Teaching translation modules using moodle: a quantitative research at university of foreign languages, Hue university

The advancement of network and technology has brought about profound changes in methods of

teaching and learning in many universities around the world. According to Tang (2013), blending

thoughts or cogitation and ways of teaching and learning can combine the advantages of traditional

models of teaching and ways of information technology. Actually, this combination helps the teaching

achieve the integration of courses and educational technology. In particular, blended learning is regarded

as an innovative way of teaching and learning English in which teaching and learning activities have been

completely supported by information technology (David, 2014). Siirak (2008) argues that blended

learning with computer based learning in the Moodle E-learning environment, based on social

constructivist learning theory is an effective tool for teaching and learning in the occupational health and

safety discipline. In fact, using Moodle in teaching develops learners' communicative skills in language

and requires social interaction between the teacher and students and among the students themselves

(Al-Ani, 2013). A large number of studies on using Moodle in teaching and learning English were

implemented in the past few years (Brandle, 2005; Irina & Laura, 2007; Stewart, 2007; Al-Ani, 2013;

Tang, 2013); however, there has been little research on using Moodle in teaching translation modules thus

far.

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TEACHING TRANSLATION MODULES USING MOODLE: 
A QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH AT UNIVERSITY 
OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES, HUE UNIVERSITY 
Phan Thi Thanh Thao
*
University of Foreign Languages, Hue University 
Received: 10/09/2017; Revised: 22/10/2017; Accepted: 30/08/2018 
Abstract: TESOL instruction has moved from traditional classroom learning to a blended learning 
environment using Moodle as a supportive learning platform in some universities in Vietnam. 
Although Moodle has been successful in other disciplines at some universities, none has been used for 
translation. This paper aims to research the effectiveness of using Moodle in teaching 
English-Vietnamese translation modules at University of Foreign Languages, Hue University. We 
mainly used the quantitative method to collect and analyze questionnaires given to both students 
and teachers and found out several benefits of blended learning. The study results show that 
teaching English with Moodle’s use has increased students’ motivation, and improved the teaching 
quality significantly. Therefore, the implications of using Moodle in teaching translation for 
English-Vietnamese language have been suggested in this study in order to create practical lessons 
at our university and other institutions in Vietnam with similar modules. 
Key words: Moodle, quantitative research, teaching translation 
1. Introduction 
The advancement of network and technology has brought about profound changes in methods of 
teaching and learning in many universities around the world. According to Tang (2013), blending 
thoughts or cogitation and ways of teaching and learning can combine the advantages of traditional 
models of teaching and ways of information technology. Actually, this combination helps the teaching 
achieve the integration of courses and educational technology. In particular, blended learning is regarded 
as an innovative way of teaching and learning English in which teaching and learning activities have been 
completely supported by information technology (David, 2014). Siirak (2008) argues that blended 
learning with computer based learning in the Moodle E-learning environment, based on social 
constructivist learning theory is an effective tool for teaching and learning in the occupational health and 
safety discipline. In fact, using Moodle in teaching develops learners' communicative skills in language 
and requires social interaction between the teacher and students and among the students themselves 
(Al-Ani, 2013). A large number of studies on using Moodle in teaching and learning English were 
implemented in the past few years (Brandle, 2005; Irina & Laura, 2007; Stewart, 2007; Al-Ani, 2013; 
Tang, 2013); however, there has been little research on using Moodle in teaching translation modules thus 
far. 
This article will present some theoretical background related to blended learning and Moodle learning 
management system (LMS), some advantages and disadvantages of using Moodle in teaching and learning 
* Email: phanthao0105@gmail.com 
English, then focus on the use of Moodle in teaching translation modules in University of Foreign 
Languages, Hue University (HU-UFL). Since this research aims to determine the effectiveness of blended 
learning approach, using Moodle in teaching translation modules for English major students at HU-UFL, it 
strives to achieve the following objectives: 
- To briefly introduce blended learning and using Moodle in previous studies; 
- To indicate strengths and challenges of using Moodle in teaching and learning English; 
- To investigate the attitudes of Vietnamese learners and teachers towards using Moodle in teaching 
and learning English and translation courses; 
