Groups of students in two different institutions collaborate together to produce a short story which continues from an opening line given to them by the tutor. Using google docs, the students contribute to a story in their own language as well as one in the target language. They can all edit and add comments, correcting language and changing the direction of the storyline.
This is a photo sharing task which encourages students to reflect upon things they do in order to relax or reward themselves.
This set of tasks aimed to help the large body of students connect with each other. They encourage the discovery of similarities and open discussion of stereotypical impressions we may hold of each other.
Having completed the news reviews task,a self selecting group of students are invited to an online round table discussion on subjects of their choice.
They should vote for the subjects that will be discussed and prepare suitable vocabulary and discussion to make their points. The round table recording will be shared with other students for peer review and feedback.
A short sequence of tasks for more advanced language users which moves from the asynchronous to synchronous discussion and creates an archive including an mp4 to help support analysis of online interaction skills.
Created using a moodle forum in a shared course area. Our virtual classroom area was open to students of all abilities studying French/English in UK and France.
Having tasked each student/group of students to identify a news item that interests them (in the target language) they post the item or link to it as a forum post, adding their opinion/reason for choice. They can record their comments through text and voice. They then monitor and respond to each other' s news items.
A writing task with several phases. Tutors divide their students into groups, they are tasked with researching and collecting information about how students are perceived and writing a short blog post collaboratively. The posts are shared on a forum and language clarifications are sought from the partner institution. A student editorial committee from the partner institution then reviews the posts and selects the best from across the levels to post publically on an open blog. Voting and responses are sought using twitter etc.
A photo sharing task done outside of class. Students have to post an image to the shared forum that exemplifies an aspect of their routine. They should also write a caption. They can if they prefer share their image through twitter, instagram etc, as long as they apply the relevant hashtag #clerwar #warcler. The images are curated and fed back into the sharing spaces through netvibes/widgets/flickr etc.
On arrival in an online environment shared between partner institutions, students are asked to create their online profile in order to attract interest from others. They should select an appropriate representative profile picture, write a description of themselves and decide which contact information they are going to share.
This large OIE began as a pilot in 2011 as a result of the two lead tutors chance meeting through an e-learning blog. The concept of a virtual exchange was elaborated and approximately 300 students from each partner institution were brought together through a moodle course, EWC.
Students in both institutions study a foreign language but none are taking specialised foreign language degrees. In France students study sports sciences with English, while the students in England are taking various undergraduate degrees (in, for example, maths, management, history, politics and economics) which include an optional module in French or another foreign language of their choice.
Both educators were interested in exploring whether they could set up a stable exchange network for a large number of students with relatively little staff direction and assessment. Teresa explains: ” Our arrangements were possibly unconventional. We looked to open the student’ s network to include peer support chosen by the individual from native speakers and encouraged awareness of the advantages and disadvantages this can bring. Increasing the choice and making it as easy as possible to find people who share your interests for social as well as academic reasons seems important.”
The objectives included:
- Development of written and oral communication skills
- Development of metacognitive skills (learning to learn)
- Development of a personal learning network (PLN)
- Tutor research into social networks/online learning environments for language learning