The Role of the Teacher in Telecollaboration
Belz, J. A., & Müller–Hartmann, A. (2003). Teachers as Intercultural Learners: Negotiating German-American Telecollaboration along the Institutional Fault Line. The Modern Language Journal, 87(1), 71-89.
This article examines how social, cultural, and institutional affordances and constraints in a telecollaborative foreign language learning partnership shape the agency of online teachers. In particular, it details how various aspects of schools and schooling impact the negotiation, execution, and management of a German–American virtual course from the perspectives of the teachers. These aspects include: the misalignment of academic calendars, local patterns of socialization into the teaching profession, institution–specific classroom scripts, systems of learning assessment, student workloads, and the physical layouts of local institutions and social forms of classroom collaboration. The article presents a self–reflective case study of our 10–month electronic negotiation, execution, and management of a German–American telecollaborative partnership within the constructivist paradigm of social realism. Using Agar’s (1994) notion of the linguistic rich point and examining patterns of communication, specific lexical items, and grammatical structures, the study uncovers how the culturally varying nature of schools and schooling is linguistically encoded in the texts of electronic correspondence.
Dooly, M. (2010). Teacher 2.0. In S. Guth & F. Helm (Eds.), Telecollaboration 2.0. Language, Literacies and Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century (pp. 277-303). Bern: Peter Lang.
Melchor-Couto, S., & Jauregi, K. (2016). Teacher competences for telecollaboration: the role of coaching. In S. Jager, M. Kurek & B. O’Rourke (Eds), New directions in telecollaborative research and practice: selected papers from the second conference on telecollaboration in higher education (pp. 185-192). Dublin: Research-publishing.net
This paper explores the role of coaching in enhancing teachers’ key competences for integrating Telecollaboration (TC) in their language course. A total of 23 secondary school teachers participated in this case study as part of the EU-funded project TILA. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered via two surveys, the first one measuring coaching satisfaction and a second one tackling teacher competences. The results show that teachers highly value coaching to integrate complex pedagogical innovations in their teaching. Participants reported that coaching contributed to an improvement of key competences necessary to implement TC exchanges successfully.
O’Dowd, R. (2013). The competences of the telecollaborative teacher. The Language Learning Journal, 43(2), 194-207.
Telecollaboration, or ‘online intercultural exchange’ (OIE), refers to the application of online communication tools to bring together classes of language learners in geographically distant locations with the aim to develop their foreign language skills and intercultural competence through collaborative tasks and project work. Many studies have demonstrated the potential of this activity for supporting collaborative learning and developing intercultural awareness. This article focuses on the implications for teachers and addresses the question: what are the skills, attitudes and knowledge which a foreign language teacher needs to establish and successfully carry out an online intercultural exchange with their learners? To answer this question, the paper presents research based on the Delphi technique, consulting a large group of ‘experts’ and ‘experienced practitioners’ and achieving a gradual consensus on the necessary telecollaborative skills, knowledge and attitudes. The final set of competences is presented and problematic issues related to the model are discussed with reflections on the comments from the experts who participated in the study.
O’Dowd, R. (2015). Supporting in-service language educators in learning to telecollaborate. Language Learning & Technology, 19(1), 63-82.
The importance of teachers’ capacity to integrate and exploit computer mediated communication (CMC) in the foreign language classroom has been recognised by many of the leading publications in foreign language teacher education, including the European Profile for Language Teacher Education (2004) and the European portfolio for student teachers of foreign languages (EPOSTL) (2007). One of the essential CMC activities in foreign language education is undoubtedly telecollaboration. This is the application of online communication tools to connect classes of language learners in geographically distant locations with the aim of developing their foreign language skills and intercultural competence through collaborative tasks and project work (O’Dowd, 2007). This paper begins by presenting a model of competences for the telecollaborative teacher, which has been developed and verified by this author (2013) using the Delphi technique. The paper then presents UNICollaboration (www.unicollaboration.eu), an online platform, which has been developed reflecting these competences and a sociocultural approach to teacher education. Following that, the findings of four qualitative case studies of novice telecollaborators are used to inform the design of tools and training courses for educators in this complex activity of online foreign language education.