- To determine students' understanding of benefits of using Moodle at translation class and 
teachers’ concern and competence of using of Moodle in their teaching; 
 - To suggest some implications and recommendations of improving the teaching and 
 learning translation modules with the Moodle’s use through lessons at our university and other 
institutions in Vietnam with similar modules. 
2. Blended learning and using Moodle 
2.1. What is blended learning? 
The term “blended learning” came into being with numerous definitions in recent years. According 
to Mackey (2008), blended learning involved in a combination of online and face-to-face learning may 
also include different combinations of technology, pedagogies and contexts. In a report on the merits and 
potential of blended education, the Sloan Consortium, or Online Learning Consortium (Carl, 2014) 
defined blended or hybrid courses as those that “integrate online with traditional face-to-face class 
activities in a planned, pedagogically valuable manner.” Garrison and Vaughan (2008) agree that blended 
learning is a coherent design approach, which openly assesses and integrates the strengths of face-to-face 
and online learning to address the educational goals worldwide. That is to say, blended learning is one of 
advanced learning manners with the support of online Internet that can reach and engage students in a 
truly customizable way. Due to the increasing popularity of blended learning in higher education in Asia 
and Europe, it has been greatly concerned in most universities in the world, as Arabasz and Baker (2003) 
reveal that a high rate of higher education institutions (80%) offered blended learning courses and that 
figure reached to 100% in 2012. Therefore, it is essential to raise the awareness for learners and teachers 
that blended learning approaches and designs can significantly enhance the teaching and learning 
experience. 
2.2. Why is Moodle used, but not another software? 
Known as a Course Management System (CMS), a Learning Management System (LMS), or a 
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), the opened source learning software Moodle was designed to bring 
the platform for online courses to educators and students all over the world. Furthermore, it has been chosen 
the best platform for blended learning with many modules (lessons, quizzes and resources) that can be 
applied in the language learning context (Dinh, 2014). In addition, Moodle can provide a variety of different 
teaching and learning activities for students to improve their collaborative learning skills through forums, 
chat rooms, Webquest, Wiki, etc. Although Moodle is not designed specifically for language teaching, it 
offers various teaching tools that can be useful in ESL learning. In fact, its functions relate to the integration 
of many kinds of teaching and learning activities such as assignments, materials delivery, accessing 
multimedia resources, testing and assessment and teacher-student interaction. 
2.3. Strengths and challenges of using Moodle in learning and teaching English 
Using Moodle in teaching and learning English can bring us both advantages and disadvantages. 
First, since teaching and learning English activities requires learners and teachers to work independently 
after class, blended learning integrates the advantages of traditional English learning and online learning is 
the optimal selection. In reality, Moodle is considered a management system of learning that records the 
process of learners’ activities online and this may supervise students to work harder (Tang, 2013). With 
many optional activities built in Moodle platform, such as Assignment, Chats, Choices, Forums, Glossaries, 
Lessons, Quizzes, Wikis, etc., students are required to do a series of online or offline tasks that needs a great 
deal of skills of IT, social and language knowledge as well. Hence, the ability of independent learning and 
self-study will certainly be improved at English class. In addition, through Moodle platform, teachers and 
learners can enrich learning resources by uploading various kinds of authentic materials such as videos, 
films, books, newspapers, textbooks in different formats including .pdf, .doc, .rtf, .ppt, .jpg, and .mvi. These 
authentic materials help the learners approach the latest and real documents that they will deal with in their 
real life after graduation. Due to the practical knowledge provided by authentic materials, learners can be 
motivated significantly. 
Second, online teaching and learning with Moodle platform is still coping with some obstacles. 
While most of teachers tend to use available textbooks at class and testing formats to evaluate learners’ 
outcomes with the traditional teaching methods, they have to spend much more time on searching for 
materials to prepare lectures, designing various kinds of assessment at the online class with Moodle. 
Moreover, using Moodle in teaching or learning English requires both teachers and learners to gain good 
experience and knowledge of IT. It seems to be simple for those, who often uses technology or obtains 
some basic IT knowledge before approaching Moodle’s environment (Abdullah & Abdulla, 2013). 
However, it is quite complicated to start using Moodle without any IT understandings, in particular for 
