A Telecollaboration Project on Giving Online Peer Feedback: Implementing a Multilateral Virtual Exchange During a Pandemic

Keywords: telecollaboration/virtual exchange, facilitated dialogue model, English as a lingua franca (ELF), peer feedback, collaborative writing, emergency e-learning, remote teaching

Abstract

Telecollaboration, also called virtual exchange or online intercultural exchange, is a form of collaborative learning whereby language learners in different locations engage in computer-mediated communication to complete tasks online. There is ample evidence that telecollaboration promotes the acquisition of language skills, intercultural competence, and digital literacies. Challenges faced implementing virtual exchanges include differences in time zones, learning objectives, academic calendars, and cultural attitudes. The present article describes a case of a multilateral telecollaboration project based on the facilitated dialogue model involving four institutions—two in Europe and two in the United States—that was designed to prepare students for the experience of giving online peer feedback on collaborative writing assignments. Our initial goal was to explore the challenges students would face and the benefits they would receive from a complex telecollaboration project involving multiple institutions and two task sequences: 1) input and reflection on giving and receiving peer feedback, 2) completion of the collaborative writing task to be peer reviewed. However, new challenges and opportunities emerged after the switch to emergency e-learning and remote teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. Relying upon multiple data sources—including correspondence, observations, class discussions, surveys, reflective writing, and information stored in virtual learning environments—our methods of data collection involved convenience sampling, while data analysis was predominantly descriptive. Our results demonstrate that even during a global pandemic, students and instructors face similar logistical challenges and reap similar benefits as has been reported in the literature. Yet our experience also reveals the resiliency of telecollaboration in the face of extreme disruption as well as the potential to exploit virtual exchange to develop learning strategies—such as methods for giving and receiving peer feedback—and meta-awareness of how language is used in the real-world—such as the implications of English as a lingua franca.

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Published
2021-12-14
How to Cite
Ennis, M. J., Verzella, M., Montanari, S., Sendur, A. M., Simeonova Pissarro, M., Kaiser, S., & Wimhurst, A. (2021). A Telecollaboration Project on Giving Online Peer Feedback: Implementing a Multilateral Virtual Exchange During a Pandemic. Journal of Language and Education, 7(4), 66-82. https://doi.org/10.17323/jle.2021.11914