Extempore Case Study - Temple’s Intensive English Language Program

Temple IELP instructors extended language learning opportunities in online teaching with Extempore.

After a successful pilot program, the academic staff decided to roll out Extempore to all pronunciation and oral presentation courses in the IELP.

In order to encourage active and frequent practice, completing homework on Extempore is included as a percentage of the final course grade.

Rapid student feedback on language performance enabled instructors to provide real-time lesson modifications, eliminating concepts that were mastered and focusing on problem areas.

Temple’s Intensive English Language Program

Temple University’s Intensive English Language Program (IELP) attracts students from all over the world. Non-native speakers come to IELP to improve their English language skills for study, employment and to enhance their everyday lives.

Of the more than 3,000 international students at Temple University, the IELP at Temple enrolls hundreds of these students every year in a number of intensive and short-term programs. A group of full-time academic staff and over 35 ESL instructors work together to provide academic programming both in a traditional classroom setting and online. The core academic programming involves intensive study at Temple’s Philadelphia campus with 18 hours of classroom hours each week. While classroom time allows for learning and practice, IELP instructors utilize Extempore to help extend the language learning opportunities for the international students at Temple.

Extempore at Temple

The IELP started using Extempore on a pilot basis during the summer courses of 2017. Two 4-week programs were selected for the pilot program: Super Intensive English program and Graduate Academic English program. Some students were bound for further academic study at Temple University, while others returned to their home countries to continue their university studies at a partner institution. Each program had a course which incorporated pronunciation content and practice. After a successful pilot program, the academic staff decided to roll out Extempore to all pronunciation and oral presentation courses in the IELP. In addition, specific academic programs, such as the Graduate English program for Music majors, use Extempore in their speaking courses.

Students

Depending on the course outcomes, students are assigned oral homework after every class. In order to encourage active and frequent practice, completing homework on Extempore is included as a percentage of the final course grade.

Instructors

Instructors utilize Extempore for different pedagogical purposes. Some homework activities are used for formative assessment. Instructors will assign questions that include content from future lessons and students will answer to the best of their ability using their background knowledge. Then, based on the overall performance of the students, teachers can modify their lesson and eliminate concepts that are of no problem for the students. This allows valuable class time to be allocated to covering content that students have proven difficulty with rather than reviewing material that students can already understand and manage easily.

IELP teachers also use Extempore for summative assessment – the traditional idea of checking whether a student has achieved the learning objectives after the completion of a lesson or unit. For pronunciation courses, summative activities might include reading individual word lists, reading sentences, and using appropriate intonation and rhythm for longer recordings. For speaking courses, the students may be asked to talk about the topic for a limited amount of time. Using Extempore for summative assessment has allowed instructors to get more talk time from each student for all assignments, leading to more data to more accurately represent a students’ abilities and growth.

Student Perspective

Students at Temple’s IELP program are all adults and use Extempore on their own device. Some students prefer to use their laptop to complete Extempore assignments, while others enjoy submitting assignments directly from the app on their smartphone.

  • The IELP administered a post-program survey to special program students who used Extempore for their coursework. All students answered “agree” or “strongly agree” to the following questions:

  • Extempore helped to improve my overall learning of English.
  • Extempore was useful to the specific learning objectives of the course.
  • Extempore was easy to use after I used it a few times.
  • I was able to access the content without major difficulties.
  • I am pleased with my overall experience with Extempore.
  • Some open-ended student responses regarding Extempore included:

  • “Overall, it is good!”
  • “Keep up the good work!”
  • “I like to hear the teacher speak her comments about the homework.”
  • “This is a new application for me. I like how it works.”
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About Temple University

Temple University is a high-research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Founded in 1884, as of 2016, more than 39,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students were enrolled in over 400 academic degree programs offered at seven campuses and sites in Pennsylvania, and international campuses in Rome, Tokyo, Singapore and London.