VIRTUAL TEACHING AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN SHAPING STRATEGIES FOR PROFESSIONAL FOREIGN LANGUAGE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN FUTURE SOFTWARE ENGINEERS
AbstractThe article substantiates and appraises a set of PC-oriented and network techniques (such as online chat-based training and learning) and communicative and game-playing techniques (such as briefing, debriefing-contemplation, simulation) to help future software engineers elaborate a strategy to engage in communication on professional matters in a foreign language. The authors have ascertained the structure and the contents of the key notions pertaining to the present study, specifically: ‘strategy for professional foreign language communication’, ‘virtual teaching and learning environment’, and ‘online chat teaching and learning techniques’; a system of exercises and tasks has been developed that are to be given out to future specialists in order to develop their online communication skills in line with the aforementioned strategy. ‘Strategy for professional foreign language communication’ is construed by the authors as a cumulative aggregate for incremental thinking and speaking activities designed to help participants of the act of communication model their own communicative behaviour in the context of communication on professional matters in a foreign language aimed at attaining the objective of communication in the process of conversing with each other. Students’ index of personal interest in studying a foreign language for communication on profession-related matters has also been verified. In order to ascertain the level of personal interest in a foreign language among students, a questionnaire survey focusing on 1st and 2nd year students of the Faculty of Mathematics and IT Technologies at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Ukraine) has been conducted. We have compiled methodological guidelines to be issued to foreign language teachers at universities, outlining best practices to organise training and help future software engineers outline their strategies for professional foreign language communication; besides, a training toolkit entitled IT Student’s English Handbook showcasing a number of options for online (Internet-based) simulations has been put together. Having interpreted the results of questionnaire survey, we have been able to prove that the abovementioned training techniques do prove to be efficient.
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