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Marc Volume 11, Number

Emerging Communities at BBC Learning English

Catherine Chapman BBC Learning English <catherine.chapman bbc.co.uk>

Paul Scott BBC Learning English <Paul.Scott2 bbc.co.uk>


This paper traces the development of the BBC Learning English [http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/] online community, focusing on tools such as e-mail discussion lists, message boards, comments boards, student/teacher blogs, competitions, and voting. It describes how relationships between the intermediate level users of all nationalities and the tools, the website and students with each other, have emerged and developed through the use of each feature at the site. It discusses the different types of community that have emerged around each tool, and how BBC Learning English practice has been influenced by the users. The live presentation also included an opportunity to explore "The Flatmates" [http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/flatmates/], an online language learning soap opera, and offered participants an opportunity to write an episode of their own.


BBC Learning English was created as a result of re-organisation at the BBC World Service, which has been providing English language instruction since its inception in 1943. The BBC Learning English website is free to use and does not require registration; it provides a wide range of language learning resources including audio and video, aimed at learners of all nationalities studying English at the intermediate level and above (see Figure 1). New content is added to the site every weekday. The site is syndicated to a number of partners worldwide: user numbers have increased yearly and currently stand at approximately 1.5-2 million unique users, generating in excess of 30 million page views per month.

TESL-EJ 11.4, March 2008

Chapman & Scott


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