Perspectives on the Euro(pean) crisis

This multilateral telecollaboration project which started piloting in October 2013 involves 8 European universities, and has been set up and is being run by the Sharing Perspectives Foundation, a young organization based in the Netherlands which has been set up purely to promote virtual exchange.

‘ Perspectives on the Euro(pean) crisis’ allows universities across Europe to work together in order to present one online curriculum on the Euro(pean crisis. The program gives students the opportunity to collaboratively learn about the political, economic and social challenges within the European Union and the Euro-zone and to conduct research together to gain a better understanding of sensitivities surrounding these challenges.
Moreover, the program stimulates and facilitates the exchange of perspectives on the financial and political crises in the European Union between students and academia across the participating countries.

The exchange is designed to stimulate understanding of viewpoints on issues of the Euro(pean) crisis between participants from different European countries. The aim is to strengthen the common European identity and feeling of European citizenship of the participants by having them discuss the issues that divide them. It is believed this will lead to a stronger sense of empathy and respect for their diversity.

A Single Story

This task aims to have students explore and reflect on stereotypes. The task begins with students listening to Chimamanda Adichie&#39 s very popular TED talk, students are then asked to write their own &#39 single story&#39 and share this with their peers.

Though the talk is actually in English, it has been translated into many different languages so could actually be used in lingua franca or bilingual exchanges which involve languages other than English.

Exploring Hofstede and writing advice for Erasmus students

This activity is aimed at getting students to become familiar with the work of Geert Hofstede and his cultural dimensions but also view them with a critical eye. Students compare the scores for their country/ies to those for the countries of their telecollaboration partners, and discuss their findings together.
Subsequently they individually write a text with advice and information for Erasmus students intending to come to their university, basing it in part on their exploration of Hofstede&#39 s cultural dimensions.

Global Syndicates

This project was not designed for foreign language learning, it was part of an interdisciplinary seminar on Globalization involving graduate students at two universities in the United States and two in South Africa. However it offers a model which could be replicated in foreign language learning telecollaboration projects.

Each semester, students were randomly assigned to one of five global virtual teams, global syndicates, with no more than two team members from each university. A collaboratory infrastructure was developed for the seminar using a suite of commercially available web-based tools, and included a virtual seminar room, a collaborative file management system and archived e-mail discussion lists. Over the course of a semester, each team was given a series of tasks (ranging from simple to theoretically complex) that required global collaboration to complete.

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 speakers
from 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

French socio-political issues followed by discussion on a forum with French native speakers.

Project developer: Marie-therèse Batardiere

The Intercultural Poetry Exchange

The intercultural poetry exchange’ started and was designed as part of two university literature courses, Fiction for Engineers in Sweden and World Literature in the US. The exchange came about due to personal contacts between Magnus Gustafsson, the head of the Division of Language and Communication at Chalmers University of Technology, and Art Young and Donna Reiss two teacher/researchers at Clemson. The colleagues met at a conference and decided to set up the exchange in order to enhance their respective literature courses.

The Engineering students at Chalmers come from a variety of engineering disciplines and are principally MSc students with most of their engineering programme completed. Students are taking degrees in computer science, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, chemical engineering and interaction design. They have a range of electives to choose from and one of these is the course ” Fiction for Engineers” taught by Magnus Gustafsson. In a weekly class, the set texts are discussed and students are prepared for their portfolio assessment including a term paper assignment. Although English is not the first language of these students, the course is conducted in English like all the MSc courses at Chalmers and some of the electives.

Although it may seem curious to engage engineering students in a telecollaborative exchange about poetry, Magnus has a clear vision of why such projects are useful and relevant. He explains: ” All engineering programmes have an MTS (Man, Technology, and Society) requirement. Courses offered under that requirement tend to be superficial attempts at showing engineering impact on society. The blog exchange gives students first a real authentic audience with which to interact in interpreting society (the poetry has had an angle on society/man/progress – Eliot, Tranströmer, Dickinson). Their encountering, sometimes for the first time since upper secondary, students from the humanities tends to serve as powerful insights into MTS and that their technologically infused perspective is fruitfully combined with other perspectives.”

Their partner university, Clemson University, is a land-grant institution focused largely on the sciences and engineering, but also having a commitment to the arts and humanities. The students taking part in the exchange are mainly English majors in the first or second year of their university coursework who are taking part in courses including World Literature, Introduction to Literature, Victorian poetry, or teacher education. The class meets twice a week with the aim of developing skills in critical thinking, close reading, and interpretation through assignments based on a series of eight works spanning a literary history from the epic Beowulf to Aravind Adiga’ s White Tiger (2008).

Human Rights in Italy and Guatemala

This short project was intended for students of Human Rights in Italy and in Guatemala to share knowledge about human rights issues in their countries, to develop their English language skills, in
particular the lexis and discourse skills required to discuss issues related to human rights in English and to
develop online literacies (ability to communicate effectively online in both written and spoken communication modes.

Students engaged in weekly video-conference discussions in small groups using Elluminate and carried out asynchronous activities in Moodle.


The V-PAL (Virtual Partnerships for All Languages) has been running for the past four years at the University of Manchester in the UK and engages students of Italian in online oral interaction with partners in different Italian institutions. The exchange caters for students at Manchester who are studying a joint honours degree in two Modern Languages. However, the project also serves other students who may be studying a pure degree in Italian, or Italian with another non-language subject, such as law, business, history of art. It has been recognised as an official credit-bearing module at the University of Manchester.

is a reciprocal language-learning course unit in which students of Italian are paired with Italian students at the University of Macerata, Italy, to work on a series of weekly language-learning tasks in Italian and English. Participants are of similar linguistic ability and interact over the net using video-telephony (Skype) for language practice, and meet their course tutors regularly for seminars / workshops and to discuss tasks.

Transatlantic Translations

The Trans-Atlantic project is a loose network of European universities in Finland, Italy, France, Denmark and Belgium working with two universities in the USA. It is a &#39 grassroots network&#39 which connects technical writing students in the USA with students of translation studies across Europe. In this project students dialogue to communicate on a text, negotiate and mediate the text into an appropriate form for the target audience.

The aim was for atudents of technical writing to have experience in preparing texts for translation and localization and working with translators, and students of translation to gain experience at working with source texts and their authors, most of whom are subject matter experts but not experts in writing.