of instruction in academic institutions around  the globe, it is useful to describe the variance of ELF and the rhetorical style that comes with it. This poster presentation describes the overall structure of Malaysian engineering lecture discourse where English has been reintroduced as the medium of instruction in Malaysian universities.  The data for the study come from a sub-corpus of the ELC* consisting of six large lectures where both lecturers and students share a common language other than English.  This poster will demonstrate yet another difference in the structure of academic lectures – Malaysian engineering lectures seem more fluid than what has been described thus far in the literature.

    *ELC is Engineering Lecture Corpus a project under the PMI 2 project funded by the British Council
  • UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD and NICK ENDACOTT. Response to and effect of humor in Engineering Lectures in Malaysian and UK Higher Education Contexts. Laughter and Humour Interaction. University of Huddersfield, UK.  24-25 June 2009.

    Abstract

    Response to and effect of humor in Engineering Lectures in Malaysian and UK Higher Education Contexts

    A number of studies have investigated the ways in which academic lectures are structurally organized, either through examination of the overall structure of lectures or a particular segment of lectures. Young (1994) in her study on macrostructure of lectures identified six phases that form the structure of lectures. Other studies, Thompson (1994) and Lee (2009) looked at lecture introductions; while Lee found that size of the class influences lecturers' choices of rhetorical moves, Thompson hasdemonstrated that lecture introductions seem to lack a typical rhetorical order and have unpredictable move structure. Most of these studies have focused on lectures in the North American and Western European settings. Not much is known, however, in academic settings where English  is a lingua franca (ELF). With the growing emphasis on English as the medium of instruction in academic institutions around  the globe, it is useful to describe the variance of ELF and the rhetorical style that comes with it. This poster presentation describes the overall structure of Malaysian engineering lecture discourse where English has been reintroduced as the medium of instruction in Malaysian universities.  The data for the study come from a sub-corpus of the ELC* consisting of six large lectures where both lecturers and students share a common language other than English.  This poster will demonstrate yet another difference in the structure of academic lectures – Malaysian engineering lectures seem more fluid than what has been described thus far in the literature.

    *ELC is Engineering Lecture Corpus a project under the PMI 2 project funded by the British Council
  • HILARY NESI, UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD and NOOR MALA IBRAHIM. Pragmatic Annotations in an International Corpus of Engineering Lectures. American Association of Corpus Linguistics Annual Meeting (AACL 2009), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.  11-13 October 2009.

    Abstract

    Pragmatic Annotations in an International Corpus of Engineering Lectures

    Although a number of studies have examined lecture discourse from a pragmatic perspective (e.g. Bamford 2005, Crawford Camuciottoli 2008, Fortanet Gomez 2004, Morell 2004), pragmatic annotation of lectures tends to be limited to small corpora created by scholars for their own personal use.  The two major spoken academic corpora in the public domain, BASE and MICASE, are not encoded for pragmatic features for various reasons: such annotation is costly in terms of time, and it is also interpretative, fixing utterance meanings in ways which corpus users must either accept or challenge.  A section in the MICASE Handbook (Simpson & Leicher 2006), however, provides pragmatic information to supplement the standard MICASE mark-up. Building on this, and working with a corpus of lectures which exhibit a fairly limited range of pragmatic features, we are developing and testing a more robust system of annotation which facilitates the comparison of lecture delivery styles in different cultural settings.

    For this study our corpus is the Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC), a growing collection of English-medium university lectures on similar topics from different parts of the world (currently the UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia and New Zealand). So far, twenty-seven features have been identified and encoded; these include three types of referencing (to the external world and within and between lectures), enumeration, directives, and exemplification. Transcripts are aligned with the video component to enable searches for pragmatic features via SACODEYL, a search tool developed with funding from the European Commission. Differences in delivery style are startling, and on completion the corpus package should constitute a useful resource for engineering lecturers and students crossing continents for work or study.


    Simpson, R. & Leicher, S. (2006) The MICASE Handbook: A Resource for Users of the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS IN 2010

  • NOOR MALA IBRAHIM & UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD. Metadiscourse in academic lectures:  An exploratory investigation into Malaysian and British educational settings. 7th International Language for Specific Purposes 2010 Seminar, Kuala Lumpur. 4-5 May 2010.

    Abstract

    Metadiscourse in academic lectures:  An exploratory investigation into Malaysian and British educational settings

    Noor Mala Ibrahim & Ummul Khair Ahmad
    Dept of Modern Languages
    Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
    Johor Bahru.

