Go The Distance: Student Life – Academic talk

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1. How well do you understand academic talk?

Time for Student Life – the part of our 'Go The Distance' course where we hear from real distance learners talking about their study and home life. Each student talks about a particular aspect of distance learning. Let's meet the next student!

Marcin from Poland is studying business management in English - but that's not all he does. He balances a busy home and work life with his studies. Listening is not an easy skill to master, and understanding audiovisual material is key to success on a distance learning course. So how do you make sure you don't get lost when listening in an academic context?

Next: Scroll down to find out how Marcin gets on with his academic listening.

2. Working, studying and listening

We asked Marcin how he deals with all the audiovisual materials on his course. Watch the video to hear how he handles his academic listening.

To do

While you watch, try to pick out the TWO main tips Marcin has for using audiovisual materials on a distance learning course. We'll give you the answers – in a quiz – later on this page.

User tips

- Turn on subtitles by clicking on the 'S' button in the video player.

- Click on the 'expand' icon to view the video in full screen.

3. Two tips for good academic listening

Marcin had two tips for how he uses technology to help him understand what he listening material on his course. What were they?

You can pause and rewind

When you're studying online you can pause, rewind and listen again to your course materials.

You selected

You can pause and rewind

Sorry, that's wrong. Marcin didn't mention this. But this might be true on some distance learning courses – check with the tutor!

You can use the transcript

Audiovisual materials often come with a transcript – so you can check what you're listening to.

You selected

You can use the transcript

That's right. Marcin said "fortunately, there's always transcripts of that material".

Use a dictionary

Look up the words you hear to check the meaning.

You selected

Use a dictionary

That's right. Marcin said "any word I don't understand, I can always check it. I like to know exactly the meaning of the word".

4. What we've learned

Thank you Marcin!

You're almost at the end of this unit. At the bottom of this page you can find links to more useful materials for distance learners – and would-be distance learners!

But before we finish, let's have another look at Marcin's top tips for dealing with academic talk.

  • # Video clips are great for getting experience of real life listening – you can watch and listen to presentations, interviews and more.
  • # Don't struggle to understand audio resources – make use of transcripts so that you can pick out every word.
  • # If you're not sure of the exact meaning of a word, you can look it up in the dictionary – you could even do this on your smart phone!
  • # Some institutions may provide chat room spaces for their students – use these to collaborate with and learn from your fellow students.
  • # Try listening to your audiovisual study resources while you do your daily tasks – you could even learn Spanish while you're walking!

Find out more

Want to know more about Marcin and his distance learning experience? You can find out more by visiting our partner The Open University. Click on The OU 'Where next?' link to find out more. Click on 'Downloads' to get a free pdf transcript of Marcin's video.