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Case Study 2

Page history last edited by sarah.guth@... 13 years, 7 months ago

Title

The Italia-Australia Intercultural Project[1]

 


Student cohort

 

  Group 1  Group 2 
academic level   University students in Italy
University students in Melbourne, Australia
major   Modern Languages and Culture
 
course subject   English
Italian
mean age  
 
location of students  In computer lab and outside of class  Outside of class
native language Italian
Australian English
exchange language English for writing, Italian for comments to group 2 work
Italian for writing, English for comments on group 1 work

 

Brief description and intended outcomes

The aim of the Italia-Australia Intercultural Project was to foster the development of language skills and intercultural learning through online collaboration and discussion. Students created wiki pages about contemporary youth issues from their national/cultural perspective and commented on those of their international peers. Students also had a final group-to-group video chat through Skype.

 

Technologies used

 

Tool  Mode  Other

Wiki

asynchronous

free

Skype synchronous free

 

Tasks & Phases

Students prepare personal introductions on the wiki pages.

The key activity of the project was to create wiki pages on different youth issues and discuss them. Topics chosen included family life, free time, arts and entertainment, travel and holidays, university life, current affairs. Work on the topic-based discussion was divided into four phases:

  • in-class choice of topic through brainstorming in small groups
  • creation of topic-based wiki pages in L2 in small groups
  • asynchronous discussion with distant peers about contents of wiki pages
  • peer correction/feedback

Work on each topic lasted 2-3 weeks depending on the level of the students.

The final task was a group-to-group video session using Skype.

 

Assessment

Group 1 - participation was voluntary and students were not assessed on their contributions.

Group 2 - Participation was obligatory and students were assessed on written contributions to the wikis but not on collaboration.

 

Evaluation of the Exchange

Positive

Overall students were enthusiastic about the exchange and increasing their experience with native speakers of the languages studied. Video conference in particular received positive feedback, students would have liked more opportunities for interaction. Students felt they improved their communication skills, writing, cultural knowledge.

 

Negative

Difficulties encountered included problems synchronizing activities, dealing with large numbers of students (128 students in all), different institutional constraints and problems collaborating for teachers. Some students were de-motivated by lack of feedback or long delays.

Many students had difficulties navigating the wiki and understanding the logistics of the exchange, what they were doing and when, whose work they were supposed to be editing.

Affordances offered by wiki technology were not understood and learners had difficulty editing other people's texts, on a pragmatic level as well as technical one. The discussion tab was found to be not very user-friendly.

 

Author's conclusions

Positive outcomes outweigh negative ones, particularly fostering student-centred interaction and learner autonomy on one hand and collaborative learning on the other. The lessons learned will help improve the design of future projects using Web 2.0 tools.

 

Extra Notes

 

Is the exchange the sole focus of the course or integrated with other aims and activities? 

integrated
Is participation compulsory or voluntary? Assessed?  voluntary for group 1, compulsory and assessed for group 2.
Is online work carried out in class/lab or from home?    
Class/lab time dedicated to project?   

 

Back to Telecollaboration2workshop

Footnotes

  1. Cloke, C. (2010) The Italia-Australia Intercultural Project. In S. Guth and F. Helm (eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, Literacy and Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century, pp. 375-384. Bern: Peter Lang.

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