A Dialogic Model for Telecollaboration


  • Francesca Helm Università degli Studi di Padova


In language learning contexts, telecollaboration is understood to be internet-based intercultural exchange between people of different cultural/national backgrounds set up in an institutional context with the aim of developing both language skills and intercultural communicative competence. Generally students interact with one another on ‘safe’ topics and subsequently reflect on and discuss their interactions with teachers and peers.This paper presents a dialogic model of telecollaboration which breaks from this tradition as it entails interaction on topics which are seen as divisive through dialogue in groups led by trained facilitators, the Soliya Connect Program (SCP). The differences between this model of telecollaboration and traditional models are illustrated, and then the author presents the results of a survey study which looks at participants’ evaluation of this program, what they perceive to be the role of the facilitators and their personal learning outcomes.



CMC, intercultural competences, dialogic


Agbaria, F., & Cohen, C. (2000). Working with groups in conflict: The impact of power relations on the dynamics of the group. Informally published article, Waltham, MA: Brandeis University. Retrieved from http://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/pdfs/publications/Working_Groups.pdf

Andreotti, V. (2005). Briefing. Open spaces for dialogue and enquiry methodology. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from http://www.osdemethodology.org.uk/keydocs/osdebriefing.pdf

Andreotti, V., & de Sousa, L.M. (2008). Translating theory into practice and walking minefields: lessons from the project ‘Through other eyes’. International journal of development education and global learning, 1(1): 23–36.

Bakhtin, M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Basharina, O.K. (2007). An activity theory perspective on student-reported contradictions in international telecollaboration. Language learning & technology, 11(2): 82–103. Retrieved 29 July 2009 from <http://llt.msu.edu/vol11num2/basharina/ default.html>.

Bauer, B., deBenedette, L., Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., & Waryn, S. (2006). The Cultura project. In: J.A. Belz. and S. Thorne (Eds.), Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education, (pp. 31–62). Boston: Thomson Heinle.

Belz, J. (2007). The development of intercultural communicative competence in telecollaborative partnerships. In R. O’Dowd (Ed.) Online intercultural exchange: An introduction for foreign language teachers (pp. 127–166). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters

Belz, J.A., & Müller-Hartmann, A. (2003). Teachers as intercultural learners: Negotiating German-American telecollaboration along the institutional fault line. The modern language journal, 87(1): 71–89.

Belz, J.A. & Thorne, S.L. (2006). Introduction. In: J.A. Belz & S. Thorne (Eds.) Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (pp. viii–xxv). Boston: Thomson Heinle.

Bhabha, H. (1994). The location of culture. London, Routledge

Blake, R.J., & Zyzik, E.C. (2003). Who's helping whom?: Learner/heritage-speakers’ networked discussions in Spanish. Applied linguistics, 24(4): 519–544.

Burbules, N. C. (2006). Rethinking dialogue in networked spaces. Cultural Studies & Critical Methodologies, 6: 107–122.

Burbules, N. C., & Rice, S. (1991). Dialogue across difference: Continuing the conversation. Harvard Educational Review, 61: 393–416. Byram M. (2000). Assessing intercultural competence in language teaching. Sprogforum 18 (6): 8–13. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from http://inet.dpb.dpu.dk/infodok/sprogforum/Espr18/byram.html

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Council of Europe (2008). White paper on intercultural dialogue. Living together as equals in dignity. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/intercultural/source/white%20paper_final_revised_en.pdf

Develotte, C., Guichon, N., & Vincent, C. (2010). The use of the webcam for teaching a foreign language in a desktop videoconferencing environment. ReCALL, 22: 293–312.

Dooly M. (2008). Telecollaborative language learning. Bern: Peter Lang.

Dooly M. (2011). Crossing the intercultural borders into 3rd space culture(s): implications for teacher education in the twenty-first century, Language and intercultural communication, 11(4), 319–337.

Dooly, M., & Hauck, M. (2012). Researching multimodal communicative competence in video and audio telecollaborative encounters. In M.

Dooly & R. O’Dowd (Eds.) Researching online foreign language interaction and exchange (pp.135–162). Bern: Peter Lang.

Dooly, M., & Sadler, R. (2013). Filling in the gaps: Linking theory and practice through telecollaboration in teacher education. ReCALL, 25: 4–29.