Ware, P. D., & Kramsch, C. (2005). Toward an Intercultural Stance: Teaching German and English through Telecollaboration. The Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 190-205.
We discuss the challenges of Web-based teaching for language teachers and then describe in detail an extended episode of misunderstanding that occurred between 2 students discussing their versions of history during a classroom-based, asynchronous telecollaborative project between learners of German in the United States and learners of English in Germany. We argue that discussion of such moments of miscommunication can be valuable learning opportunities for both students and teachers. They open up for explicit discussion what usually remains invisible in cross-cultural communication: the nature of the subject matter, the conditions of cross-linguistic exchanges, the nature of language as discourse, and the goals of foreign language education. Our analysis suggests that as students explore the nature of language and communication across cultures through their technology-mediated interactions, teachers are pivotal in helping them take an intercultural stance.
English, K., Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language Culture: The CULTURA Project. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 55-102.
This paper presents a Web-based, cross-cultural, curricular initiative entitled Cultura, designed to develop foreign language students’ understanding of foreign cultural attitudes, concepts, beliefs, and ways of interacting and looking at the world. Our focus will be on the pedagogy of electronic media, with particular emphasis on the ways in which the Web can be used to reveal those invisible aspects of a foreign culture, thereby giving a voice to the elusive “silent language” and empowering students to construct their own approach to cross-cultural literacy. We examine these new areas of cultural knowledge which the Web now renders accessible and attempt to redefine the meaning of foreign language “teaching” in the new world of networked communication. This article is written by four of the instructors who have been using Cultura in their classes, two of them teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and two at the Institut National des Télécommunications in Evry, France (one has since changed universities). This “four-voiced” approach serves to illustrate the multi-faceted aspects of the project and the different types of readings to which Cultura lends itself, and explains the shifts in perspective the reader will encounter. Cultura was first developed in the summer of 1997. Since then we have continued to experiment with and develop it, using it in university level courses. Last year, it was used experimentally at the secondary school level as well. This particular paper focuses mostly on the work done during the spring and fall semesters of 1999 between MIT and INT.
Furstenberg, G. (2005). Using Communication Tools to Foster Cross-Cultural Understanding. In I. Thompson & D. Hiple (Eds.), Selected papers from the 2004 NFLRC Symposium: Distance Education, Distributed Learning, and Language Instruction Symposium. Honolulu: National Foreign Language Resource Center.
Today when people are more and more likely to interact and work with members of other cultures, a new educational priority is fast emerging, namely the need for educators to provide students with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively across different cultures. Language teachers are in an excellent position to play a large role in this endeavor since they teach both language and culture. However, more often than not, culture is relegated to the background of language classes, while the development of linguistic competence occupies front stage. The main thrust of the project described here is to reverse this equation and make culture the core of a language class, focusing on the development of students’ in-depth understanding of a foreign culture. The Cultura project, started in 1997 at MIT has been designed to develop cross-cultural understanding between French and American cultures, but since it is essentially a methodology it is applicable to the exploration of any two cultures, and versions in other languages have been developed elsewhere. This paper will (1) set up the background and the context of Cultura; (2) define its goals and approach; (3) show how web-based resources and electronic communication tools connect and intersect in order to meet these objectives; (4) show how the use of these tools is bound to change the way culture is taught in the classroom. The general focus throughout this article will be on the process that enables students to gradually and collaboratively construct and refine their understanding of the other culture both in and outside of class. Specific examples will be given of how students, with the help of their peers and the teacher, gradually develop into what Byram (1996) calls the “intercultural learner.”
Furstenberg, G., & English, K. (2016). Cultura revisited. Language Learning and Technology, 20 (2), 172–178.
