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Exchanging views on telecollaboration

Call for proposals for a special issue of Alsic, edited by Anthippi Potolia and Sofia Stratilaki. Pour voir la version française.

Alsic special issue

Since the mid-1990s, and thanks to the development of online communication tools, telecollaboration experiences in the field of language teaching and learning have increased, giving L2 learners the opportunity of authentic exposure to other languages and to multiple cultural perspectives. These experiences give rise to simultaneous management of several contexts, often from a distance, and give language didactics researchers interesting tools to further investigate the language-related and intercultural (Belz, 2003; O'Dowd & Ritter, 2006; O'Dowd, 2007) as well as the emotional aspects of these types of exchanges. Over time, research in the field of telecollaboration has shown that beyond any technical innovation, it is the human and pedagogical aspects of collaboration which should primarily be focused on, as they appear to be the most promising in terms of knowledge appropriation and self-construction (Helm, 2013). From the viewpoint of education and lifelong learning – and according to the path of evolution put forth by the humanities at the turn of the 19th century (Foucault, 1966) – perceiving telecollaboration as an encounter between human beings raises the question of articulation between formal and informal contexts and their respective specific characteristics.

In this special issue of Alsic, we aim to take stock of the multiplicity of viewpoints regarding telecollaboration, whether via theoretical contributions – reporting on research developments in the area of telecollaboration – or via empirical studies that have contributed to an already rich bibliography on the subject with new contextual, methodological or intercultural insights. To achieve this, we opt for a broader conception of telecollaboration than that used in the original definition by Belz (2003: 2), also including teachers and through them institutional bodies. Indeed, based on Develotte and Mangenot (2007) and Zourou (2009), by telecollaboration we also mean situations of exchange built on an asymmetry of knowledge and know-how, and a complementarity between negotiation of meaning and negotiation of form. Negotiation of meaning involves competence in the practical application of knowledge and know-how by both teacher and learners. In this case, it is a question of developing or regulating communication so that meaning is (co-)constructed between the partners involved in the exchange. As for the negotiation of form, this is equivalent to an analytical language competence (according to Lyster, 1994) aiming at – beyond message comprehension – a certain level of linguistic precision. This meaning and form couplet allows the identification of a variety of didactical orientations and their challenges in educational cultures concerned by telecollaboration. We believe indeed that this couplet should be seen in terms of integration, alternation or sequencing in the management of telecollaborative activities.

We also feel that the institutional, indeed formal, dimension of telecollaboration should be reconsidered in its broader conception: this does not only mean questioning the new literacies that have been developed thanks to social web tools (Guth & Helm, 2010), and subsequently constructing "bridging activities" (Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008) so as to bring the informal into the formal; it is rather a matter of exploring, in non-formal situations – such as communities of online language learners –, the way in which knowledge and know-how are (co-)constructed and negotiated, and how they complement one another (Potolia & Zourou, 2013). This conception also leads us to review the tasks proposed by activities designers for the communities concerned, in an active process of social empowerment (Lewis, 2014) and intellectual emancipation (Rancière, 2004). Lastly, we extend the notion of telecollaboration to what we consider to be the new generation of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) (Schulmeister, 2013), dedicated to L2 learning, and based on an exchange of skills. In the current context, where the focus is on bilingual or multilingual and intercultural education (Stratilaki, 2011), it will be a question of building knowledge and know-how, and of acknowledging and validating these in new ways compared to "traditional" pedagogical practices, (by opting for collaborative tasks, for example). We thus find the added value of the telecollaborative dimension of learning, i.e. the capacity to interact and to (co-)construct meaning with L2 native speakers. As an example, English-speaking learners of FFL could develop tasks together, then get feedback from French-speaking learners studying English and vice versa.

The studies included in this issue will:

  • cover the different players and bodies involved in telecollaboration projects;

  • focus on telecollaboration in primary, secondary and university teaching (or even outside any formal context), within the framework of multilingual and intercultural education;

  • relate experiences of language learning and teaching via telecollaboration and the use of synchronous and/or asynchronous tools to this end;

  • opt for exchanges in tandem and/or in lingua franca;

  • reflect on working methods (pooling, discussion, cooperation, working together), on negotiation of meaning and development of learning tasks, and on the connection between proposed tasks and communication scenarios (Dejean-Thircuir & Mangenot, 2006);

  • highlight the intercultural and multilingual aspects of these exchanges, and issues concerning stereotyping and conflicts of opinion (O'Dowd & Ritter, 2006) or even different educational cultures;

  • demonstrate the interest of approaches centred on reflexivity and (re)discovery of oneself and others, operating through the prism of distancing implemented, for instance, by keeping logs and/or by studying verbal exchanges aimed at mediation and reflection (Schneider & Von der Emde, 2006).

Expected contributions

The special issue will have the same format as regular issues of the Alsic review. Contributions will be made under one of the following headings: Research, Practice and research, Points of view, exchanges. For more information on these headings, please see the link


Text, images, videos.

Languages of publication

Submissions will be accepted in French or English. Since this approach is focused on an exchange of views, we strongly encourage contributions in English, derived from a variety of research contexts.


Initially, we require a 4,000-character abstract (not including spaces and references), to be sent to and by 30th October 2015. If you cannot respect the deadline please notify us as soon as possible. The selected authors must send their complete text in the first quarter of 2016. The submissions accepted will be published online during 2016.

