Teaching and Learning Multiliteracies through Online Communication in Multiple Modes

This task sequence will allow student teachers to develop media competence and design tasks for telecollaborative learning environments. The task sequence is made up of four tasks or steps. Students should work in international teams with 1-2 students representing the different institutions in each team. After a getting-to-know task (task 1) they explore different online tools to develop their e-literacy skills (task 2) before they develop teaching competences using these tools. To make students aware of the various aspects and the potential of multimodality they are then asked to analyze a website looking at issues such as content, communication modes and targeted user groups (task 3). Based on their acquired competences the pre-service teachers then design a collaborative learning task for their future learners which focuses on developing learners&rsquo multimodal competence as well as intercultural communicative competence (task 4) by using the tools they have used in task 2.




Carolin Fuchs (Teachers College, NY), Mirjam Hauck (Open University), Andreas Müller-Hartmann (University of Education, Heidelberg)


E-Literacy: Exploring online tools
Website analysis
Designing a collaborative learning task
Getting to know each other


the National Sun Yat-Sen University

Target Group:

language teacher

Language of task instruction:





Teacher training

Estimated Duration:

5 – 10 sessions


teacher training



Languages that can be used:


Language Configurations:

Lingua Franca

Target Competences:

Intercultural skills
Online communication skills
Teaching skills
Media literacy

Instructions for the task sequence:


Task 1: Getting to know each other

Task type: INFORMATION EXCHANGE – Authoring ‘ Cultural Autobiographies’


In this task the students are asked to post short introductory messages to a respective Moodle forum. They are expected to introduce themselves and present their teaching background, technology-in-teaching experience as well as state their expectations about the participation in the exchange.

Suggested resources

The instructor encourages the participants to react to each other&rsquo s post.


Task 2: E-literacy: Exploring online tools

Task type: COMPARISON ANALYSIS – Analysing cultural products


Students get to know online tools and reflect about their use in teaching foreign languages. They focus on the analysis of e-literacy skills in relation to a previously selected tool. The tools suggested include a wiki, a social bookmarking tool, a blog, a ning, a chat, and a forum. The students are expected to work in multicultural groups and have to

1 &ndash decide on one tool to be analysed and discussed in a forum

2 &ndash answer a questionnaire about competences tools help develop

3 &ndash answer a set of guiding questions on using the tool in foreign language teaching

4 &ndash commenting on postings by other groups in the forum

Task 3: Halliday- based analysis of multimodal resources

Task type: COMPARISON ANALYSIS – Analysing cultural products

Description: In this part of the exchange students investigate pre-selected websites in the light of Halliday&rsquo s social semiotic framework through a set of guiding questions, taking into account three major features of context:

FIELD &ndash what is happening

TENOR &ndash who is taking part

MODE &ndash the role of language and other semiotic features

All the websites, pre-selected for the task, are rich in various modalities and are targeted at a multicultural audience.

Suggested resources

Task support in form of a model analysis of a similar website.

Task 4: Designing a collaborative learning task

Task type: COLLABORATIVE TASKS – Product Creation, e.g. a website or newspaper article


In their collaborative teams pre-service teachers design a multimodal task involving the use of any of the tools they have looked at in Task 2. The focus is on creating an activity which would allow their future learners to develop multimodal competence and to engage in intercultural learning with a partner group.

Criteria for Completion:

Each of the partners used their own assessments criteria. In general, assessment involved formative and summative assessment procedures. Students in the U.S. were formatively assessed, including participation in the online forum, multimodal task creation, making up 45 % of the grade. Students in Germany were summatively assessed on the basis of a portfolio which required students commenting on multimodal task creation, communication in a multimodal blended learning environment and on their professional development through collaboration with international partners making up 100 % of the grade. Students in Poland, for whom it had been the first experience of a telecollaborative exchange were assessed on the basis of their participation in forum discussions and final task production, both making up to 100% of the grade. Since U.K. participants were university tutors they were not assessed.


Peer-assessment: In task 4 students posted feedback on the task designed by at least one other participant group.

Comments and suggestions: