’4 profs, 4 pays’: lessons from a four-way tele-collaborative writing project

Aguerre, Sandrine; Alder, Bill and Beaven, Tita (2013). ’4 profs, 4 pays’: lessons from a four-way tele-collaborative writing project. Francophonie(47), article no. 5.

URL: http://journals.all-languages.org.uk/2013/05/4-pro...


Telecollaboration is now a well-established practice in language learning and teaching, which usually involves “…learners in parallel language classes [using] Internet communication tools […], in order to support social interaction, dialogue, debate, and intercultural exchange.” (Belz 2003a: 1). This often takes the form of two sets of L2 learners who are studying each other’s L1. This article reports on a four-way telecollaborative writing project in which learners of French from four different countries and institutions worked together to produce articles for the Vivre en Aquitaine website (now renamed ‘Voyages en français’, http://voyagesenfrancais.fr), which were published alongside professionally written texts. Unlike in traditional telecollaboration projects, French, the target language, was not the L1 of any of the participants.
Based on an ethnographic approach and on the analysis of feedback from students and teachers during focus group meetings at the end of the project, and an analysis of the activities in the wiki, this article highlights the main issues that impacted on the four-way telecollaborative project: the choice of tools, the roles of teachers and learners, and the learning contexts of the participants.
In spite of the difficulties these issues caused, and the added complexity inherent in doing a four-way telecollaborative project, we highlight the importance of being open to windfall learning opportunities, both in terms of the actual student experience during the project, and for subsequent iterations of the telecollaboration.

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