This eTandem project was set up between students in the US two months before they left for a mobility program to Padova in Italy and university students in Padova who had signed up for an eTandem project to improve their English.
The project was intended to have students doing activities in pairs, as in traditional eTandem, but also to try to form a group with, for example, forum discussions. A Moodle site was set up to provide prompts for pair discussion but also a group dialogue space and also a container to gather reflective diaries and student feedback.
University of Padova
Dominant form of language production:
|Online Communication Skills|
Can be replicated in many different contexts. We intend to replicate this with pre-mobility Erasmus students.
How long did the project last?
How was the project organized?
Getting to know each other activities such as presentation on Moodle forum. Information exchange activities regarding university life, sentence completion, forum discussion on stereotypes with a video prompt.
How were the students assessed?
This exchange was not part of a course, students were participating on a voluntary basis. Those who wanted a certificate of participation from the university were required to write a weekly diary, and to hand this in to the Language Centre.
What worked well?
What did students think of the project?
Several of the US students reported that it was very reassuring for them to have contact with a student in Padova before their arrival. One Boston University student wrote in her diary: " It was interesting to learn about life in Italy! What’ s more I like talking to V. because she’ s a student in Padova and knows lots of things which are useful for me. When she talks about her week she talks about things I want to see and do next semester. It’ s also been interesting learning about her life, because I’ ve read about this in our Italian lessons at university, but her experiences are real!" The Moodle site was found to be ‘ old fashioned’ and incovenient some of the students commented. Something more convenient to use such as Facebook would have been used more they said. Students were also very busy during the exchange period and so did not have much time to dedicate to the exchange.
What challenges did you face?
Students did not participate in the group activities such as forum discussions and very few students completed diaries or even filled in the final questionnaire. What emerged from student feedback is that they had little time to engage in the project as it was exam time, and they were preparing for their departure.
What did the teachers think of the project?
It was a worthwhile project but needs to be adjusted in order to be more effective. Student feedback will be taken into account in designing the next exchange.
What kind of institutional support did you receive?