Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lingua Inglese II - Laurea Specialistica A.A. '08-'09

EFL 2.0 and Intercultural Competence

Credits: 3

Duration: 10 weeks in the 1st semester, 10 weeks in the 2nd semester

First lesson: The first full week of October. Date and location will be announced shortly in another post in this blog.

Teacher: Sarah Guth


Students who choose not to attend the course will have to take a C1-level exam at the end of the second semester. The exam has four components: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Course Description

This is an advanced English as a Foreign Language course that aims to improve students’ English language skills (all 4) through the use of Web 2.0 tools and social software in order to improve information and participation literacy skills as well. Social software’ is a term used to speak about a new generation of web-based tools that facilitate human expression, communication, and collaboration. This course will use several different types of social software to help students develop their technological and collaboration skills while at the same time improving their English. The tools we will be using are weblogs (online journals), wikis (systems for collective authoring), distributed classification systems such as, and the use of RSS feeds to distribute information not to mention other fun tools involving video, image, slide and music sharing.

A secondary aim of the course is to develop students’ intercultural competence. Culture, both one’s own and ‘the other’, will be the overriding theme of the entire course. Students will be given the opportunity to develop this skill through reading, reflection, writing, speaking, listening, watching and doing exchanges with students in the United States and, for some, Poland as well.


Students who choose to attend this course are expected to participate actively and, in the end, form part of a dynamic research community. This course is intended for students of the laurea specialistica who are able to express themselves well in English, able to autonomously take control over their own learning process as well as work in groups, and who are motivated and curious.

Course Objectives

  1. Students will improve their written fluency in English and their reflective and critical thinking skills by publishing their thoughts, opinions and reactions on a course blog and on a personal blog.
  2. Students will improve their written accuracy by contributing to a wiki and writing papers.
  3. Students will improve their spoken fluency and accuracy in English through classroom lessons and exchanges with students in the United States.
  4. Students will improve their reading and listening skills by learning how to access effective online resources.
  5. Students will develop their practical research skills using online information networks as they look for, find and share online resources.
  6. Students will develop competency in the use of blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and web syndication (rss feeds).
  7. Students will develop their intercultural competency through reading, reflection, writing and exchanges with students in the United States and, for some, Poland.

First Semester: Exchanges

The first semester will be entirely dedicated to telecollaboration projects with university students abroad. For those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘telecollaboration’ is internet-based intercultural exchange between people of different cultural/national backgrounds set up in an institutional context with the aim of developing both language skills and intercultural communicative competence (Byram 1996) through structured tasks. In other words, projects that pair you up with students in different cultures in order to allow you to both practice your language skills and improve your cultural knowledge and understanding.

It is preferable to do the telecollaboration projects in the second semester, but this year I have only been able to set them up in the first semester so we’re going to have to jump right in, sink or swim. Since there are many of you, there will be two projects. You will have to choose which project you would like to participate in. Students in each exchange are expected to attend 2 hours of face-to-face lessons each week and to do 4-6 hours of work online each week.

Each student may participate in only one exchange!

Padova-Dickinson Exchange


Where to sign up:

Class meeting: Group A Thursdays, 14.30-16.20 and Group B Thursdays, 16.30-18.15

Brief description: This is a bilingual (English-Italian) synchronous oral exchange. You will spend one hour a week chatting with peers from the United States using Skype in the lab. The other hour of lesson will be dedicated to discussion and practical matters.

Tridem Exchange: SVSU, USA - PUT, Poland - UniPD, Italy


Where to sign up:

Class meeting: Thursdays, 10.30-12.00 lab A, Maldura

Brief description: This is a monolingual (English) asynchronous text exchange (although you always have the option of Skyping with your peers on your own time). You will spend several weeks collaborating with students from the USA and Poland on the creation of a report and a powerpoint presentation on cultural issues. Class time will be dedicated to working on and discussing the project.

Second Semester: Web 2.0 and personal learning environments

Work in the second semester will be dedicated to developing your skills to learn languages using the Internet, through online social communities, in order to become autonomous language learners.

Attendance and Participation

This is your last year of University study so it is expected that you are, by now, responsible, independent learners. However, unlike other courses, attendance in this course is compulsory and the number of students who may attend in the first semester limited to 78. The first semester is dedicated to telecollaboration, as explained above, and the success of these projects depends on student participation. Students who do not or cannot attend in the first semester are allowed to attend only in the second semester.

Weekly attendance and online participation are mandatory. Three absences from the weekly in-class lessons will be tolerated if notified in advance. Additional absences due to serious illnesses and family emergencies must be documented and notified to the instructor PRIOR to class. Unexcused absences will guarantee a lower final grade (minus 2 points per absence). You will be taken out of the exchange following three absences.

Required Books and Materials

All of our reading materials will by online resources made available by the instructor on the course blog or provided by the students themselves as a result of their online searches.

Course Environments

Course Blog: Here you will receive all communications regarding assignments (e-tivities), changes in the program, etc. You will complete some e-tivities here.

Personal Blogs: All students will be required to develop and maintain a personal blog. You will complete other e-tivities here. Your blog will be a record of your own personal learning during the course.

Interculture Wiki: The exchanges will be carried out on a wiki.

Distributed Research Database (and RSS feed): This database, maintained in, is where all the online research will be collected and shared. As you surf the web in search of resources for learning English and information about the topics we discuss in class and in the e-tivities, you will bookmark items using the tag bloggingenglish. Even if you decide an item is of little interest to you, you should bookmark it if you think it might be of interest to someone else in the class. The aggregated collection of items will be available to the whole class by subscribing to the RSS feed generated by You will select specific items from this database for your individual analysis, which you will post on your individual blogs (as part of specific e-tivities).


This course is graded in continuous assessment, i.e. there will be no final exam but rather you will be graded on what you produce during the course.

Online participation (learner diary): 10%

In-class participation (discussion, debates, questions): 10%

Mid-term paper: 15%

Online Exchange: participation/collaboration, task completion: 30%

Self Assessment: 10%

Peer Assessment: 10%

Final oral presentation: 15%

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