I joined the Department of Languages at the OU in September 2006. I am Head of Italian and Module Team Chair of L195 (‘Andante’) the Beginners’ Italian course. Before coming to the OU, I worked at Oxford Brookes University where I taught on the degree courses Languages for Business and European Culture and Society and ran Oxford Brookes Language Services, the language training unit. In the past I have worked as translator and ad hoc interpreter. I have authored or co-authored several Italian language texts aimed at adult learners including Routledge Modern Italian Grammar (Routledge 3rd ed. 2012), Italian Grammar (Teach Yourself, 2010) and Routledge Intensive Italian (Routledge 2004). I have been external examiner for various UK universities. In 2007 I was made a Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana, by the Italian Republic, for my services to Italian. I live in Oxford and am based at the OU campus in Milton Keynes.
My previous research interests focused on issues of language and identity, including, for example, the language of the Italian media and advertising, Naples and its representation in literature and art by travellers on the ‘Grand Tour’, and representations of Mediterranean Identity.
Since coming to the OU, my research has focused on aspects of language learning in the online environment. Current projects include student engagement on interactive computer-marked assessment; the impact of a student buddy initiative on Level 1 language modules; peer feedback on MOOCs; intercultural communication and intercultural awareness and practice among OU Associate Lecturers in Languages. I am also interested in the interactions between social media and language learning.
I am Module Chair of L195 Andante beginners’ Italian which was the first Italian course at the OU and began in 2007. ‘Andante’ was one of the first OU courses to pioneer blended learning and the mix of online resources with conventional teaching materials. Materials produced for Andante included online quizzes using audio, visual and written stimuli. In 2011, we introduced L150 Vivace, Intermediate Italian, produced in-house with print materials, interactive DVD, using audio and video recorded on location in Italy, and a range of online activities and resources. Finally in 2014, we launched a new enhanced L195 Andante, with print, audio and online materials, produced entirely in house. In 2016 - 17 I was lead educator on the Open University's Italian for Beginners MOOC programme on the Future Learn platform, on which over 34,000 learners enrolled.
On the 'Andante' course, I moderate the students forum which gives me a valuable insight into the challenges faced by language learners in an online environment.