Two of the original authors of “Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language of Culture: The Cultura Project,” published in Language Learning & Technology in 2001, look back on the origin of the Cultura project, its goals, and the approach and materials used. Their commentary then focuses on the features and the methodology that made Cultura a pioneer in web-based, intercultural exchanges for foreign language instruction. The components that may account for Cultura’s longevity are its clear pedagogical design and the contrastive process which nurtures student involvement, both online and in the classroom. One of the best-known and frequently replicated features of Cultura is the introduction of intercultural, on-line questionnaires. However, the authors feel that limiting the use of Cultura to those questionnaires is not only reductionist but it can also be counterproductive because, when used alone, the questionnaires accentuate a simplistic, binary approach to culture. Understanding another culture requires that students explore a large variety of other materials and articulate a multiplicity of viewpoints, undertaking the analysis of even the most contradictory ones. Given the numerous Web 2.0 social networking tools which have since been developed, it can be hoped that some of Cultura, particularly its asynchronous forums and the unique features that have given it its enduring appeal and strength, will be preserved.
Byram, M. (2000). Assessing intercultural competence in language teaching. Sprogforum, 18(6), 8‐13
Byram, M. (2009). Intercultural competence in foreign languages: the intercultural speaker and the pedagogy of foreign language education. In The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence, ed. D.K. Deardorff, 321–32. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Byram. M. (2014). Twenty-five years on – from cultural studies to intercultural citizenship. Language, Culture and Curriculum. 27(3), 209-225.
At the editor’s invitation this article was written as an analysis of the development of the intercultural dimension of foreign language teaching over the last 25 years. It is in part a personal reflection based on an article written for this journal 25 years ago, but it also draws on comments and insights from a network of researchers with whom the author has worked over much of the period in question. Four areas are selected for comment: ‘the value of cultural studies’, ‘pedagogy and didactics’, ‘methodology’ and ‘assessment and evaluation’. It is argued that in the intervening period, the value of a cultural or intercultural dimension in language teaching has been widely recognised in policy documents and approaches to pedagogy developed. The picture with respect to methods of teaching for intercultural competence is mixed and the question of assessment remains insufficiently developed. Looking forward, the conclusion is that the most important area for development is in teacher education. There is still a lack of understanding among teachers with respect to the significance of intercultural competence and its relationship to linguistic competence.
Borghetti, C. (2013). Integrating intercultural and communicative objectives in the foreign language class: a proposal for the integration of the two model. The Language Learning Journal. 41(3), 254-267.
The ‘intercultural turn’ of the 1990s brought about the introduction of the terms ‘Foreign Language Education’ and ‘Intercultural Foreign Language Education’ (IFLE) in place of ‘language teaching’. These terms broaden the aims of language education to include students’ intercultural competence (IC), personal growth and intercultural critical citizenship. This educational broadening of language teaching horizons raises controversial issues, particularly concerning the relationship between intercultural and communicative objectives at both curriculum and methodology levels. This relationship, crucial since teaching a foreign language is clearly a priority for IFLE, is explored in the present article through a proposal to integrate two models: the Methodological Model of Intercultural Competence (MetMIC) and the Teaching Unit Model (TUM). These two frameworks, each within its own area of application (intercultural education in the case of MetMIC and foreign language teaching in the case of TUM) are focused on curriculum planning and offer methodological suggestions for teachers. Their integration, as suggested in this article, can be carried out on three levels: general and educational, ‘macro’ or curricular, and ‘micro’ or methodological. It allows for the coherent implementation of intercultural and communicative objectives through theoretically-informed methodological choices relating to curriculum structure and teaching methodologies.
Chun, D.M. (2015) Language and culture learning in higher education via telecollaboration. Pedagogies: An International Journal. 10(1), pages 5-21.
