SOAS University of London

Curriculum Development Open Sessions (CuDOS)


CuDOS was developed in 2008 by Michalis Sivvas, LWW CETL Curriculum Specialist and Learning Advisor, to provide a focus for curriculum development and innovation in language courses at SOAS, and to encourage cooperation across language departments at SOAS. The CuDOS Group has now been integrated with the Centre for Language Pedagogy, in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures, SOAS.


CuDOS Group was a 'support group' of professionals involved in language teaching at SOAS with an interest in curriculum design, development, and innovation for language courses. The group encouraged the sharing of information and of good practices, functioning as a curriculum development resource for SOAS teachers.

Central to the group activities were informal sessions, held about twice a term, drawing on our own professional experience, theoretical frameworks, and relevant educational policies. Teachers were invited to lead sessions such as curriculum design initiatives that have worked in their context, or on issues on which they needed support and ideas from colleagues in other departments. For examples of themes discussed, please refer to the list of meetings given below.

CuDOS was an ‘open’ group to anyone involved in language teaching at SOAS or UCL. Members of the group included: Michalis Sivvas, Jo Eastlake, Dr Lianyi Song, Dr Noriko Iwasaki, Rakesh Nautiyal, Kazumi Tanaka, Sallehuddin bin Abdullah Sani, Naresh Sharma, Christine Sas, Yousef Omar, Nathan Hill, Dr Lucien Brown. Michalis’s role was to coordinate and lead some of the group activities, invite speakers from other universities, provide summaries of our discussions, and advise stakeholders at SOAS on the group’s suggestions and initiatives.


Meeting 1: The place of language skills in the curriculum

Wednesday 19th November 2008
Led by: Michalis Sivvas (LWW CETL)

What is the place of practical language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) in our language courses in terms of teaching, learning, and assessment? Participating members were invited to give a brief overview of practices in their courses. LWW CETL staff presented the place of practical language skills in extra-curricular activities organised by the department. We shared our experiences, and investigated whether there were opportunities for further development. We also looked at and discussed key relevant policy documents.
Documents: Minutes (19NOV08), Resources (19NOV09), Recommendations (19NOV09)

Meeting 2: Heritage-language education at SOAS

Thursday 22nd January 2009
Led by: Dr Martin Orwin (SOAS)

The meeting focused on provisions for heritage language learners. Dr Martin Orwin, Senior Lecturer in Somali and Amharic, presented a few facts about heritage learner education in Somali at SOAS. What is the profile of these learners and what support is or could be available for them? Group members and participants were also invited to talk about the challenges in their own departments, while Michalis provided input on practices in other Universities. Actions to support heritage language learners at SOAS were considered.
Documents: Minutes (22JAN09), Resources (22JAN09)

Meeting 3: Independent Learning Skills at SOAS

Tuesday 10 February 2009
Led by: Jonathan Bunt (University of Manchester)

The meeting looked into independent learning skills and their place in language degrees. Jonathan Bunt, Head of East Asian Studies at the University of Manchester, was our guest.  He discussed the Independent Language Learning Programme (an assessed component of the BA in Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester) and talked about how independent and partnership learning is organized and incorporated into assessment, with particular emphasis on face-to-face and video-conferencing based partnerships. CuDOS members had the opportunity to discuss this programme with Jonathan, shared their experience of similar programmes, and investigated further possibilities for the provision and assessment of independent learning skills in our courses.

Meeting 4: Review of CuDOS meetings 1, 2 and 3

Tuesday 24 March 2009
Led by: Michalis Sivvas (LWW CETL)

The meeting reviewed the minutes from CuDOS meetings 1, 2 and 3, and reported on any developments related to these meetings. A  strategy for further CuDOS activities was looked at.
Documents: Minutes (24MAR09)