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