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Database of Teaching Sources

A database of selected, reviewed, tested, assessed and validated e-learning based language teaching sources addressed to Higher education students for the learning of 18 different European languages.

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Introduzione alla Storia dell'Architettura

Date of Publication


Target Group


Domain Area

Arts & Music
Journalism & multimedia

Learning Scenario

Target Language


Language of Instruction

Any language

CEFR level


Type of Material


Linguistic Features



Critical Thinking


This teaching resource is a MOOC course, organized by Coursera - a web platform founded in 2012 by 2 Stanford University computer science professors - and delivered by Università Politecnico di Milano. Taught by Federico Bucci, professor at Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering – Politecnico di Milano, the course is a journey through the most famous works of some great masters of the twentieth century. It is divided into three weeks, each dedicated to the deepening of a specific theme: the first week presents the masterpieces of the twentieth century - 11 video (64 min) , the second retraces the work of two masters of Italian architectural culture with 13 videos (tot. 95 min), the third leads to the visit of some recent works by the contemporary masters - 10 videos (71 min.). Each week is divided into short lessons presented through videos with transcripts; at the end of each a quiz is proposed to verify the acquired knowledge. For each week there is a forum where the students can comment the contents of the course.

Case study

This introductory course presents some of the key themes of the contemporary art scene that are useful for understanding the characteristics on which today's architecture is based. The speech of the teacher, Prof. Federico Bucci, is characterised by its clarity and discursive effectiveness, in which intonational curves incisively underline the importance and progression of argumentative points. It is therefore a very useful resource for language study combined with disciplinary learning that can be exploited both individually and in groups, both independently and in integrated teaching.
Positive aspects: In the creation of the short expository videos, examples of functional integration of verbal descriptions (available in both oral and written form thanks to transcripts) and iconic descriptions predominate. The latter take the form of photographs, technical drawings, plans, projections, etc. and make it possible to provide an effective illustration of academic speech on graphic text and images. This combination also makes it possible to work easily on sectoral vocabulary, for example by creating specific glossaries, on the ability to understand/produce descriptive text, a predominant type in the text of this discipline, and on some discursive features of the text typical of this specific academic field.
Negative aspects: the forum environment appears to be used more for requests (for clarification or unforeseen functionalities) and generic expressions of appreciation than for targeted disciplinary discussion. In this sense, the course offers few opportunities to observe examples of re-elaboration and reformulation of content, an opportunity that would instead be functional to obtain a better intake and to promote the development of the ability to mediate disciplinary content in linguistic varieties with different degrees of formality and interactivity.


This teaching resource is a very well-organized MOOC for students of Arts and Architecture in Italian. It presents a very high grade of adaptability due to the great range of pedagogical possibilities that it presents. Due to its flexibility, it displays a good usability and accessibility for both students, teachers, interpreters and translators, thus enhancing the motivations to improve their language skills.
Course materials are useful for both formal instruction and self-study, structured around a number of modules, which can be used in a flexible way to suit students’ needs. In addition, this course could be implemented as part of a more comprehensive teaching unit.


Comprehensive approach
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students


Added value
The provided tangible improvements


Motivation enhancement
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills


Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning


Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries


Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning


Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need


Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student


Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student


The course offers a useful point of view for interpreting the events of architecture, or the art of building spaces for our daily life. For what concerns the language competence, this resource has a big potential for both the individual study and for the classroom context since it displays an integrated approach to the development of the students’ language skills. The teacher can also decide to use the materials in a more comprehensive teaching unit in a course aimed at improving not only students’ Language for Specific Purposes skills but also at upgrading their general language competence on the subject of this resource. At last, this resource could be successfully used by interpreters and translators to refresh and upgrade their related vocabulary.
Website of the Teaching Source: