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Durham University

DCAD: English Language Support

Current Staff Information

Professor Megan Bruce

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43006
Travel Approver, Combined Honours in Social Sciences
Member of the Foundation Centre
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43006

(email at megan.bruce@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

Personal Profile

I am Director of Combined Honours in Social Sciences, whilst also maintaining a role as Professor (Teaching) within the Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD). 

I manage the Combined Honours in Social Sciences degree programme and its 320 students, determining the strategic direction of the programme, liaising with departments who deliver the modules and supporting the students throughout their programme of study. 

I have taught EAP (English for Academic Purposes) at Durham University since 2002, working in various different roles. As well as teaching academic skills on the Foundation programme, my scholarship projects take me into different Durham departments delivering writing support to a range of students. Most recently I've worked in Sociology, Sport and Education.

My scholarship projects focus mainly on corpus linguistics, principally the development of the FOCUS project with Dr Simon Rees and Dr Steven Bradley. The FOCUS project is based on a monitor corpus of Durham University student writings. Accessing the corpus data either in class or through a suite of self-access facilities that we have designed helps students to uncover how vocabulary is used in different disciplines and in academic writing more generally. 

I am also looking more specifically at the use of corpus data to support the teaching of grammar to mature native speaker students.

In addition to this, I am also involved in other scholarship projects which support students during or before their time at the university. I worked with Dr Sam Nolan and other colleagues on a pre-arrival portal to support students as they wait to begin their course of study with us. I worked with Dr Jinhua Mathias on a peer mentoring project which support students during their Foundation year, and have developed this mentor scheme to use with my Combined Social Sciences students. This supports the other initiatives I've developed in Combined Social Sciences to help develop a sense of cohort identity.

Professional Membership

  • Senior Fellow of the HEA and a member of the HEA Internationalisation SIG
  • Member of BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics), member of the BAAL Vocabulary SIG and Convenor of the BAAL Corpus SIG
  • Member of IVACS (Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies)
  • Marker for the UK Linguistics Olympiad
  • Member of the Foundation Year Network
  • Member of the Combined Honours Network

Conference Talks and Workshops

'The development of online resources to enhance understanding of subject specific language in non-traditional students.' 12th Annual Durham Blackboard Users' Conference, Durham University, Jan 2012.

'Can I have a word please? Strategies to enhance understanding of subject specific vocabulary for non traditional learners.' Three Rivers Conference, Northumbria University, April 2012.

'Challenging the Western Stereotype: do Chinese international Foundation students learn by rote?' Three Rivers Conference, Northumbria University, April 2012.

'Can I have a word please? – Enhancing understanding of subject specific and general academic language at Foundation level through use of a corpus of student-generated texts.' IALIC Conference, Durham University, December 2012. 

'Challenging the Western stereotype: do Chinese international Foundation students learn by rote?' IALIC Conference, Durham University, December 2012.

'Recycling writing: learning from a corpus of student-generated texts.' 13th Annual Durham Blackboard Users' Conference, Durham University, Jan 2013.

'“Making the invisible visible”: learning from a corpus of student-generated texts.' Talk to Foundation Centre, Feb 2013.

'Recycling Writing: learning from a corpus of student-generated texts.' UALL Conference, Durham University, March 2013.

'"Making the invisible visible": learning from a corpus of student-generated texts.' Internationalising in HE: Making Connection. HEA, London, March 2013.

'“Making the invisible visible”: learning from a corpus of student-generated texts.' Foundation Year Network Conference, July 2013.

'Confidence through Corpora: supporting native speaker EAP with a corpus of student-generated texts.' Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies Symposium, Queen's University Belfast, January 2014.

'Reading from the centre outwards: an evaluation of corpus-based teaching activities.' Scholarship Forum presentation, March 2014.

'Complex Ion or Complexion? Using a corpus of student-generated texts to support international learning at Foundation level.' 3 Rivers Conference, Durham University, March 2014.

'Complex Ion or Complexion? Using a corpus of student-generated texts to support international learning at Foundation Level.' IVACS Conference, Newcastle University, June 2014.

'Development of corpus-based activities to improve the academic writing skills of Chemistry undergraduates.' Durham University Teaching Fellow Network, St Chad's College, September 2014.

'Complex Ion or Complexion? Using a corpus of student-generated texts to support international learning at Foundation Level.' InForm Conference, Reading University, July 2015.

'Data Driven Learning to aid Transition to Higher Education.' Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship Conference, Durham University, July 2015.

'Supporting Transition through Peer Mentoring.' Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship Conference, Durham University, July 2015.

'Write on the edge: corpus-based teaching activities to support student writing in unfamiliar genres.' Inform Conference, Durham University, July 2016.

'Write on the edge: corpus-based teaching activities to support student writing in unfamiliar genres.' Durham University Learning and Teaching Conference, September 2016.

'FOCUS project: Using a corpus to develop online student activities.' 17th annual Durham University Blackboard Users' Conference, January 2017.

'FOCUS project: Using a corpus to develop online student activities.' Three Rivers Conference, Teesside University, March 2017.

'Using corpora in EAP: Online activities supporting Sport student lab reports.' BAAL Corpus SIG Symposium, March 2017.

'Using Xerte online toolkit corpus-based teaching activities to support Sport and Education students writing in unfamilar genres'. Durham University Learning and Teaching Conference, September 2017.

'Using Data Driven Learning to support students writing in unfamiliar genres'. Coventry University, BAAL Corpus SIG Symposium, June 2018.

'Write on the Edge: Using corpus-based teaching activities to support students writing in unfamiliar genres'. York St John University, BAAL Conference, September 2018.

'Fostering cohort identity in a Combined Honours degree programme' Durham University Learning and Teaching conference, September 2018.

 Grants and Awards

  • 2008/09: Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award (£10,000)
  • 2012: HEA/UKCISA award to assess online concordancing tools (£5,370)
  • 2012: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - Pre Arrival Portal project (£5,200)
  • 2012: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - The FOCUS project (£5,050)
  • 2012: HEA award to develop teaching activities for the FOCUS project (£5,000)
  • 2013: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - FOCUS diagnostics (£5,000)
  • 2013: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - Pre Arrival Portal project (£5,200)
  • 2013: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - Peer Mentoring Project (£4,000)
  • 2014: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - Language support project for final year UG Chemistry students (£4,200)
  • 2015: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - Corpus based teaching activity development project (£16,000)
  • 2017: Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award - PICNIC project on student exchange (£3,000)

Indicators of Esteem

  • IELTS examiner: I certified as an IELTS examiner in 2006 and continued in this role until 2010. I am due to recertificate.

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Nolan, S.J., Bruce, M.L. & Leech, S. (2016). Engendering an Online Community: Supporting Students on the Transition into University Life. In Widening Participation, Higher Education and Non-Traditional Students: Supporting Transitions through Foundation Programmes. Marshall, C.A., Nolan, S.J. & Newton, D.P. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Bruce, M.L., Rees, S.W. & Wilson, J.M. (2016). Language issues facing non-traditional students: some problems and solutions. In Widening Participation, Higher Education and Non-Traditional Students: Supporting Transitions through Foundation Programmes. Marshall, C.A., Nolan, S.J. & Newton, D.P. Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal Article

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