Ess, C. (2009). When the solution becomes the problem: cultures and individuals as obstacles to online learning. In R. Goodfellow & M.N.Lamy (Eds.) Learning cultures in online education (pp.15–29). London: Continuum.

European Council (2001). The common european framework of reference for languages: learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fratter, I., Helm, F., & Whigham, C. (2005). Cross-cultural exchanges at the language centre of the University of Padua and the issue of language. In: A. Moravìková, C. Taylor Torsello & T. Vogel (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th CercleS conference: University language centres: Broadening horizons, expanding networks (pp. 177–195). Bratislava: CercleS.

Freire, P. (1970/1996). The pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Penguin.

Fuchs, C. (2007). Pre-service teachers as intercultural learners in CMC-based collaboration: the case of the literature group. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 13. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from http://www.immi.se/intercultural/nr13/fuchs.htm

Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., English, K. & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a voice to the silent culture of language: The CULTURA Project. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1): 55–102. Retrieved 29 July 2009 from <http://llt.msu.edu/vol5num1/furstenberg/ default.html>.

Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3): 87–105.

Guarda, M. (2013). Negotiating a transcultural place in an English as a lingua franca telecollaboration exchange: a mixed methods approach to the analysis of intercultural communicative competence and third space in an online Community of Practice. Unpublished Phd thesis, University of Padova.

Guth, S. & Helm, F. (2010). Introduction. In S. Guth & F. Helm (Eds.), Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, literacy and intercultural learning in the 21st century (pp. 69–106). Bern: Peter Lang.

Guth, S., Helm F., & O'Dowd, R. (2012). University language classes collaborating online. A report on the integration of telecollaborative networks in European universities. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from http://intent-project.eu/sites/default/files/Telecollaboration_report_Final_Oct2012.pdf

Guth, S., & Thomas, M. (2010). Telecollaboration with web 2.0 tools. In S. Guth & F. Helm (Eds.), Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, literacy and intercultural learning in the 21st century, (pp. 69–106). Bern: Peter Lang.

Hampel, R., & Hauck, M. (2006). Computer-mediated language learning: Making meaning in multimodal virtual learning spaces, The JALT CALL Journal, 2 (2), 3–18.

Hauck, M. (2007). Critical Success Factors in a TRIDEM Exchange. ReCALL, 19(2): 202–223.

Hauck, M., & Lewis, T. (2007). The Tridem project. In: R. O'Dowd (Ed.) Online intercultural exchange: an introduction for foreign language teachers (pp. 250–258). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Helm, F., & Guth, S. (2010). The multifarious goals of telecollaboration 2.0: Theoretical and practical implications. In S. Guth & F. Helm (Eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, literacy and intercultural learning in the 21st century (pp. 69–106). Bern: Peter Lang.

Helm F., Guth S., & Farrah M. (2012). Promoting dialogue or hegemonic practice: Power issues in telecollaboration, Language Learning & Technology, 16(2): 103–127.

Holliday, A. (2006). Key concepts in ELT. Native-speakerism, ELT Journal, 60(4): 385–387.

Kern, R., & Warschauer, M. (2000). Network-based language teaching: Concepts and practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kern R., Ware P., & Warschauer, M. (2008). Network-based language teaching. In N. Van Deusen-Scholl & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.) Encyclopedia of language and education, 2nd Edition, Volume 4: Second and Foreign Language Education, (pp. 281–292). New York: Springer.

Kötter, M. (2003) Negotiation of meaning and codeswitching in online tandems. Language Learning & Technology, 7(2): 145–172.

Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kramsch C. (2009). Third culture and language education. In V. Cook & L. Wei (Eds.) Contemporary applied linguistics (pp. 233–254). London: Continuum.

Lamy, M-N., & Goodfellow, R. (2010). Telecollaboration and learning 2.0. In S. Guth & F. Helm (Eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: Languages, literacies and intercultural learning in the 21st century (pp. 107–138). Bern: Peter Lang.

Lederach, J.P. (1995). Preparing for peace. New York: Syracuse University Press.

Lee, L. (2006). A study of native and nonnative speakers’ feedback and responses in Spanish-American networked collaborative interaction. In: J.A. Belz & S.L.Thorne (Eds.) Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (pp. 147–176). Boston: Thomson Heinle.

