Professor Sebastian Ruffo was recently awarded the Apereo ATLAS Award for his use of Sakai in teaching a spoken French course at Ontario's Royal Military College. Ruffo received his award at the 2019 Open Apereo Conference in Los Angeles, California.
Ruffo was charged with creating a course in spoken French for the University of Western Ontario as part of the University's French-language offerings. “I had to find a way to teach Oral French that would be linked to texts. If I wanted the students to speak a lot, I would not have enough time in the classroom to do that.”
Ruffo created a blended course in Sakai that combined in-class choral instruction (reciting French poetry/songs/passages together), with distance instruction that gave students assignments in spoken French. He then graded their work using voice recording technology.
Professor Ruffo used the Lessons tool to explain assignments to students, which often consist of watching French language YouTube videos. For assignments that required students to respond orally, they recorded their work in the third party tool VoiceThread. Ruffo then recorded his own feedback, posting the responses in Messages so the whole class could benefit from the instruction. All of these tasks integrated with the Gradebook tool.
This innovative use of Sakai has allowed Ruffo’s students to spend more time speaking French in one semester than high school students do in one year of French instruction.