Franco-Irish Exchange

This is an exchange between 4th year undergraduate students of Business and French at the University of Limerick in Ireland, and French native speakersfrom varied backgrounds (students or professionals) based either in Ireland or in their country of origin (France and Dom-Tom).

The exchange involved research and analysis of currentFrench socio-political issues followed by discussion on a forum with French native speakers.


Project developer: Marie-therèse Batardiere

Main Focus:

Intercultural Exchange

Exchange institution(s):

Project website:

Language Configurations:


Language(s) used:


Dominant form of language production:

Writing/reading asynchronous

Target Competences:

Language Comptence
Intercultural Skills


How long did the project last?

6 weeks

How was the project organized?


Language learners (24 Irish students of French) were first asked to select a current French socio-political issue, retrieve information from the Internet on this topic and analyse it with a view to producing a piece of work demonstrating thorough understanding of the topic. The CMC taskstarted mid-way through the project (week 6 of a 12-week course). Each L2 learner had to submit his/her assignment on line and was paired with a native speaker who had expressed an interest in his/her topic. Learners then had to engage in debate with their respective partners. In the latter part of the project, they were asked to reflect and report on their learning experience.


The discussion forum was set-up on the Learning Management System (LMS) of the institution for their specific module. Prior to the start of the exchanges, a discussion thread was created for each topic to facilitate both students and native speakers’ assignment and not to burden participants with irrelevant information. The asynchronous communication task was open and not prescriptive, the only clear requirements being that the learners’ target language (French) was used at all times in the exchanges and that a minimum of three messages were posted by each participant over the course of the on-line task with no constraint of frequency.


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Task types:

How were the students assessed?

See attached evaluation grid.


Additional resources:

What worked well?

The exchange is a success.Overtime, the communication flows the dynamic grows.

What did students think of the project?


In their feedback, students identified the various diverse benefits they have drawn from their participation to the online exchange. Students stated that they have become:

more knowledgeable on their selected topic: In the comments section of the project, over two thirds of the students said that they had vastly improved their understanding of the current issue studied. Moreover, 68.8% of the questionnaire respondents selected ” to get information on the topic” as one of the main benefits of the exchange, while another 68.8% added that their ” interest in the topic increased during the exchange” . They particularly valued having access to a different (sometimes new) viewpoint on the topic, especially from a French native speaker as they believed that it gave them an ‘ authentic’ socio-cultural perspective.

Mes échanges avec A. sur SULIS pendant ce semestre m’ a donné l’ occasion de voir les pensées et les idées des gens en dehors de l’ Irlande.” (Student Y &ndash Reflection task)

It [the exchange] gave a more realistic account rather than reading about it in a newspaper” (Student F – Questionnaire)


more assertive about expressing opinions: In the questionnaire, the majority of the respondents (75.1%) declared that the exchange often challenged their initial beliefs. They mentioned in their comments that they found the discussion demanding because they had to present a clear line of reasoning and integrate the others’ viewpoints in their argument. It would seem that the exchange provided them with a platform for critical thinking.

La discussion a vraiment contesté la validité de mes opinions préconçue” (Student A &ndash Reflection task)

Good to get a French persons perspective. Provoked debate” (Student R &ndash Questionnaire)

What challenges did you face?

No major challenges, except accepting that it’ s a very time consuming exercise at the start of the project like matching people’ s interests/ topics, reminding people of their commitment to the forum etc.

What did the teachers think of the project?

No great reaction. Probably thinking in terms ‘ WouldIget involved?’ and&hellip No, they wouldn’ t!

What kind of institutional support did you receive?

Ihave received some funding in the past for presenting my on-line project at various European conferences.