One key theme in the area of computer-assisted language learning has been the potential of computermediated communication (CMC) for the language learning process. Here, CMC refers to communication conducted through the medium of computers connected to one another in local or global networks. It requires specific software tools and can be either synchronous (e.g., chat, audio- or videoconferencing) or asynchronous (e.g., e-mail, threaded discussion lists). This chapter explores how CMC might contribute to language learning and teaching. Starting off with an overview of the development of research in this field, a model for the analysis of successful telecollaboration procedures and processes is used for the discussion of a German-Australian exchange.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Synchronous CMC: The term is often used to refer to communication in a chat room or via videoconferencing, where the participants have to be present at their computers at the same time.
Asynchronous CMC: The term is often used to refer to communication by e-mail or via a discussion list, where the recipients of the e-mail or the participants in the discussion do not have to be present at the same time and can respond at their own convenience.
CACD (Computer-Assisted Classroom Discussion): The computer-assisted discussion between language learners in a classroom setting
E-Mail Tandem Learning: Asynchronous electronic communication between learners of different target languages where two people with different native languages work together in pairs in order to help one another improve their language skills but also to learn more about one another’s culture.
CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication): Refers to human communication via computers and includes many different forms of synchronous or asynchronous interaction that humans have with each other using computers as tools to exchange text, images, audio and video.
ICC (Intercultural Competence): The ability to successfully communicate with people from other cultures. ICC refers to a person’s capacity to capture and understand culture-specific concepts in perception, thinking, feeling and acting.
Telecollaboration: Asynchronous electronic communication between language learners in different locations in a so-called virtual classroom.