Mangenot, F., & Zourou, K. (2007). Pratiques tutorales correctives via Internet: le cas du français en première ligne. ALSIC, 10 (1). Retrieved October 15, 2007 from http://alsic.revues.org/650

Möllering, M., & Levy, M. (2012). Intercultural competence in computer-mediated communication: An analysis of research methods. In M. Dooly & R. O’Dowd (Eds.) Researching online foreign language interaction and exchange (pp.135–162), Bern: Peter Lang.

Mousten, B., Maylath, B., Vandepitte, S., & Humbley, J. (2010). Learning localization through trans-atlantic collaboration: Bridging the gap between professions. IEEE Transactions on professional communication, 53(4), 401–411.

Müller-Hartmann, A. (2006). Learning how to teach intercultural communicative competence via telecollaboration: A model for language teacher education. In: J.A. Belz & S.L. Thorne (Eds.) Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (pp. 63–84). Boston: Thomson

Heinle. Nagda, B. A., Gurin, P., & Lopez, G. E. (2003). Transformative pedagogy for democracy and social justice. Race ethnicity & education, 6(2), 165–191. Nagda, B.A., Gurin, P., Sorensen, N., & Zúñiga, X. (2009). Evaluating intergroup dialogue: Engaging diversity for personal and social responsibility. Diversity & democracy, 12(1): 4–6. Retrieved on 20 January 2013 from http://igr.umich.edu/files/igr/Evaluating%20Intergroup%20Dialogue.pdf

O’Dowd, R. (2006). Telecollaboration and the development of intercultural communicative competence. Berlin: Langenscheidt.

O’Dowd, R. (Ed.) (2007). Online intercultural exchange: An introduction for foreign language teachers. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

O’Dowd, R., & Ritter, M. (2006). Understanding and working with ‘failed communication’ in telecollaborative exchanges. CALICO Journal, 61(2): 623–642.

O'Dowd, R., & Ware, P. (2009). Critical issues in telecollaborative task design, Computer Assisted Language Learning, 22(2):173–188.

O’Rourke, B. (2005). Form-focused Interaction in online tandem learning. CALICO Journal, 22(3): 433–466.

Pegrum, M. (2009). Seeking a third space in intercultural education: What discourse analysis tells us. Opening plenary at Cutting Edges 2009: Discourse, context and language education, University of Canterbury Christ Church, UK, 25–27 June. Phipps, A., & Levine, G.S. (2010). What is language pedagogy for? In G. Levine & A. Phipps, (Eds.) Critical and intercultural theory and language pedagogy (pp.1–14). Boston: Cengage Learning.

Saunders, H. (1999). A public peace process: Sustained dialogue to transform racial and ethnic conflicts. New York: Martin’s Press.

Schneider, J., & von der Emde, S. (2006). Conflicts in cyberspace: From communication breakdown to intercultural dialogue in online collaborations. In J.A. Belz & S.L. Thorne (Eds.) Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (pp. 178–206). Boston: Thomson Heinle Publishers.

Soliya, (2010). Connect program facilitation training guide. Fall 2010. Unpublished training manual.

Spivak, G. (1999). A critique of postcolonial reason: toward a critique of the vanishing present. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Thorne, S.L. (2006). Pedagogical and proxiological lessons from internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education research. In: J.A. Belz & S.L. Thorne (Eds.) Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education (pp. 2–30). Boston: Thomson Heinle.

Thorne, S.L. (2010). The ‘intercultural turn’ and language learning in the crucible of new media. In S. Guth & F. Helm F (Eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: language, literacies and intercultural learning in the 21st century (pp. 139–164). Bern: Peter Lang.

Train, R. (2010). Postcolonial complexities in foreign language education and the humanities. In G. Levine & A. Phipps (Eds.) Critical and intercultural theory and language pedagogy (pp.141–160). Boston: Cengage Learning.

Ware, P., & Kramsch, C. (2005). Toward an intercultural stance: Teaching German and English through telecollaboration. Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 190–205.

Author Biography

Francesca Helm, Università degli Studi di Padova

Francesca Helm is a researcher at the Department of Politics, Law and International Studies at the University of Padova. She teaches English to students on second-level degree courses in International Politics and Diplomacy, European Studies. Her research interests lie in the areas of intercultural dialogue, telecollaboration, learner identity, the socio-cultural context of Web 2.0 for language and intercultural learning, new online literacies and the use of English in global communication. She has been a facilitator for Soliya and is currently a coach in the Soliya Connect Program. She is currently working on a PhD at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.




Download data is not yet available.