PhD studentship: Online development and assessment of deaf learners’ English literacy

Our colleagues at the International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies (iSLanDS), University of Central Lancashire, are offering the following PhD studentship.

Reference Number: RS/14/02

Applications are invited for a full time PhD (via MPhil). The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years full-time for a PhD (via MPhil route) [subject to satisfactory progress] and is open to both Home, EU and International applicants. The bursary will cover the cost of tuition fees at the Home/EU rate plus a maintenance grant of £3000 per year. International Applicants may apply but will be required to fund the difference between Home/EU and International Fees. The successful applicant will commence on 1 October 2014.

Project Title – Online development and assessment of deaf learners’ English literacy

Project Description
The iSLanDS Institute is pleased to invite applicants for a full-time PhD studentship focusing on the assessment of deaf learners’ literacy and the development of a virtual learning environment for the acquisition of written English by deaf Indians.

English language literacy for deaf communities is a strategic growth area for the iSLanDS Institute. There is an emerging recognition of the valuable role of sign bilingualism, and pedagogy relying on the medium of signed languages, in the development of deaf people’s English literacy. The Institute has considerable experience in creating online resources for language teaching, including a pilot project in which we established an English Learning Platform for deaf students. The studentship holder will make a substantial contribution to both the applied work and to the theoretical base surrounding the development of deaf literacy, by empirically determining how to perform more accurate assessments of deaf learners’ English language levels.

In summary, the studentship holder will play a key role in our work on deaf literacy by concentrating on the following:

1) research on content design for a virtual learning environment aimed at teaching English to deaf sign language users in India and at least one other country;
2) analysis of the English language output from these learners against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Applications are invited from candidates with a postgraduate degree at MA level. We will prioritise sign language users, but given the limited pool of people who are proficient in a sign language, we will also consider non-signers who are willing to learn sign language during their time at UCLan.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Professor Ulrike Zeshan email:

Requests for an application pack (quoting the reference number RS1402) should be directed to the Research Student Registry. Tel: 01772 895082 or email:

Closing Date: 23rd May 2014
Provisional Interview Date: 20th June 2014


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