Virtual exchange in language education

Virtual exchange (VE), also termed as telecollaboration or intercultural online exchange (IOE), entails a situation in which students interact and cooperate, and thus engage in intercultural exchange, with peers from partner institutions by means of online communication tools under the guidance of their teachers or facilitators.

Virtual exchange is reported to have a positive impact on students’ personal growth, foreign language (FL) competences as well as intercultural and transversal skills. Being easily accessible to students from different cultural, geographical, linguistic and economic backgrounds, as well as to students with disabilities, VE promotes inclusive education and social equity.

Research objectives

VE is a relatively new trend in education, which is reflected in the scarcity of publications and teacher education opportunities in the area of language assessment. This project aims to addresses this gap by conducting a research study that aims to explore assessment practices as well as the FL teachers beliefs’ about the shape and the content of assessment in virtual exchanges. The data will be collected by means of both qualitative and quantitative instruments: a questionnaire, a online reflective journal, semi-structured interviews and a document analysis framework.

Practical outcomes

The research findings will be used to formulate practical recommendations for improving assessment in VE projects and set up a collection of real-life examples of promising practices illustrating effective efforts of planning and administering assessment in virtual projects in Europe and beyond. The practical implications will be of relevance to stakeholders ranging from teachers, teacher educators, curriculum designers, researchers, to policy-makers