aged teachers, or traditional teachers (Dinh, 2014). In addition, in Al-Ani’s article on blended learning 
approach using Moodle (2013), he indicates the challenges of blended learning using Moodle in teaching 
English relates to the students’ motivation heavily depending on the course layout and accessibility and 
students’ satisfaction with online methods based on the effectiveness of chosen pedagogies combined 
both face-to-face and online methods. 
2.4. Using Moodle in teaching translation modules 
Translation teaching at the graduate level in many universities requires the lecturers to achieve the 
expertise of linguistics, culture of the source language and the target language, professional environment and 
market trends. Moreover, obtaining good skills of technology is essential for lecturers in teaching translation 
modules. For example, the translation teachers should know well the way to use at least one computer-assisted 
translation (CAT) tool that is available for translators. They also need to attend modules on developing 
evaluation tools, either for assessing student performance or judging the quality of the programs to update the 
information and new techniques of these tools. In addition, translation teachers should be acquainted with the 
latest developments in information technology and electronic tools for translators (Moustafa, 2002). 
In order to help translation teachers make a use of CAT tools and improve their professional 
qualifications, Moodle will be the useful teaching environment. Due to Moodle’s ability of providing 
access to various multimedia resources and the connection with Wiki, teachers and learners are able to 
easily obtain documents specialized in translation on Internet. Webquest, for example, is an 
Internet-based research which is distinguished by its classroom-based and group work task features, 
higher-order thinking, and teacher’s selection of sources (WebQuest). Using WebQuest, translation 
teachers can integrate CAT tools lessons to translation lessons to Moodle. This creates practical and 
applicable translation modules in the training activities in different institutions. 
Despite a large number of studies on using Moodle to build online learning classes in Vietnamese 
institutions (Dinh, 2014; Vietnamese document, 2010), there has been no research on using Moodle in 
teaching translation modules. Teaching translation at the undergraduate level in Vietnam’s universities is 
also dealing with some challenges as described by Moustafa (2002) in some Egyptian institutions. 
Translation practice is a compulsory subject that requires both English major and non-major students to 
attend. Since translation modules play a very important role in teaching a foreign language in the tertiary 
education in Vietnam, teaching methods need improving and renovating with IT support. It has been 
practical and essential to use Moodle in teaching “Translation Practice” - a translation module for 
students in HUFL. 
2.5. The attitude of Vietnamese learners and teachers towards using Moodle in teaching and 
learning English in translation courses 
Those Vietnamese learners and teachers having chance to approach Moodle presented by some IT 
projects, are aware of its various benefits and significant values in the educational domain. With the rapid 
growth of information technology and the global boom of Internet, Vietnamese students are greatly 
concerned about the advanced methods of learning English and translation modules, which can help them 
improve the learning quality in the most effective way. Nowadays, a part of the traditional face-to-face 
activities at school has been changed to the online learning environment in some schools in Hau Giang 
Province, a southern region of Vietnam (Vietnamese document, 2010). Teaching method with blended 
learning aims to combine the work with online tools and the human interaction at classes, where, 
approximately 30 to 70% of the learning activities have to occur online (Dinh, 2014). However, teaching 
English with blended learning is more than adding technology to an existing course since we learn that it 
also creates a modern, effective and appropriate teaching method in HUFL. For instance, the Moodle-based 
blended course has enhanced students’ writing skills with an interactive and effective writing course 
designed on Moodle site which can be accessed easily by logging in the website www.hucfl.hueuni.vn (Cao 
Thi Xuan Lien, 2015). Hence, studying in the blended environment brings students more opportunities to 
improve the communicative skills and cultural knowledge, which are indispensable factors in a language 
learning and translation. 
Moodle has brought great benefits in teaching a foreign language in Vietnam for the following 
reasons. First, the philosophy and educational methodology based on Moodle is completely proper for the 
current educational trend of online interaction in the 21st century, in particular, that has become more 
important in Vietnam since it could help learners and teachers elude the traditional teaching-learning 
methods. Second, Moodle’s suitability is indicated in the building of strong interactive environment 
between learners and instructors shown in designing textbooks courses on learning a foreign language. 
Previously, those materials designed are based on many units such as lessons, chapters, parts, which are 
