Advanced Listening and Vocabulary Development

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EFS 693B: Advanced Listening and Vocabulary Development, Fall 2016
Section 1: Wednesdays 8:30-10:20, 260-011
Section 4: Thursdays 8:30-10:20, 160-B35

Phil Hubbard  260-302G 
Course website:

Introduction. EFS 693B is an advanced course in listening that can serve as a follow-up to EFS 693A or as an additional opportunity for you to work on listening and vocabulary development simultaneously. The course materials reflect both academic and non-academic language, but with more emphasis on the latter. In particular, we will be looking to significantly improve your ability to understand English language media such as radio, TV, and movies, and in particular the online versions of these.

Course Description. The class will meet as a group once a week for two hours. Note that this differs from other EFS courses that meet twice a week. An important reason for this once-a-week model is that listening is most effective when it is controlled by the listener, so the majority of your listening activities will be done outside of class.

During class time we will discuss strategies for listening effectively, review the previous week's material and introduce new material for classroom practice and discussion, some of which will be completed independently in the following week. In addition to providing regular listening practice, a significant focus of the course is to help you become more efficient listeners and language learners through the application of techniques and strategies. Homework includes computer-based listening and vocabulary development tasks and individual listening/vocabulary projects. You should anticipate an average of 7 hours of homework per week, ideally distributed so that you are doing some listening or vocabulary work every day.

Individual Projects.  You will have an individual project (or projects) aimed at improving some specific area of your listening. You will report on this regularly through email and in class--this will typically be about half of your weekly homework. You will also meet with me individually at least three times during the quarter to discuss the individual projects and progress. Additional meetings may be arranged by mutual agreement.

Assessment. Assessment will be ongoing through class quizzes, feedback on individual projects, and face-to-face meetings, where you will be quizzed on your knowledge of words and phrases you have chosen to learn. At the end of the course, you will have two exams: one based on the EFS placement exam, a picture identification test, to provide you with a general proficiency rating and one based on comprehension and interpretation of a short video clip.

Criteria for Passing. EFS 693B is a three-unit course offered on a Satisfactory/No Credit basis, though like other EFS courses it may be taken for one or two units if that is all you have available (the workload is the same). Criteria for receiving the S (Satisfactory) grade include the following.

90% or better class attendance (i.e., you may miss no more than one class)

Active and cooperative participation in class activities

Completion of all homework assignments: note that these assignments are expected to be handed in on time

Completion of independent project assignments

Completion of meetings with the instructor

Schedule of Topics. Below is a tentative schedule of topics for EFS 693B. Note that 1) most of this material will be online (even if it was originally broadcast or presented live) and 2) we may add or delete items from this as the course progresses.

Materials. There is no textbook for the course. All materials are provided by the instructor for free or through the website at Some of the sites linked to have premium services that students may use optionally if they wish.

Listening/vocabulary basics

Learning to listen

Identifying and learning vocabulary

Sound system overview

Understanding accents and dialects


Listening for skills

Listening to improve comprehension

Listening to improve language knowledge

Listening to improve language processing


Listening for entertainment and cultural understanding

Listening to movies

Listening to TV comedies and dramas

The general approach will be to take a particular domain for language and present one or more samples of it. Through those samples, we will discuss strategies for both comprehending the language of that domain more effectively and using practice in that area to improve overall listening proficiency. Behind all of these domains is one area to which you can--and should--devote significant attention: vocabulary. We will regularly work toward increasing both the size of your vocabulary and your ability to deal with new words, making informed decisions about what to take the time to learn.

DISABILITY NOTICE: Students who have a disability which may necessitate an academic accommodation or the use of auxiliary aids and services in a class, must initiate the request with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), located within the Office of Accessible Education (OAE).  The SDRC will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend appropriate accommodations, and prepare a verification letter dated in the current academic term in which the request is being made.  Please contact the SDRC as soon as possible; timely notice is needed to arrange for appropriate accommodations.  The Office of Accessible Education is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone:  723-1066; TDD:  725-1067).

Last modified: September 27, 2016 by Phil Hubbard