Behind the Scenes: Shaping Bluente's Curriculum with Shao Ting

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of Bluente’s curriculum, and how the content of our courses are formed? In this blogpost, we’re featuring Shao Ting, the Curriculum and Content Head of Bluente! Let’s get to know more about how she manages Bluente’s business Chinese curriculum and content, and find out just how complicated planning each course’s content can be. Continue reading to learn more about her personal aspirations and passion for languages.

What’s your role in Bluente?

I’m currently the curriculum head in Bluente, but I was previously also involved in the content team. I basically churn out the linguistic side of things and think about how we can help our learners get more out of Bluente.

So... What’s the difference between the content and curriculum team?

The content team decides what we want to teach the users, while the curriculum side decides how we teach our users.

The content team creates all of a course’s content from scratch, from the list of key terms, to the examples for these key terms, and questions.

The curriculum team dictates what type of questions are used in our courses, and what skills we focus on teaching the users — such as if a question we’re creating involves more listening, reading, etc.

Our content team is actually one of the largest teams in Bluente as we churn out a high volume of content, with each course averaging around 70-100 keywords. For every keyword, we need to write the definition and the examples, which are then converted into different question types. Most of this work is usually done in Chinese first, and then translated into English. Each team member in the content team is in charge of a different step and a different course and we have multiple courses going on at the same time.

How would you describe the journey with Bluente so far?

I was one of the earliest people to join the team and I've found it to be a pretty fascinating process — to see something you were first talking about in conversation actually take shape from scratch. We built Bluente up bit by bit, from a wordlist to a course, to our beta and with new features coming together, and finally its launch with real users. It’s the first time for me being in a startup and creating a product, so all in all I’ve found this experience fascinating and meaningful. I hope that as a language tool, Bluente will help to connect more people in the world.

What are some of your most memorable projects/milestones with Bluente?

I think it’s definitely our very first course: Financial Statements. I’ve never studied economics before, whether it was in Junior College or University, so when I worked on this course I had to study a lot about it in both English and Chinese which was a huge challenge. This milestone I reached wasn’t just about it being the very first course I ever created, but it was also about learning about a field that I was a complete stranger to. We also worked closely with other teams like Tech to bring the course to life in the app, and in the process figured out our workflow and guidelines moving forward.

How did you end up in Japan and when did your love for Japanese culture grow?

I've always had an interest in languages, so I decided to take Japanese for my GCE ‘A’ Levels since I had the opportunity to take up a third language. I had the opportunity to go for a homestay in Japan where my host family showed me how lovely Japanese people can be, and how beautiful Japan is. I also worked at a translation company reporting to a team in Tokyo before my current job. It was through these collective experiences where my love for Japan grew, and from there I decided that I wanted to live there and go deeper into the language. I left the translation industry to combine my love for Japan and languages, and moved to Japan to become an English teacher, making use of my master’s degree in second language acquisition and applied linguistics.

What do you hope to see for Bluente in the future?

I always believe that language is a tool that connects people, so I do hope that Bluente will be a really meaningful and useful part of every business professional’s toolbox.

What are some of the curriculum plans that we can expect to see in Bluente over the next few months?

There won’t be huge changes to the curriculum, but we do expect to fine tune it based on user feedback. As for content, you can look forward to courses in different fields like business fundamentals, marketing, project management and more!

Do you have any quotes that you live by?

I believe that language is alive, and is a living thing that connects people.

What are some tips you have for other people looking to work in other countries?

Instead of giving tips, I actually just want to rave about the pros of working/living in a different country. I really believe that living in another country helps you to understand the World beyond your own, and a lot of people don’t realise this — but I found that living in a foreign community actually helps you to look back and understand your own even more. I’ve actually learnt more about Singapore when I’m away from Singapore, interestingly enough. My strong suggestion is that if you have the opportunity to, do go out there and live or work overseas. Or at least travel! Always keep your eyes peeled and keep an open mind and heart.

What are your future aspirations outside of Bluente?

I hope to be able to help more people realise the importance of getting in touch with languages, which is one of the reasons why I'm very passionate about my teaching in Japan. I love it when I see kids realise how fun learning English can be, because it is a bridge to the outside world.

What languages do you speak?

I speak English, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, some French, and conversational Korean. I want to master the literacy skills in Korean like writing and reading.

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