This article focuses on the ways of researching the process of designing, developing, and using telecollaboration (also known as online intercultural exchange) to facilitate the learning of both linguistic and intercultural communicative competence (ICC) in higher education courses in different educational contexts in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Although telecollaboration would intuitively seem to be an ideal medium for learning another language and about another culture, extensive research has shown that this learning process takes years and faces many challenges. This paper situates the research on language and culture learning within the broader scope of language and intercultural education. A multinational example of the integration of telecollaborative networks in European university language classes collaborating online, the INTENT project, is described. In addition, a telling case, the Cultura model, implemented in the United States, Europe, and Asia, demonstrates a successful approach (with accompanying research) to telecollaboration for language and culture learning. However, there are also invisible factors and unanticipated challenges that teachers and learners need to understand in order to benefit from these telecollaborative environments; these are examined at the end of the article.
Deardorff, D.K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internalization. Journal of Studies in International Education. 10(3). 241–66.
This study seeks to determine a definition and appropriate assessment methods of inter-cultural competence as agreed on by a panel of internationally known intercultural scholars. This information is validated by a sample of higher education administrators and can be used by administrators in identifying and assessing intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization efforts. Conclusions made from this study include identified elements of intercultural competence and assessment methods on which both the intercultural scholars and administrators agreed, resulting in the first study to document consensus on intercultural competence. Both groups agree that it is possible to assess degrees of intercultural competence and in so doing, that it is best to use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess intercultural competence, including interviews, observation, and judgment by self and others. Two models of inter-cultural competence are presented based on the findings of the study.
Dooly, M. A. (2011). Crossing the intercultural borders into 3rd space culture(s): implications for teacher education in the twenty-first century. Language and Intercultural Communication, 11(4). 319-337.
This article looks at a year-long network-based exchange between two groups of student-teachers in Spain and the USA, who were involved in various network-based collaborative activities as part of their teaching education. Their online interaction was facilitated through diverse communicative modes such as Skype, Moodle, Voicethread and Second Life (SL). It was found that the participants’ interaction with their distanced partners varied according to the available communication modes as they constructed ‘membership’ identities in the virtual interaction. The analysis hints at the need to reconsider what ‘intercultural’ means within a ‘third space’.
Fantini, A. E. (2006). Exploring and assessing intercultural competence. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=worldlearning_publications/
Fantini, A.E. 2009. Assessing intercultural competence: issues and tools. In The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence, ed. D.K. Deardorff, 456–76. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Jin, L. & Erben, T. (2007) Intercultural Learning via instant messenger interaction. CALICO Journal, 24(2). 291-310.
This paper reports on a qualitative study investigating the viability of instant messenger (IM) interaction to facilitate intercultural learning in a foreign language class. Eight students in a Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) class participated in the study. Each student was paired with a native speaker (NS) of Chinese, and each pair collaborated on eight intercultural-learning tasks over a 2-month period through IM. Data were collected through an ethnographic survey, intercultural sensitivity scale, follow-up interviews, the researcher’s reflective journal, and participants’ IM conversation transcripts. The results showed that student participants’ intercultural interaction engagement and attentiveness steadily increased, they developed self-reflection capacities, critical thinking skills, and greater sensitivity and respect for intercultural differences during their IM-based intercultural learning. Participants also had predominantly positive attitudes toward IM use in intercultural learning.
Kagan, O. (2012). Intercultural competence of heritage language learners: motivation, identity, language attitudes and the curriculum. Proceedings of Intercultural Competence Conference. 2, 72-84.
Heritage language learners (HLLs) differ from typical language students (L2s) in a variety of ways, including: 1) their language proficiencies; 2) their reasons for studying their home language in the formal setting of a foreign language classroom; 3) their perception of themselves as hyphenated Americans, or, if we use Kipling’s wording, as “we” and “they” at the same time. I will discuss the results of a national survey that demonstrate heritage language learners’ intrinsically intercultural attitude toward their heritage language. I will also focus on the specific pedagogical implications that the learners’ identities, motivations, and language perceptions can have for heritage language curriculum.
