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Case Study 3

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


The Intercultura Project[1]


Student cohort


  Group 1  Group 2 
academic level   University students in Italy
University students doing Erasmus in Italy
major  Modern Languages and Culture
course subject   English as a foreign language
Italian as a foreign language
mean age  20
location of students  University computer lab
 University computer lab
native language Italian
German, French, Croatian, Flemish, English, Hungarian, Icelandic, Japanese, Spanish, Portuges
exchange language Italian, English and any other language they knew
 Italian, English and any other language they knew


Brief description and intended outcomes

Unlike most telecollaboration projects this exchange involved the use of CMC to put students who were in the same city in contact with one another, Erasmus students who were studying at the University of Padova and Italian students of English language at the University of Padova. The aims of the project included the integration of Erasmus students in the local student community, stimulating interest in the Erasmus programme among Italian students, development of intercultural competence, Italian language (for the Erasmus students) and online literacies.


Technologies used


Tool  Mode  Other

FirstClass conferencing system

Synchronous and Asynchronous

Proprietary software which allows synchronous chat, forums and creation of webpages


Tasks & Phases

The main task of the project was for the two groups of students to collaborate in the construction of a website about university life aimed at Erasmus students coming to stady at Padova University, and for Italian students going abroad. The site was to be bilingual in both Italian and English. Students had to interact and discuss university life in their respective universities in order to find out similarities and differences and what kind of information would be relevant to Erasmus students' needs. Topics decided on were university structure, lessons, student life, money, exams, graduation ceremonies.

The project consisted of five main phases:


  1. Survey for Erasmus students
  2. Initial contact and information exchange (via plurilingual synchronous chat sessions )
  3. Collaboration and website creation (through chat, asynchronous forums, web pages and face to face)
  4. Presentation of results to international relations office (face to face)
  5. Assessment




Group 1 students were evaluated on the English language websites they created and their learner diaries. They could also choose to talk about the project in their oral assessments.

Group 2 were not assessed on their participation in the project.


Evaluation of the Exchange


Synchronous chat sessions proved a motivating ice-breaking activity which aroused interest in other students, making the initial face to face meeting very communicative. Students engaged in plurilingual communication during synchronous chats, using all the linguistic (and non-linguistic) resources they had in order to establish rapport. CMC was useful for the collaborative written work with records of all interactions and easy monitoring of work. Students acquired an intercultural attitude and awareness of cultural differences and similarites, online skills and language skills.



Chat sessions with large groups of students (5 or 6) proved confusing for some students who had difficulty following threads. Collaboration was a problem for some groups of students, with a small number of group 2 students not providing information or contributing to the web pages. This may be partly due to the fact that they were not assessed on this activity.



Overall evaluation is positive, it is important for students to have this type of intercultural experience - both for local students and Erasmus students who, research reports, tend to form isolated communities of Erasmus students rather than integrate into the host environment. Web 2.0 technologies could enhance the experience by facilitating communication and collaboration..


Back to Telecollaboration2workshop


  1. Fratter, I and Helm, F. (2010) The Intercultura Project. In S. Guth and F. Helm (eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, Literacy and Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century, pp. 385-398. Bern: Peter Lang.

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