    Lecturers help their students to process information delivered in lectures through the organization of their texts (Thompson, 2003), and metadiscourse has been identified as an important feature used to signal organization in lectures.   This paper will explore how metadiscourse is used by two different groups of lecturers from two different institutions, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Coventry University (CU), United Kingdom, in their effort to make the lectures comprehensible to the students.  Being only a preliminary study, the paper will report results of an analysis involving only two engineering lectures from each institution.  Focusing only on the interactive metadiscourse (Hyland, 2005), we will compare the different types and functions of metadiscourse used by both groups of lecturers.  It is hypothesized that there will be variations in the types and functions of metadiscourse in the two educational settings as metadiscourse is a context-dependent phenomenon.

  • UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD, MASPUTERIAH HAMZAH, HILARY NESI, LYNN GRANT. Engineering Lectures across Cultures: are they the same or different? 3rd Regional Conference on Engineering Education & Research in Higher Education, Kuching. 7-9 June 2010.

    Abstract

    Engineering Lectures Across Cultures: are they the same or different?

    Ummul Khair Ahmad1, Masputeriah Hamzah2, Hilary Nesi3 & Lynn Grant4

    1,2Dept of Modern Languages, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
    3Dept of English and Languages, Coventry University, United Kingdom
    4School of Languages and Social Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

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    With internationalization playing a crucial role to today's higher education settings, English has become the medium of instructions for many professional degree programs especially in Engineering. Teaching content subjects in English is one of the strategies adopted by many universities in order to attract a culturally diversified student body and enable appointments of international teaching staff. The common language used in classrooms across the globe has also made students and staff mobility across national boundaries become easier, and further facilitate many forms of academic and cultural exchanges among institutions of higher learning across the world.
    This paper focuses on features of discourse in higher education in the field of engineering that transcend national boundaries. It examines the discourse of engineering lectures delivered in English from three engineering and technical based institutions from three different countries: UTM Malaysia; Coventry University, United Kingdom, and Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.  A total of 53 lectures (19 UK, 14 Malaysia, 20 New Zealand) of various topics in engineering were taped, transcribed, and analyzed.  The analyses reveal that although the taught subject matter in Engineering are similar across national boundaries, marked variations prevail in terms of style and pace of delivery, as well range of vocabulary used. This paper highlights a list of chosen pragmatic features that are commonly thought to be typical in English-medium academic event and compare their occurrences in lectures from the three countries. Findings from this study not only can help engineering educators improve their instructional delivery and language instructors to better prepare non-native engineering students to comprehend lectures delivered in English but also have important pedagogic implications for facilitating transnational academic mobility.
  • SARIMAH BINTI SHAMSUDIN, MASDINAH ALAUYAH BINTI MD YUSOF, ABDUL HALIM ABDUL RAOF. Lecture Language in Malaysian Engineering Lecture Corpus. 3rd Regional Conference on Engineering Education & Research in Higher Education 2010, Kuching. 7-9 June 2010.

    Abstract

    Lecture Language in Malaysian Engineering Lecture Corpus

    Sarimah binti Shamsudin1, Masdinah Alauyah binti Md Yusof2, Abdul Halim bin Abdul Raof3

    1.2Department of Modern Languages, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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    3English Language & Preparatory Programme Unit, School of Professional and Continuing Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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    A lecture should contain various forms of lecture language or expressions that could help students understand the flow of the lecture. But what is lecture language?  From the English Language Teaching (ELT) point of view as stated by Frazier and Leeming (2007), lecture language consists of expressions that mark the topic and plan of the lecture, and/or expressions that signal a new or transition of ideas. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) is currently developing a spoken academic corpus of Malaysian engineering lectures which would be referred to as the MASE corpus. It is part of a joint research project with Coventry University funded by the British Council. The focus of the project is to study lecturing styles in Malaysia and the UK. Efforts are being made in UTM to analyse various pragmatic features of the MASE corpus. This paper therefore aims to present an analysis of the frequency and use of lecture language found in the MASE corpus. Findings of the analysis may shed some lights to enhance the delivery of engineering lectures.

  • GRACE KOH & UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD. Discourse Markers in Malaysian Academic Lectures. 19th Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA) International Conference, Kuala Lumpur. 7-8 June 2010.

