CALL from the margins: towards effective dissemination of CALL research and good practices

Coleman, James A. (2005). CALL from the margins: towards effective dissemination of CALL research and good practices. ReCALL, 17(1) pp. 18–31.



The symbolic location of EUROCALL’s 2004 conference in Vienna offered to both new members from Eastern Europe and established members from the West an opportunity to review the relationship between CALL (computer assisted language learning) and language teaching in general . CALL is defined as an ‘academic field that explores the role of information and communication technologies in language learning and teaching’ (EUROCALL 1999; for a discussion of CALL as an interdisciplinary research domain, see Levy 1997). CALL practitioners and researchers have long been aware of the importance of recognition within the broader discipline of language learning and teaching, as the joint EUROCALL/CALICO/IALL Research Policy Statement (EUROCALL 1999) explicitly noted. Yet CALL in fact remains marginalised in several ways which this article will explore.
In seeking to promote more effective dissemination of good teaching practices and especially of research in CALL, the article will evoke the UK’s predominant role in introducing Quality Assurance (QA) to higher education teaching and research – a trend which the Bologna Process will surely intensify throughout Europe. The author will draw on his current role as language research coordinator at the UK’s Open University, and on substantial experience as a QA insider in both teaching and research, to analyse successes and failures in dissemination of both research and good teaching/learning practices. He will propose strategies for moving CALL from the margins towards the centre of language learning. In so doing, he will also provide an incidental overview of some key journals and conferences in the domain.

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