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Case Study 8

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

Skype and Social Neworking for USA-Japan Ttelecollaboration[1]


Student cohort


  Group 1  Group 2 
academic level  University students in US
NA (not applicable)
major  varied NA
course subject  Japanese - elementary level
NS of Japanese interested in improving their English
mean age 19 adults 
location of students Pennsylvania, US Japan
native language US English
exchange language Japanese and English
Japanese and English


Brief description and intended outcomes

This exchange involves the use of Social Networking and Skype.  The goal of this exchange was to prepare students for a study abroad experience by increasing language fluency, familiarity with Japanese culture and confidence in dealing with native speakers. The use of the Japanese social networking site Mixi and Mixxer, a website developed at Dickinson College specifically for language exchanges, helped overcome hurdles in setting up exchanges for the Japanese language curriculum such as the time difference (13 hours) and having beginner students writing in Japanese (difficulties using a different script, particularly with a keyboard). A partner group for the exchange was found by using the community and event function of the social networking site Mixi, and then online meetings were proposed during Group 1's class time.



Technologies used


Tool  Mode  Other


 asynchronous and synchronous

Japanese social networking site

Mixxer  asynchronous website developed at Dickinson College for finding partners for language exchanges
Skype syncrhonous audio  


Tasks & Phases

Group 1 students were required to prepare questions in advance of online Skype sessions using grammar and vocabulary learnt the previous week.

During exchange session students spoke for the first 20 minutes in Japanese, the second half of the class consisted of discussion in English, for which there was no set topic or grammar focus.

After each Skype session students were assigned a 'Skype report' which was a short summary posted on their blog in Mixi of the Skype session, including the answers to their questions.




Evaluation of the Exchange


All students agreed that their speaking and listening skills improved, and a large majority of students also reported increased cultural knowledge about Japan and increased confidence and motivation to study abroad. The sessions also proved higly enjoyable for most learners.



Difficulties with Mixi predicted as registration policy changed and increasingly difficult for non-Japanese residents to register.


Extra Notes


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

Is participation compulsory or voluntary? Assessed?  compulsory for group 1, voluntary for group 2
Is online work carried out in class/lab or from home?   lab for G1, home for G2
Class/lab time dedicated to project?  Yes


Back to Telecollaboration2workshop


  1. Meguro, A. and Bryant, T. (2010) Finding Language Partners in Unexpected Places: Skype and Social Networking for USA-Japan Telecollaboration. In S. Guth and F. Helm (eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, Literacy and Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century, pp. 3452-463. Bern: Peter Lang.

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