often separated from various language skills in Vietnam. Third, the flexibility and multifunction of 
Moodle, one of its major strengths, displays a diversity of teaching objectives with flexible contents and 
forms like blended learning, collaborative learning, self-study, etc. Fourth, in such a developing country 
like Vietnam, Moodle is preferred by most educators due to its economical feature since Moodle can be 
used free of charge. Owing to limited education expenses in Vietnam, using Moodle is the best solutions 
on providing an online learning system with low cost. For those reasons mentioned previously, this article 
focuses on the use of Moodle in teaching translation modules for students at HU-UFL in Vietnam. 
3. Methods and materials 
At the research’s title, we mentioned the quantitative method as a major one used in this study. It is 
apparent that this method can be applied properly in collecting and analyzing data including 
questionnaires and class observation implemented at HU-UFL. 
3.1. Participants 
The participants in this study include both teachers and students. There are 10 teachers from 
English Faculty and English for Specific Purposes Faculty. To the part of students, the participants came 
from three classes of second year at English Faculty, HU-UFL. The majority of students have learned 
English at secondary and high schools in Vietnam. Therefore, their English knowledge is sufficient to 
understand the texts extracted from some books, newspapers and other online sources in English. Since 
this was the first time studying the module “Translation Practice 1”, their translation skills were rather 
limited and their learning methods of this module remained problematic due to their lack of translation 
experience. The three classes were made up of Vietnamese Studies and English Language majors, which 
were required to take the compulsory course “Translation Practice 1”. Of the 127 students registering in 
the three classes, 120 students agreed to participate in the study which surveyed their attitudes and 
understanding of blended learning and Moodle before using it and evaluated their learning motivation or 
achievements after using Moodle at translation class. To the part of teachers, the investigation is also 
carried out to explore their understanding of Moodle, difficulties and benefits of using Moodle at 
translation classes. Their responses were present for the data collection sessions. 
3.2. Data collection procedure 
The study was implemented during a 15-week semester with Translation Practice 1 course. It 
includes two phrases. In the first phrase, to investigate the students and teachers’ understanding of 
blended learning and Moodle before using it, we created the Pre-using Moodle questionnaires including 
10 rate scale questions for students and 10 questions for teachers on personal information of respondents 
and their specific information concerning the current issues of understanding the blended learning, 
Moodle and activities using Moodle. In the second phrase, we built the After-using Moodle 
questionnaires including 14 questions for students and 10 questions for teachers. Those questions are 
designed on the basis of the previous theoretical background on advantages and challenges of using 
Moodle in teaching and learning a language that focuses on delivery of abundant materials, 
implementation of assignments, various testing and assessment formats and teacher-student interaction, 
we built a series of rate scale and open questions to investigate students’ existing obstacles and 
achievements of increased learning motivation through some specific activities with the use of Moodle at 
class. 
 The research objectives were presented to encourage students and teacher to participate in this 
study. Their completion of the questionnaires in phrase 1 and 2 enables researchers to obtain students’ 
Moodle knowledge and their need for online and blended learning using Moodle as well as teachers’ 
understanding and feedback of using Moodle in teaching English. 
4. Findings and discussion 
 In this study, we mainly used the quantitative method to analyze the data obtained from the two 
types of questionnaires which were delivered to both students and teachers in two phrases: before they 
used Moodle and after they used it at translation classes. To emphasize the effectiveness of using Moodle 
at translation class, we analyzed and compared the gained data on respondents’ knowledge of blended 
learning and Moodle described in previous sections as the most effective tool in developing the 
learner-instructor interaction, abundant learning and teaching materials and improving learning 
motivation and teaching quality. The findings focus on three major issues: 1. Teachers and students 
knowledge of blended learning and Moodle before learning how to use it; 2. Students’ feedbacks after 
learning how to use Moodle in learning activities at translation class; 3. Teachers’ competence after 
learning how to use Moodle in their teaching. 
4.1. Students and teachers’ understandings of blended learning and Moodle before using it 
To investigate students’ understanding of the blended learning and Moodle, we handed out 
questionnaires for students. The responses shown in all the tables were categor

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