Computer-mediated communication and its potential for intercultural learning: a research perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


This paper is placed in the area of computer-mediated-communication (CMC), more specifically "network-based language teaching" (Warschauer 2000) or "telecollaboration" (Belz 2003) and it addresses the relationship between CMC and intercultural learning. The central research question asks in what ways online exchanges between language students via the Internet can contribute to
the general educational aim of successful intercultural communication. The paper is based on the rationale that although CMC has been established in foreign language education for more than a decade its contribution to intercultural learning is still rather ambiguous (c.f. Müller-Hartmann 2000,
O’Dowd 2003). The paper will provide an overview of existing literature on intercultural learning in CMC and an evaluation of methodological issues addressed in this literature to provide the basis for a theoretical reflection on methodological approaches to this field of research. Following the rationale
that tandem language learning via the Internet works best when it is fully integrated in a larger program of language learning (cf. Little 2001), the paper then reports on an asynchronous email ex-change between Australian and German university students, studying German and English respectively. The methodology employed in the study follows the principles of action research.
Data consist of students' language productions in the form of individual as well as collaboratively written contributions to a discussion list. The focus of the mainly qualitative data analysis was on the students' dialogue about self and other as a reflection of intercultural learning processes. In conclusion, the results of the data analysis are discussed with a view to fostering intercultural learning
in electronic learning networks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCALL and research methodologies
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings CALL 2004
EditorsJozef Colpaert, Wilfried Decoo, Mathea Simons, Saskia Van Bueren
Place of PublicationAntwerp, Belgium
PublisherUniversiteit Antwerpen
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventXIth International CALL Conference: ‘CALL and Research methodologies' - Antwerp, Belgium
Duration: 5 Sep 20047 Sep 2004


ConferenceXIth International CALL Conference


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