The use of technology for teaching and learning practices has become an essential component in higher education contexts (Constantinou & Papadima-Sophocleous, 2020). For the past twenty years, there has been a rapid rise in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the study of their effects on students, teachers and curricular course contents design. In addition, the outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic (World Health Organisation, 2020) has brought new challenges for teachers and learners as well. Despite this interest, few studies to the best of our knowledge have addressed the adaptation of English for specific purposes (ESP) course contents to a technology-mediated context and the effects of specific instructional practices on students’ academic performance, motivation, attitudes and interest towards a given course. This paper presents the adaptation of the subject English for Communicators in the Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Public Relations at Universitat Jaume I to a project based learning (PBL) educational approach. Three projects were designed and carried out in the ESP class. Two in group projects i.e. a corporate web-page design and the analysis of a YouTube advertisement, and an individual abstract writing project using Web 2.0 automated writing evaluation systems. This longitudinal study aims to examine students’ performance, motivation and attitude/interest towards the course in Covid-19 times. To do so, a questionnaire of twenty-five items to measure students’ motivation and attitude/interest was adapted from Gardner (2004) and Uribe, Gutierrez and Fernández (2008) and administered at the beginning and end of the semester. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate students’ motivation and attitude/interest changes over the instructional period along with Pearson product-moment correlations of motivation, attitude/interest post-test results and students’ marks. These tests revealed that there was a significant difference between pre instructional period motivation (M = 3.96, SD = .59) and the post instructional period (M = 4.37, SD = .56, t (24) = -3.39, p < .05, d = .67). Similarly, students’ attitude/interest difference between pre-test results (M = 3.49, SD = .80) and post-test results (M = 4.05, SD = .71, t (24) = -3.43, p < .05, d = .68) was found to be statistically significant as well. As regards the relation between motivation and attitude/interest with students’ performance, no significant correlation was found between motivation and students project marks (r = .313, p > .05). However, positive correlations were found between motivation and students’ exam grades (r = .419, p < .05) and their final assessment (r = .431, p < .05). In addition, statistically significant correlations were found between students’ attitude/interest and their continuous assessment (r = .502, p < .05), exam marks (r = .538, p < .05) and final marks (r = .746, p < .05). Thus, it can be concluded that PBL and the use of ICTs may have increased students’ motivation and attitude/interest towards the course.
Constantinou, E. K., & Papadima-Sophocleous, S. (2020). The use of digital technology in ESP: Current practices and suggestions for ESP teacher education. Journal of Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes, 8(1), 17-29. https://doi.org/10.22190/JTESAP2001017K
Gardner, R. C. (2004). Attitude/motivation test battery: International AMTB research project. Canada: The University of Western Ontario.
Uribe, D., Gutiérrez, J., & Fernández, D. M. (2008). Las actitudes del alumnado hacia el aprendizaje del inglés como idioma extranjero: estudio de una muestra en el sur de España. Porta Linguarum: revista internacional de didáctica de las lenguas extranjeras, (10), 85-100.
World Health Organization. (2020). Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, 18 March 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCoV/MentalHealth/2020.1). World Health Organization. Retrieved from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331490/WHO-2019-nCoV-MentalHealth-2020.1-eng.pdf
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