Kramsch, C. 2009. Third culture and language education. In L. Wei and V. Cook (Eds.), Contemporary Applied Linguistics. Language Teaching and Learning, pp. 233–54. London: Continuum. Retrieved from http://lrc.cornell.edu/events/past/2008-2009/papers08/third.pdf
O’Dowd, R. (2011) , “Intercultural Communicative Competence Through Telecollaboration”, in J. Jackson (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication (pp. 342-358). New York, NY:Routledge.
Schenker, T. (2012). Intercultural competence and cultural learning through telecollaboration. CALICO Journal, 29(3), 449 – 470.
This paper presents the findings of a six-week telecollaborative project between sixteen American students enrolled in a second-semester German class at an American university and sixteen German students enrolled in an advanced English course at a high school in Germany. Students discussed various cultural topics with their partner in two e-mails per week. The study strove to reveal the American college students’ understanding of their own and of German culture, their interest in cultural learning, and possible changes therein through telecollaboration. Moreover, the study aimed at exploring if intercultural competence can be exhibited, and thus assessed, through an e-mail exchange. For that purpose, Byram’s model of intercultural competence (1997) was used for the data analysis. In addition, pre- and post-surveys were administered to help answer one of the research questions. The results of the study revealed that students’ interest in cultural learning did not change significantly. Additionally, the results showed that the majority of Byram’s objectives can be demonstrated in an e-mail exchange.
Stickler, U., & Emke, M. (2011). Literalia: Towards developing intercultural maturity online. CALICO Journal, 15(1), 147-168.
The European Union funded LITERALIA project connected adult language learners from four countries with the help of an online workspace and supported visits. The project was based on Tandem principles, whereby learners of different languages support one another in learning one another’s language and culture, in turn taking on the roles of learners and expert informants. This article analyses project participants’ intercultural learning and shows their development of intercultural maturity online. Qualitative data collected through observation, feedback and interviews are analysed and used to present a description of adults’ experiences in intercultural learning. The study focuses on adult learning, drawing in particular on Mezirow’s concept of “perspective transformation” (Mezirow, 1981), a concept applied to intercultural experiences by Taylor (1994). Three different models of intercultural learning—all of them multidimensional and multifaceted—have influenced our research: (a) intercultural competency (Taylor, 1994); (b) intercultural communicative competence (Byram, 1997); and (c) intercultural maturity (King & Baxter Magolda, 2005). However, few studies have been conducted in this area that integrate online interaction in non-formal learning settings as our study attempts.
Thorne, S. L. (2006). Pedagogical and Praxiological Lessons from Internet-Mediated Intercultural Foreign Language Education Research. In J. A. Belz & S. L. Thorne (eds.), Internet-Mediated Intercultural Foreign Language Education (pp. 2-30). Annual Volume of the American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.
This essay describes research findings, pedagogical methods, and theoretical frameworks emerging from and contributing to Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (ICFLE). ICFLE emphasizes participation in intercultural dialogue and development of the linguistic and metacommunicative resources necessary for doing so. Various models of ICFLE are described and ICFLE studies that address processes of intercultural communication from linguistic, interpersonal, and developmental perspectives are reviewed. A number of exigent dimensions of ICFLE are also presented, in particular the challenges of implementing successful ICFLE projects, issues of cultural contestation, and variability in the cultures-of-use of Internet communication tools used to mediate ICFLE interaction. Throughout,the aim of this chapter is to introduce ICFLE to new audiences and specifically to address the concerns of language program directors and instructors. In conclusion,a case is made for the potential of ICFLE to re-orient foreign language education from a focus on communicative competence to a focus on intercultural competence.
Dooly, M. (2011). Divergent perceptions of telecollaborative language learning tasks: Tasks-as-workplan vs. task-as-process. Language Learning & Technology, 15(2), 69–91.
The use of computer-supported collaborative learning is more and more commonplace in language learning classrooms; this has given rise to the need for more research on roles and processes of telecollaboration in language teaching and learning and how online interactions are integrated with face-to-face classroom activities. Using a data-driven, qualitative approach to provide snapshots of a telecollaborative language learning project, this article examines participants’ modes of language use beginning with the task-asworkplan (Breen, 1987, 1989) and then examining episodes (both F2F and online) and outcomes of the task-in-process. By pinpointing specific moments of emerging language knowledge in the telecollaborative process, the article aims to delineate salient factors involved in this type of language learning context.
