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The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) is pleased to invite students, academics, researchers, and staff from all CIVIS member universities to join in the new Open Online Courses for the spring semester of the academic year 2023-2024.

How to apply

  • How to Apply? You can find the link to the application form below in the description of each course. Please provide your home university/institution email address when completing the application form.
  • We suggest checking with your home university if the ECTS assigned to these Open Online Courses could be recognised as part of your programme of studies or how you can add it to your Diploma Supplement.
  • You can find the deadlines for the applications of each course in the description of each course below.
  • You will receive a confirmation email from NKUA, giving further information about registration and on how to access the course on our digital platform.

The new Open Online Course offered by NKUA is available below.

Course outline

The aim of this course is to provide an overview of the various issues involved in Second Language (L2) and Foreign Language (FL) teaching and learning, with a particular focus on students with atypical development. The course first sets the stage by discussing relevant legislation and official reports. After a brief description of language development in monolingual individuals, subsequent lectures focus on the following neurodevelopmental disorders: hearing impairment, autism spectrum disorder, developmental language disorder. After issues of bilingualism in typical individuals are discussed, evidence on the link between language, literacy and psychosocial difficulties is presented. The role of the bilingual home environment in the language learning experiences of atypical learners is then considered. The course concludes with the perspective of (foreign) language teachers and other professionals (e.g. speech and language therapists, doctors).

Main Topics Addressed

Schedule of the course: Ten 2-hour sessions and two 3-hour sessions at the end of the course (Weeks 11-12).

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Language development & disorders

Week 3: Hearing Impairment

Week 4: Developmental Language Disorder

Week 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Week 6: Language difficulties & Literacy difficulties

Week 7: Language difficulties & Psychosocial difficulties

Week 8: Bilingualism

Week 9: The home environment

Week 10: Professionals’ attitudes and training

Weeks 11-12: Assessment 1 - Student presentations

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • appreciate typical language development,
  • reflect on how L2/FL learning differs from L1 learning in the case of atypical learners,
  • understand the importance of L2/FL learning for atypical learners,
  • explore the characteristics of specific cases of neurodevelopmental disorders,
  • appreciate the importance of the home environment on child language development and the specific issues arising in bilingual families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders,
  • demonstrate knowledge of how social factors can influence the language learning experiences of atypical learners,

evaluate how professionals’ attitudes and training can influence the language learning experiences of atypical learners and the choices made by their parents.

Practical Details

  • CIVIS Focus Area: Society, Culture, Heritage
  • Open to: BA, MA students
  • Course Dates: A maximum of 15 international CIVIS students will be accepted in the course in a total of 30 students.
  • Dates: March – June
  • Field of Studies: Social Sciences and Humanities
  • ECTS: 4
  • Format: Virtual 
  • Weekly study: 5 hours
  • Language: English (B2)  
  • Instructor’s email address:


This virtual course is open to BA and MA students at one of the eleven CIVIS member universities, with an advanced level and/or a Bachelor's/ Master degree in Languages, Linguistics, Special Education or Psychology. A B2 level of English is required. Lectures, students' presentations, and discussions will be in English.

Course Assessment

  • Individual student presentation of a research article (duration 20 min), 30%
  • Final written assignment (1.500 words), 70%


Dr. Evangelia Kyritsi is a member of the Laboratory Teaching Staff at the Department of Linguistics (Faculty of Philology), National Kapodistrian University of Athens. She holds a PhD in Clinical Linguistics (School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading), an MA in Clinical Linguistic Research (School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading) and a BA in English Language and Literature. She has work experience teaching English as a foreign language to students with hearing impairment, autism spectrum disorders, language disorders and intellectual disability.

Evaluation criteria 

If the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available, a choice will be made on the basis of applicants’ CV and motivation, as expressed on the application form.

Application process

Read more about students’ experience from last year’s edition of the course and apply!

“This course offers a deep insight on the differences that exist between typical and atypical learners in second language acquisition. It also allowed me to reflect on the cultural implications of the decision to pursue a bilingual education or not, which especially affects atypical learners and their families. With the growing number of bilingual and multilingual people all over the world, I recommend this course to anyone who wishes to have a greater understanding of the necessities of atypical second language learners, whether your focus is in a more educational or clinical area”. - M. G. Student at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Applicants should fill-in the online application form and submit it by 10th March 2024.