Learning and technology: Master in Bilingualism Studies graduate receives fellowship and Presidential Excellence Award from Purdue University

Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute

By Karen Massey

Communications and marketing agent, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute

Karen Massey
Farhad Roodi
Farhad Roodi, graduate of the MA in Bilingualism Studies
Nothing can stop Farhad Roodi (’20), a graduate of the Master of Arts (MA) in Bilingualism Studies program, offered exclusively at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, from pursuing his passions.

In August 2023, Farhad will begin a PhD in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University in Indiana. He chose this program because of his passion for educational technology and gamification for learning. His MA in Bilingualism Studies at OLBI had already allowed him to explore the topic.

Farhad’s journey is an unusual one. Originally from Iran, he pursued a bachelor’s in English translation studies (2010) from Azad University in that country. This soon sparked a keen interest in language learning. Farhad completed a master’s in teaching English (TESOL) (2014) from Sharif University of Technology, also in Iran. Before coming to uOttawa, he lived in Istanbul, Turkey, as well. During his studies, he has met professors who have left their mark on him, a path distinguished by its excellence.

Awards and funding from Purdue

This spring, Farhad received a full fellowship from Purdue. Moreover, he was nominated for an additional distinction, the Presidential Excellence Award, in recognition of his impressive qualifications, “These awards hold great significance for me as they alleviate the financial burden associated with pursuing my education. With my expenses covered, I can now fully concentrate on my research and academic endeavours. This opportunity is a dream come true, and the financial aid provided allows me to pursue my aspirations with greater ease. I am incredibly grateful for these honours, as they enable me to turn my ambitions into reality,” Farhad says.

Nikolay Slavkov and Farhad Roodi

Great minds think alike

During his MA in Bilingualism Studies, Farhad worked as a research assistant on the Linguistic-Risk Taking Initiative for Professor Nikolay Slavkov, Director of the Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning (CCERBAL). This laid the foundation for his current research on the use of play for educational purposes.

Farhad believes his involvement with the Linguistic Risk-Taking Initiative facilitated his admission to Purdue. Dr. William Watson, his supervisor at Purdue, has conducted research on the use of a curated passport for learners, similar to OLBI’s Linguistic Risk-Taking Passport.

Regarding his work with Professor Slavkov, Farhad describes the experience as “truly unforgettable. He proved to be an incredibly supportive and helpful mentor throughout my journey. His guidance and encouragement played a vital role in enabling me to explore the vast possibilities within the field and ultimately choose the specific aspect that captivated my interest. His mentorship empowered me to delve deeper into my chosen area and discover new avenues of knowledge and growth. I am immensely grateful for his invaluable support and the impact he had on shaping my path.” Overall, the combination of his field practice, academic achievements and stellar grade point average strengthened his candidacy.  

Farhad’s experience as an international student has provided him with valuable insights, and he’s confident in his ability to adapt to a new academic environment, embrace different cultures and make the most of this opportunity.

Homecoming career goals

Farhad is particularly interested in exploring personalized learning, to investigate the role of educational technology in empowering learners, fostering autonomy and maximizing their education. He would like to develop approaches that enhance and optimize the learning experience of language learners.

After his PhD, Farhad hopes to contribute to both OLBI and the Faculty of Education at uOttawa through research and teaching, to support the success of learners in the technology era.

Farhad Roodi

Fostering learning in an interconnected world

According to Farhad, the role of culture in the second language classroom is increasingly prominent due to technology, which has amplified the impact of multiculturalism and multilingualism. In today's interconnected world, language learners are exposed to a multitude of cultures and languages through digital platforms and communication tools.

Integrating culture in the second language classroom helps students navigate this global landscape, promoting cultural sensitivity and openness. By embracing technology to explore diverse cultural perspectives and engage with authentic resources, learners can develop the necessary skills to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and multilingual society. Farhad’s ultimate goal is to contribute to the success of learners by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the modern world.