Guth, S., & Helm, F. (2011). Developing multiliteracies in ELT through telecollaboration.ELT Journal, 66(1), 42-51.
Communicating and collaborating in online contexts can be quite different from face-to-face situations and requires students to acquire multiple literacies in addition to foreign language skills and intercultural communicative competence. This paper looks at how the development of multiliteracies can be included in the EFL classroom through the practice of telecollaboration, that is internet-mediated intercultural exchange. The integration of multiliteracies in the task design of the three stages of a telecollaboration project is illustrated through practical examples from an exchange which used English as a lingua franca.
González-Lloret, M. (2016). A practical guide to integrating technology into task-based language teaching. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
This practical guide shows teachers how to successfully incorporate technology into TBLT in the classroom and to develop technology-mediated materials. Whether the goal is to conduct a needs analysis, to develop classroom or homework materials, or to implement a new approach of student assessment, A Practical Guide to Integrating Technology into Task-Based Language Teaching will be a welcome resource for language teachers at all levels. Designed for use in the classroom as well as for independent study, the book includes reflective questions, activities, and further reading at the end of each chapter. Examples of units in Chinese, Spanish, ESL, and the hospitality industry are provided.
Hampel, R. (2006). Rethinking task design for the digital age: A framework for language teaching and learning in a synchronous online environment. ReCALL, 18 (1), 105-121.
This article discusses a framework for the development of tasks in a synchronous online environment used for language learning and teaching. It shows how a theoretical approach based on second language acquisition (SLA) principles, sociocultural and constructivist theories, and concepts taken from research on multimodality and new literacies, can influence the design and implementation of tasks for computer-mediated communication (CMC). The findings are based on a study conducted at the Open University, a study which examined all three levels of theory, design and implementation. The paper first presents the underlying theories in more detail before examining how these theories are translated into the design of tasks for language tutorials via an audio-graphic conferencing tool. Finally it looks at how the design was implemented in practice by focusing on a number of issues such as student–student and student–tutor interaction, feedback, use of multimodal tools, and the differences between teaching face-to-face and online.
Hauck, M., & Youngs, B.L. (2008). Telecollaboration in multimodal environments: the impact on task design and learner interaction. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(2), 87–124.
With the development of new digital technologies and their gradual introduction into the language classroom, the Internet enables students to reach out beyond the confines of traditional teaching and learning settings, allowing previously non-existent access to foreign languages and cultures. On the one hand, the web allows learners to find authentic information and expand their knowledge; on the other, computer-mediated communication tools enable students to establish contact with target language learners and native speakers by engaging in telecollaborative exchanges. The tools at students’ disposal are becoming increasingly more powerful, often combining different modes of communication in one single environment. In 2005, students of French at Carnegie Mellon University, US and French learners at the Open University, UK worked synchronously and asynchronously in online environments with native francophone students enrolled on a masters’ programme in distance education at the Université de Franche Comté, France. Completing a set of three collaborative tasks, synchronous meetings took place over 10 weeks in the Open University’s online audio-graphic tuition environment Lyceum, which provides multiple synchronous audio channels as well as synchronous text chat and several shared graphical interfaces. In addition to the output produced in this medium (oral, written and graphic) in the target languages (French and English), the project output, a shared reflection on cultural similarities and differences, took the form of several collaborative, asynchronous blogs. This contribution draws on data from pre- and post- treatment questionnaires, recordings of the online interactions, work published by the students in the blogs and discussions among learner and tutor participants exploring aspects of online partnership learning such as learning environment-specific affordances and their impact on task design as well as student and tutor perceptions of connectivity and interactivity.
