The general discussion is a useful tool for students to practice their writing and reading skills in an interactive format. Students will answer a discussion question that the teacher posts each week. The discussion question can be used as either a review of a certain topic that was previously covered, or to begin a new topic. Students can view what others have posted about the same topic, and can respond to those as well. Students who have a lower English ability can answer in one word, or you can challenge higher students to use simple or complex sentences.
Questions I have posted so far:
What is Easter?
What is Earth Day? How can we help save the Earth?
What did you do on the long weekend?
Giving Directions using PoodLL
I like the idea of students using PoodLL voice recordings. An activity that I would use is this: Teacher posts an assignment in which I record verbal directions on how to get to a common destination, for example, the local post office, medical clinic, library, or any other public facility. These directions will be from location of ESL classroom to the destination. Students must listen to the directions & then using a map of the city/town record their own verbal directions from their home to this same destination. An added activity could be for students to ask each other for directions to their homes. They would need to use phrases such as "go 3 blocks south on 8th Ave" ; "turn left on Main St." "you will see Joe's Antiques shop across the street"... etc.
I don't know how much flexibility we have in this LINC Courseware, but in my NorQuest Moodle course for the new LINC 5 Blended Course, I've added four glossaries, all of which are editable by the students. I've renamed the glossaries as Class Dictionary, Idiom of the Day, Phrasal Verb of the Day (some of you may know how much I love those phrasal verbs!), and Grammar Tip of the Day. I will add a new entry every day, as an incentive for the students to log in and see what's new. They can also add their own entries, and I've removed the 30-minute deadline for editing. Many, many times I make mistakes and I don't realize until much later than 30 minutes!
Glossary as Class Dictionary
The Glossary activity can be used to promote active learning and develop cooperation among students. In our LINC 6 class, students work in pairs or small groups to create and maintain a class dictionary (“Our Words and Collocations”). Whether the words are assigned by the teacher or selected by the students, they are always based on the class activities. Once they have the words, students collaborate to decide on a definition, a collocation and an example to be included, following a format previously agreed on. The teacher’s role is mainly to monitor and support.
In this type of activity, content and process are given equal significance, and in line with the social constructivist approach, “groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings” (https://docs.moodle.org/28/en/Philosophy). Students become course co-creators, and in order to increase their sense of ownership and responsibility, they can also be asked to act as experts for the entries they have authored (easily searchable through “Browse by Author”).
Glossary with phonetic description
It would be helpful to put phonetic description besides the word as in a dictionary. Sometimes it can be hard to hear clearly how the word sounds. Most of my Chinese students have electronic dictionaries which has IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) besides the words. With the phonetic description, my students can pronounce the word better.
I can use the "Discussion" feature to have students write about a given topic, then reply to each others' entries with suggestions for grammar, spelling, and organizational fixes.