Scientific committee

Emmanuelle ANNOOT, université de Rouen, FR
Nathalie AUGER, université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, FR
Françoise BLIN, Dublin City University, IR
Jean-François, BOURDET, université du Maine, FR
Linda BRADLEY, Chalmers University of Technology, SE
Julie BYRD CLARK, Western University, CA
Thierry CHANIER, université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand, FR
Chantal CHARNET, université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, FR
Christopher CHASE, Seinan Gakuin University, Fukuoka, JP
Cathy COHEN, université Claude-Bernard Lyon – Espé, FR
Daniel COSTE, ENS-LSH de Lyon, FR
Ingrid DE SAINT-GEORGES, université du Luxembourg, LU
Christian DEGACHE, université Grenoble Alpes, FR
Charlotte DEJEAN-THIRCUIR, université Grenoble Alpes, FR
Melinda DOOLY, universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, SP
Darren ELLIOTT, Nanzan University, Nagoya, JP
Fiona FARR, Limerick University, IR
Anne-Laure FOUCHER, université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand, FR
Laurent GAJO, université de Genève, CH
Muriel GROSBOIS, université Paris Sorbonne – Espé, FR
Nicolas GUICHON, université Lumière Lyon 2, FR
Mirjam HAUCK, Open University, GB
Francesca HELM, university of Padova, IT
Adelheid HU, université du Luxembourg, LU
Phil HUBBARD, Stanford University, US
Gosia KUREK, Jan Długosz University, Częstochowa, PL
Tim LEWIS, Open University, GB
Mônica MACEDO-ROUET, université Vincennes Saint-Denis Paris 8, FR
François MANGENOT, université Grenoble Alpes, FR
Pascal MARQUET, université de Strasbourg, FR
Muriel MOLINIÉ, université Sorbonne nouvelle Paris 3, FR
Andreas MÜLLER-HARTMANN, Pädagogische Hochschule, Heidelberg, DE
Elke NISSEN, université Grenoble Alpes, FR
Robert O'DOWD, université de León, ES
Christian OLLIVIER, université de la Réunion, FR
Breffni O'ROURKE, Trinity College, Dublin, IR
Henri PORTINE, université Bordeaux Montaigne, FR
Maguy, POTHIER, université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand, FR
Cécile POUSSARD, université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, FR
Annick RIVENS MOMPEAN, université de Lille 3, FR
Muge SATAR, Open University, GB
Birgit SCHÄDLICH, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, DE
Geoffrey SOCKETT, université Paris Descartes, FR
Thierry SOUBRIÉ, université Grenoble Alpes, FR
Valérie SPAËTH, université Sorbonne nouvelle Paris 3, FR
Shona WHYTE, université Nice Sophia Antipolis, FR
Ciara WIGHAM, université Lumière Lyon 2, FR
Geneviève ZARATE, Inalco, FR
Katerina ZOUROU, Web2Learn (, GR


If you have any questions, please contact us at the following addresses: and


Les liens externes étaient valides à la date de publication.

Belz, J. A. (dir.) (2003). Telecollaboration. Language Learning & Technology Journal, vol. 7, n° 4.

Dejean-Thircuir, C. & Mangenot, F. (2006). "Tâches et scénarios de communication dans les classes virtuelles". Les Cahiers de l'Asdifle, n°17, pp. 310-321.

Develotte, C. & Mangenot, F. (2007). "Discontinuités didactiques et langagières au sein d'un dispositif pédagogique en ligne". Glottopol, n° 10. pp. 127-144. Available online:

Foucault, M. (1966). Les mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard.

Guth, S. & Helm, F. (dir.) (2010). Telecollaboration 2.0. Language, Literacies and Intercultural learning in the 21st century. Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Vienna: Peter Lang.

Helm, F. (2013). "A dialogic model for telecollaboration". Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, vol. 6, n° 2. pp. 28-48. Available online:

Lewis, T. (2014). "Learner autonomy and the theory of sociality". In Murray, G. & Smith, R. (dir.). Social Dimensions of Autonomy in Language Learning. London: Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 37-59.

Lyster, R. (1994). "La négociation de la forme: stratégie analytique en classe d'immersion". La revue canadienne des langues vivantes, vol. 50 n° 3. pp. 446-465.

O'Dowd, R. (dir.) (2007). Online intercultural exchange. An introduction for foreign language teachers. Multilingual Matters.

O'Dowd, R. & Ritter, M. (2006). "Understanding and working with ʽfailed communicationʼ in telecollaborative exchanges". Calico Journal, vol. 23, n° 3. pp. 623-642. Available online:

Potolia, A. & Zourou, K. (2013). "Rétroaction et entraide dans les communautés web 2.0 d'apprenants de langue". In Ollivier, C & L. Puren, L. (dir.). Mutations technologiques, nouvelles pratiques sociales et didactique de langue – Le français dans le monde – Recherches et applications. pp. 108-119.

Rancière, J. (2004). Le maître ignorant. Cinq leçons sur l'émancipation intellectuelle. Paris: 10/18 Poche.

Schneider, J. & Von der Emde, S. (2006). "Conflicts in cyberspace: From communication breakdown to intercultural dialogue in online collaborations". In Belz, J. A. & Thorne, S. L. (dir.). Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education, Boston: Thomson Heinle Publishers. pp. 178-206.

Schulmeister, R. (dir.) (2013). Moocs – Massive Open Online Courses. Offene Bildund oder Geschäftsmodel? Munster: Waxmann. Available online:

Stratilaki, S. (2011). Discours et représentations du plurilinguisme. Francfort/Main: Peter Lang.

Thorne, S. L. & Reinhardt, J. (2008). "'Bridging Activities,' New Media Literacies, and Advanced Foreign Language Proficiency". CALICO Journal, vol. 25, n° 3. pp. 558-572. Available online:

Zourou, K. (2009). "L186arning settings: reflections on symmetry and interaction". JALT CALL, vol. 5, n° 1. pp. 3-20. Available online:

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