Lai, C. & Li, G. (2011). Technology and task-based language teaching: A critical review. CALICO Journal, 28(2), 498-521.
Task-based language teaching (TBLT) has been drawing researchers’ and practitioners’ attention since its onset in the 1980s. The rich and still expanding literature on TBLT is helping to mature both its theoretical conceptualization and practical implementation in foreign and second language education. Technology has played and will continue to play an important role in this maturation process. This review focuses on the intersection of technology and TBLT, examines the mutual contributions of technology and TBLT to each other, and discusses the challenges in implementing and researching TBLT in technology-mediated environments. In addition, this review outlines a set of crucial issues to which attention must be paid to further develop technology-enhanced TBLT.
Muller-Hartmann, A. & Kurek, M. (2016) Virtual Group Formation and the Process of Task Design. In Lewis, T. & O’ Dowd, R. (Ed.), Online Intercultural Exchange: Policy, Pedagogy, Practice (pp. 131-149). New York, NY: Routledge.
Müller-Hartmann, A. (2016). A task is a task is a task is a task… or is it? Researching telecollaborative teacher competence development – the need for more qualitative research. In S. Jager, M. Kurek, & B. O’Rourke (Eds.), New directions in telecollaborative research and practice: selected papers from the second conference on telecollaboration in higher education (pp. 31–43). Research-publishing.net.
The concept of task has become central not only to an understanding of language learning per se, but also to the design and research of Online Intercultural Exchanges (OIEs). While research on the design of tasks in OIEs has been very productive, we still lack insights into how teachers develop competences in task design on the micro-level. Consequently, this contribution looks at how OIEs allow pre-service teachers to develop such competences when designing telecollaborative task sequences for their future learners. Findings show that the most promising research approach to tackle this question at the interface between telecollaboration, Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), and teacher education is a stronger reliance on qualitative research because it helps understand what pre-service teachers do when developing such competences.
Muller-Hartmann, A. (2000). The role of tasks in promoting intercultural learning in electronic learning networks. Language Learning & Technology, 4(2), 117-135.
This paper focuses on the role of tasks in promoting intercultural learning in learning networks and is based on qualitative research from three e-mail projects between English as a foreign language (EFL) high school classes (years 11 and 12) in Germany, and English and Social Studies classes in the United States and Canada. The joint reading of literary texts formed the basis for discussion on the networks. A comparison between intercultural learning in the actual reading process and the negotiation of meaning in the network phases shows a close resemblance in the structure and use of tasks. Task properties, such as activity, setting, and teacher and learner roles, as well as the personal level (i.e., non-thematic exchange of information) in the asynchronous e-mail exchange, proved to be especially influential for intercultural learning in the design and management of task structure.
Nissen, E. (2016). Combining Classroom-Based Learning and Online Intercultural Exchange in Blended Learning Courses. In Lewis, T. & O’Dowd, R. (Eds), Online Intercultural Exchange: Policy, Pedagogy, Practice (pp. 173-191). New York, NY: Routledge.
This chapter poses courses integrating Online Intercultural Exchange (OIE) as a specific type of blended learning (BL) courses. It aims at gaining insight into how experienced OIE course designers combine both learning modes – f2f sessions and the online exchange – into coherent BL courses, and which common denominators this blending shares.
O’Dowd, R., & Waire, P. (2009). Critical issues in telecollaborative task design. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 22 (2), 173-188.
In this article we examine how instructors make decisions about task design in telecollaboration and the factors that influence these decisions during the actual implementation of the tasks. We begin with a review of the recent literature of online intercultural exchanges to identify and describe a typology of 12 different types of tasks and task sequences. Next, we illustrate through two case studies – both post-secondary telecollaborative exchanges between learners of English and Spanish – how such decisions about task design are reached by partner instructors prior to an exchange, and how that task design is negotiated throughout the exchange with different consequences on the learning outcomes. Finally, based on this two-step analysis, we make recommendations about factors that instructors and researchers should consider when designing and implementing tasks for their telecollaborative exchanges.