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Professor Jim Coleman

Profile summary

  • Visiting Formal Academic
  • Emeritus Professor
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies

Professional biography

Jim Coleman is Professor of Language Learning and Teaching at the Open University, and a member of the Open Languages Research Group within the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET). He holds a First Class B.A. in French with German from Exeter University, where he also completed an M.A. in French literature. As Lecturer in French at Glasgow University, he taught and published on Sixteenth Century French Literature, and joined the team which produced innovative language courses Le Français en Faculté and Lyon à la Une. As Reader in French Studies and (from 1992) Professor of Foreign Language Learning at Portsmouth Polytechnic/University, he worked on French Area Studies, especially media, while also researching aspects of language learning at university level. He coordinated a survey of 25,000 university language learners, the European Language Proficiency Survey, in 1993-95, and coordinated the FDTL Residence Abroad Project from 1997-2001. He was awarded a PhD by publication for a thesis entitled University Language Learning and Teaching in 2001. His research encompasses several aspects of university language teaching and learning: policy and practice, institutional contexts, pedagogy, applications of technology, e-learning, skills and employability, language testing, intercultural competence, and especially study/residence abroad. Over his career, he has won in total nearly £350,000 in external funding, and delivered over 150 invited lectures and conference papers, including plenaries, in 22 countries. Jim has worked on the council/committee of the Institute of Linguists, University Council of Modern Languages, Association for French Language Studies, Languages Expert Panel of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, and as Joint Series Editor for the AFLS/CILT series Current Issues in University Language Teaching from 1992 to 2001. He has organised four conferences: AFLS in 1989, University Language Testing in 1995, Independent Language Learning: New Research Directions at the Open University in 2003 and the BAAL/CUP-sponsored Spoken Online Learning Events in 2007. He is on the Editorial Board of the Language Learning JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication, and Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching. Jim has been a Subject Specialist Assessor for French and Joint Languages in 1995/96, and a member of the European Studies Panel in the 2001 and 2008 Research Assessment Exercises. In 2011, Jim was elected Chair of the University Council of Modern Languages, and became Editor-in-Chief of System: an International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics.

Research interests

University language teaching and learning, embracing policy and practice, institutional contexts, pedagogy, applications of technology, skills and employability, language testing, autonomy, intercultural competence, individual variation (motivation, attitudes and anxiety), Englishisation and especially study/residence abroad.

Jim Coleman is currently writing a commissioned book on study abroad.

Teaching interests

Jim Coleman has taught French language, literature and area studies, general and applied lingistics, and research methods, as well as supervising Masters and PhD students. He is currently working with L192, Beginners French.

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