BRIDGING THE GAPS: TWO DECADES OF DIGITAL
MULTILINGUAL TOOLS FROM AQUALEX MULTIMEDIA
CONSORTIUM IN THE AQUATIC SCIENCES.
Richard Fitzgerald(1) and Margaret Eleftheriou (1)
(1) AQUALEX Multimedia Consortium Ltd, Dublin, Ireland
The completion of the first AQUALEX LINGUA project in 1995 led to the establish -
ment of the AQUALEX Multimedia Consortium (AMC) Ltd. In 1996. The new not-for-
profit company was thus able to commercialise the project’s main deliverable, a glossary
of agreed aquaculture terms and definitions in English, French, German and Greek. Its
range of terms covered the cultured species, their biology, the farm environment and
farm products, as well as the equipment used in aquaculture.
The mission of the strongly-motivated AMC Board was to make publicly available top-
quality multilingual aquatic science resource materials in an appropriate format. In 1996,
it was axiomatic that a peer-reviewed academic publication was the best way to achieve
this. Consequently the company secured its first contract with John Wiley and Sons
(New York), resulting in the 1997 publication of the multilingual AQUALEX glossary
(1). In the meantime, print was in the process of losing its Gold Standard status. Seeing
what lay ahead, the AMC Board presented a digitized version of the glossary at the Inter-
national Association of Marine Science Libraries Conference (Southampton 1995) (2).
A prescient decision: the future Wiley contract was to stipulate that the AQUALEX
package was to include a CD-ROM with native speaker recordings of every item.
From this modest beginning, AMC Ltd has continued for 20 years to pursue its aim of
providing high-quality aquatic science content, designing and developing multimedia
tools to help young students to acquire knowledge and experience in their chosen field or
speciality in a variety of European languages important in aquaculture production. The
AMC tools can also help more mature scientists to improve their communication skills,
something vitally important in today’s competitive scientific community.
One factor enabling AMC Ltd to keep abreast of the rapid pace of change in European
HE and VET education, was its position as a founding member of the AQUA-TNET
ERASMUS Thematic Network, from its 1996 debut to its conclusion in 2014 (3). As a
Workpackage Leader AMC Ltd was well placed to understand the implications of the
changes in store for European education structures enshrined in the six main objectives
of the Bologna Communiqué’ (1999) (4) The AMC reports on successive Bologna
developments were circulated to all AQUA-TNET members via the network website. At
the start of the new millennium, described by Owen et al. (2001) (5) the educational
changes triggered by Bologna’s initial two-cycle system spread slowly through Europe.
As a result, there was renewed emphasis on student learning needs. But to be effective,
student-centred learning demands new methods, new techniques and new technologies.
The digital way forward
AMC’s first venture into CD-ROM production in 1997 had signalled its readiness to
enter the new digital world of teaching and learning. From 1998 onwards, AMC Ltd.
strove to produce a range of training technologies capable of meeting the needs and ex -
pectations of learners. The company produced a CD-ROM, (Basic Techniques for Fish
Haematology, 1998) (6), a useful tool for students to learn how to detect fish diseases. In
1999 AMC launched its website www.aqualex.org, which hosted 7 AQUALEX glossar-
ies, increasing its language to include Italian, Spanish, Norwegian.
These milestone achievements, funded by the EU LEONARDO da VINCI programme,
enabled the company from 2000 to 2003 to further expand its range of multilingual
aquatic science course materials, and to promote these in workshops held in
Szczecin( Poland), Copenhagen, Ostend, Cork and Glasgow.
In 2005, as part of the marine science Virtual Learning Environment ORION project,
AMC Ltd. created a multilingual marine pollution glossary (English, Greek, Portuguese,
Swedish). Marine ecology courses presented as online Learning Objects were in the
ORION portal along with AMC’s asynchronous language packages in English, Greek,
Portuguese and Swedish at CEFR A and B levels.