    Abstract

    Discourse Markers in Malaysian Academic Lectures

    GRACE KOH1 and  UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD2

    1Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru.
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    2Dept of Modern Languages, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru.
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    Listening and comprehending academic lectures delivered in English can be a daunting task for native and non-native speakers of English alike. This is because unlike listening for social purposes, listening to lectures is more cognitively demanding as it involves real-time processing for fairly long periods of time. The task becomes even more challenging for non-native speakers who are less proficient in the language. Studies on academic lectures have concentrated mostly on native academic settings; research have shown that native speaking lecturers employ a number of linguistic devices such as signaling nouns (Flowerdew, 2003) text-structuring metadiscourse (Thompson, 2003), macro markers (Chaudron and Richards, 1986; Crawford Camiciottoli, 2004) and discourse markers (Schleef, 2009; Flowerdew, 1995) to aid students' comprehension and to facilitate ways in which contents should be understood. This study focuses on academic lectures delivered in English in the field of engineering at a Malaysian university. Specifically, it examines how Malaysian lecturers employ discourse markers to guide and aid students' comprehension of their content subjects. Results show that they use far less discourse markers in their lectures in terms of frequency and variation compared to the native English speaking lecturers as documented in the literature. They do, however, employ other means to guide students to aid students' understanding. The results of this study may be able to help students be aware of the devices they should look for while listening to lectures, and may also help lecturers who may have to deliver their content subjects in English make their lectures clearer and easier to follow.
  • UMMUL KHAIR AHMAD & NOOR MALA IBRAHIM.  Any question? Engineering lectures across two academic institutions.  2010 International Conference on Applied Linguistics, National Chiayi University, Taiwan. 27 – 28 November 2010.

    Abstract

     Any question?  Engineering lectures across two academic institutions

    Ummul K. Ahmad & Noor Mala Ibrahim
    Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
    Johor Bahru, MALAYSIA

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    One of the strategies used by lecturers to engage students in lectures and to facilitate students' comprehension is by asking questions.  Research studies into questions have also shown that asking questions have a fundamental role in learning (e.g. Crawford Camiciottoli, 2008).  Using both quantitative and qualitative analysis, this paper presents variation in the use of questions by lecturers in two academic settings, namely in Malaysian and British classrooms. The data for the study come from two sub-corpora of the ELC* which have been collected at University Teknologi Malaysia and Coventry University.   The findings discuss frequency of questions used in the lectures, and variations of questions forms, and functions that emerge from the two sub-corpora.  The findings could provide another insight towards the study of global academic language in engineering discourse, with the use of corpus evidence.

    *ELC is Engineering Lecture Corpus a project under the PMI-II project funded by the British Council

     

    References:

    Crawford Camiciottoli, B.  (2008).  Interaction in academic lectures vs. written text materials: The case of questions.  Journal of Pragmatics (40). 1216–1231
    {/slide}



As of May 2010, the corpus consists of 16 lectures.

No.

Lecture Number

Transcript No.

Topic / Title  

Date  

Lecturer's Code

1

MCiv_001_L

MCiv_001

Equilibrium of Particles

21-07-08

nm1001

2

MCiv_002_L

MCiv_002

Design of Restrained Beam

23-07-08

nm1002

3

MCiv_003_L

MCiv_003

Aggregate, Water and Admixture

30-07-08

nm1003

4

MCiv_004_L

MCiv_004

Space Truss

16-03-09

nf1004

5

MMec_001_L

MMec_001

Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 1

31-03- 09

nm1005

6

MMec_002_L

MMec_002

Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 2

06-04-09

nm1005

7

MMec_003_L

MMec_003

Combined Loadings I

09-09-09

nm1006

8

MMec_004_L

MMec_004

Combined Loadings II

10-09-09

nm1006

9

MMec_005_L

MMec_005

New Product Development

10-09-09

nm1007

10

MMec_006_L

MMec_006

The Second Law of Thermodynamics I

04-09-09

nf1008

11

MMec_007_L

MMec_007

Refrigeration and heat pump

07-09-09

nf1008

12

MMec_008_L

MMec_008

The Second Law of Thermodynamics II

08-09-09

nf1008

13

MMec_009_L

MMec_009

Carnot Heat Engine

14-09-09

nf1008

14

MMec_010_L

MMec_010

The Second Law  of Thermodynamics III

15-09-09

nf1008

15

MMec_011_L

MMec_011

Ordinary Differential Equation and Partially Differential Equation (PDE)

08-03-10

nf1009

16

MMec_012_L

MMec_012

Hyperbolic PDE

13-03-10

nf1009


Lectures were filmed following ELC filming protocols, and transcripts are being transcribed following ELC transcription protocols (document on-going and subject to change).

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