Evaluation of a web conferencing tool and collaborative tasks in an online Chinese course

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This case study aims to explore the best practice of applying task-based language teaching (TBLT) via the web conferencing tool Blackboard Collaborate in a beginners' online Chinese course by evaluating the technical capacity of the software and the pedagogical values and limitations of the tasks designed. In this paper, Chapelle's (2001) criteria for CALL task appropriateness are adopted and adapted to evaluate five tasks designed for an online environment in terms of practicality, language learning potential, learner fit, authenticity and positive impact. In the second semester, 2013, eight BA on-campus students who enrolled in an introductory Chinese language course agreed to participate in this project. Five fortnightly one-hour online sessions were conducted, which included two jigsaw tasks, two decision-making tasks and one information-gap task. Learners' interaction in the online sessions has been recorded and transcribed for a deep investigation of learners' negotiation actions in peer-peer interaction. Their experiences of using Blackboard Collaborate and tasks were recorded in in-depth interviews and pre and post-session questionnaires.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCALL Design
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples and Practice - Proceedings of the 2014 EUROCALL Conference, Groningen, The Netherlands
EditorsSake Jager, Linda Bradley, Estelle J. Meima, Sylvie Thouësny
Place of PublicationDublin, Ireland
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781908416209
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventEuropean Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning Conference - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Aug 201423 Aug 2014


ConferenceEuropean Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning Conference
CityGroningen, Netherlands

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • CALL evaluation
  • TBLT
  • Web conferencing
  • SLA
  • Second language acquisition
  • Online Chinese teaching


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