The AMC Board continued to draw on its considerable and wide-ranging education and
aquaculture experts to create new fish health and fish disease course content materials
within the LdV PESCALEX projects. These projects piloted the Content and Language
Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Vocationally Oriented Language Learning (VOLL)
methodologies, intended to fast-track learning and retention of content in the targeted
languages. These innovative learning methodologies were tested at workshops in France
(2008) (7) and Spain (2010) where teams of aquaculture students carried out Language
Game activities leading to successful written and spoken presentations in a previously
unknown language. In 2010 AMC Ltd, as a new deliverable in the Pescalex 1 LdV
project, created a third multilingual glossary of fish diseases terms and definitions
(Pescalex). At the same time, a second website (www.pescalex.org) was constructed to
house not only the three glossaries, but also new fish disease content material concerning
Fish Pathology (sea bass, turbot, carp, rainbow trout), Basic Techniques in Fish
Haematology, Cost-effective feeding of fish, Fish Health Manual in English, French,
Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish. These were
programmed in sections so as to be usable as versatile online resources for individuals
and those in blended learning courses.
Over two decades, thousands of students and course developers have used AMC’s
multilingual multimedia materials and language learning lessons, consulted its free
online glossaries, participated in its workshops and played its unique Language Games.
What are the future prospects for AMC Ltd and its rich resource materials?
With e-learning content rapidly gaining ground in academic institutions, and the
proliferation of MOOCS courses, AMC Ltd has re-organised its multilingual course
materials in three standalone sections in order to allow partner institutions and others to
take full advantage of its wide selection of available materials, any or all of which could
be used in blended learning courses. The three standalone components are:
i) instant desktop access to high-quality glossaries for aquaculture, fish diseases and
marine pollution in 13 languages (English, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian, German,
Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Turkish, Portuguese, Swedish and Galician;
ii) e-learning course materials in those European languages important for the aquatic
sciences, in online, Word and Pdf formats. Subjects cover Fish Pathology (sea bass,
turbot, carp, rainbow trout), Basic Techniques in Fish Haematology, Cost-effective
feeding of fish in aquaculture, Quality Assurance Manual for promoting fish health and
Marine Pollution. These are variously available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese,
Norwegian, Polish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish;
iii) self-instructional online language modules at beginner and basic levels available
online in English, French, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish,
Swedish and Turkish.
AMC Ltd has confronted the immense changes that have taken place in teaching and
learning methods in the last 20 years, and is ready to face up to the changes yet in store.
1. Eleftheriou M. (1997). AQUALEX: Glossary of Aquaculture Terms, in English,
French, German, Greek (Editor).John Wiley & Sons Ltd., New York. 397p.
2. Eleftheriou, M. (1995).The AQUALEX Project. Across the Waves: The world as a
multimedia experience. Proc. 21st Conf. Int. IAMSLIC Conf, Southampton, England,
October 1995.Eds. Markham J. W. and Duda A.L., 21-27 pp.
3. Eleftheriou, M. (2015) AQUA-TNET Thematic Network: an 18-year chronicle of de-
velopment and achievement in European aquaculture education. Springer 4.
Bologna (1999). European Higher Education Area: Joint Declaration of Ministers re-
sponsible for Higher Education, 19 June 1999.
5. Eleftheriou, M. & L.Owen (1999). Basic Techniques in Fish Haematology: Proc. DE-
METER Conf.: Designing Virtual Learning Environments for agriculture and related sci-
ences, Copenhagen, 18-20 June 1998. Eds:De Waha, T. &Heath, S. 63-69.
6. Owen, L., Fitzgerald, R., Eleftheriou, M. (1999) Education & Training in Aquaculture
for the New Millennium. AQUATT, Dublin, 99pp.
7. Eleftheriou, M & Frago-Lago L. (2010). Multilingual online tools for aquaculture;
boosting language learning and exchange of knowledge from the VET level. CLIL Conf,
30 Sept 2010 Eichstatt, Germany.