Intercultural Issues and Telecollaboration

30 MINUTES OF SYNCHRONOUS CHAT WILL BEGIN AT 11:00AM (MST) THURSDAY OCT. 6 USING THE EMBEDDED TLK.IO WIDGET ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN (PLEASE LOOK FOR THE BLUE BAR TITLED L2DLAZCALL2016).

Rodrigo Schaefer, Federal University of Santa Catarina

Click the video frame above to view the presentation. To ask the presenters a question about their presentation, please add a comment at the bottom of this page between October 3 and October 8. Presenters will check for and reply to questions each symposium day.

Abstract

Different systems of telecollaboration have emerged due to the growing interest in understanding how online interactions amongst participants occur (O’dowd, 2013). For Belz (2002), telecollaboration accounts for the use of virtual technology tools which combine collaborative projects and the possibility of dealing with intercultural issues. Similarly, O’Dowd (2006) suggests that inasmuch as in telecollaborative spaces learners may “reflect critically on their own culture through questions posed by their partners” (p. 134), the focus of research on the interaction taken place in online encounters can fall both in language learning as well as in intercultural issues. The objective of this presentation is to revise four studies (O’Dowd, 2003; O’Dowd, 2006; Baker, 2012; and Dervin, 2014) with a view to understanding how intercultural issues in telecollaborative spaces are interpreted by the authors.

Despite our acknowledgment concerning the applicability and complexity inherent to the adoption of analysis procedures, a careful review of these studies reveals that culture appears to be equated with nation. For instance, such an inclination to national characteristics is evinced in O’Dowd (2006) when he describes the questionnaire he applied to the participants in order to ascertain their attitude and opinion towards learning by means of digital technology: “In general, the Germans reported a desire to find out more about the American way of life and culture and to improve their English writing skills. The American group also mentioned an interest in finding out about the target culture” (p.95).

In this regard, Risager (2007) argues that features grounded solely on national frameworks can be viewed as an opportunity for their consequent and subsequent overcoming, that is, the author makes us reflect on the following questions: “[…what features must be preserved from the national paradigm, and what must – or can – be discarded and transcended? (p.195, 2007). We do not suggest that we oppose the idea of the inclusion of analyzes relating to distinctive aspects of the participants’ home country. However, the review of the four studies points out that the likelihood of transcending stereotypical images did not seem to get enough attention.

Presenters
Rodrigo Schaefer

Federal University of Santa Catarina

rodrigoschaefer2@gmail.com

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a hybrid symposium on research and practice

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