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Do we really need a webcam? The uses that foreign language students make out of webcam images during teletandem sessions

João Antonio Telles
Paper presented at the iLearning Forum 2009.
Paris, Palais des Congrès, janeiro de 2009.
The focus of the study presented in this paper is on the use of webcam images by
teletandem partners when they virtually interact in order to learn the language of the
other. This is a distinguishing feature of this foreign language learning context a
feature that actually characterizes teletandem and approaches it to face-to-face
interaction. However, a close look poses several challenges to research on the on-line
interaction within this learning context and to its pedagogical applications in the fields
of language learning and intercultural communication: (a) the webcam image frequently
frames the person from the chest above (partners, therefore, get the power to control
what the other is able to see, or what is to be seen); (b) eye gaze never reaches the eye-
to-eye contact of face-to-face interaction, unless both partners keep looking at the
webcam, yet are unable to see each other; (c) most instant messaging software today
allow us to see our own image while simultaneously being able to see our partner’s
image, and that gives a distinctive characteristic to this interaction in terms of identity
and alterity construction (most frequently, we never see our own faces while interacting
with others). In addition to these challenges, there are the pedagogical ones: how to
educate language learners to take the best profit of these software resources; how
learners take the best control and use of these images during the interaction in order to
maximize the learning of the language and culture of the other; what impact do webcam
images can have on the feelings of presence of a partner who speaks a foreign language
and is from a different culture? Grounded on empirical data collected from teletandem
practitioners, the objectives of this paper is (a) to offer an overview of these issues; (b)
to prompt into the behavior of speakers and listeners (Kendon, 1970/1990) in order to
better understand how they make use of webcam images of instant messaging software
when interacting during teletandem sessions; and (b) to plot themes of research
regarding the use of webcam images during on-line teletandem interaction.
The first part of the paper, due to restrictions of space, provides a fast overview
of the theoretical grounds the study in terms of images, gestures, non-verbal language
(Kendon, 1967; Streeck, 1992) and teletandem (Telles, 2006; Telles & Vassallo, 2006).
In the second part, I place the study within the qualitative, interpretive paradigm of
educational research and describe the field, the participants, data collection instruments,
procedures and analysis. The third part presents the data analysis results. I conclude
with a few comments building upon a hermeneutic analysis approach to the data, and
present an overview of research perspectives that this data analysis suggests.
1. Theoretical foundation
1.1. About tandem learning and teletandem
Foreign language learning in- tandem (Brammerts, 2003, Lewis & Walker,
2003) involves pairs of (native or competent) speakers whose aim is to learn each
other’s language by means of bilingual conversation sessions. Within this autonomous,
reciprocal and pair collaboration learning context, each partner becomes both a learner
of the foreign language and a tutor of his/her mother tongue (or language in which
he/she feels proficient).
Teletandem (Telles & Vassallo, 2006), in turn, is a virtual, collaborative and
autonomous context within which the principles of foreign language learning in-tandem
are applied by using the reading, writing, speaking, listening and video resources of
instant messaging software, such as Skype, Windows Live Messenger or Oovoo (just as
examples). The advancement and relatively low cost of instant messaging software has
helped foreign language learners who live in isolated places of the Earth and in
countries with huge geographical dimensions (therefore, making traveling quite an
expensive luxury) to easily get in touch with other languages and cultures of the world.
Vassallo & Telles (2006) and Telles & Vassallo (2006) have settled the
theoretical and practical grounds for teletandem practices that are carried out on
relatively similar bases of the commonly agreed and shared principles of reciprocity and
autonomy of tandem learning, as specified by Brammerts (2003). The first research
results on (a) the use that teletandem practitioners make out of the software available in
market today, (b) on its virtual interaction dimensions and (c) on teacher development
within the teletandem context can be found in Telles (2009). The team of researchers of
the Teletandem Brasil Project: Foreign languages for all
has offered new pedagogical
perspectives on using the multimodal resources of instant messaging software and
teacher mediation of teletandem partners (see Telles, 2009).
1.2. About the use of images and their importance to communication in a foreign
Though still quite different from face-to-face interaction, the use of webcam
images during teletandem interactions brings back the old discussions on the importance
of the non-verbal dimension of communication in foreign language and on the challenge
of non-verbal awareness that started in the sixties and went through the seventies and
eighties (Kendon, 1970/1990; Dunning, 1971; Kirch, 1979; Pennycook, 1985). These
attempts continued until the end of the nineties (see Allen, 1999) and, nowadays, these
issues return within the context of on-line multimodal communication, such as in
Jauregi & Bañados (2008) who investigate video-web communication tools and their
contribution to enriching the quality of foreign language curricula. An extensive account
on the value of videodata and video links in mediated communication can be found in
Anderson et al. (2000).
Research question: What uses do foreign language students make out of webcam
images during their teletandem sessions?
2. Methodology
From the ontological point of view, the methodology used in this study falls into
the qualitative and interpretive approaches to research and constructivist- hermeneutic
approach to data analysis. According to Guba & Lincoln (1998), these approaches see
multiple realities that are apprehended in the form of multiple mental constructions that
are socially and empirically grounded, situated and specific in nature. From the
epistemological point of view, the findings are constructed from making sense and
meaning construction once the researcher is in contact with the data and the research
evolves. According to Guba & Lincoln (1998), researcher and the object of research are
interactively linked. From the methodological point of view, the personal and variable
A project carried out in the Graduate Program of Language Studies of São Paulo State University at São
José do Rio Preto, Brazil, and sponsored by FAPESP São Paulo State Foundation for the Support of
Research. See for academic research and the pedagogical actions of this
nature of the social constructions suggests that individual constructions of my
participants can be elicited and refined between me and them.
2.1. Method
2.1.1. Participants
The 22 participants in this study were first to fourth year university students. The
levels of foreign language proficiency varied from basic (German language, for
instance) to advanced (English, French, Italian and Spanish). At the end of their fourth
year of university, most of these students will become teachers of the foreign language
they are studying, after having a year of teaching practicum in their fourth year. Most
participating students had a minimum of four weeks to a year of teletandem practice
using the webcam image device of their instant messaging software.
2.1.2. Data collection instrument and procedures
The majority of these participants had at least two months (about 16 hours) of
teletandem practice when they were asked to answer a questionnaire composed of 10
questions. Each of these questions aimed at gathering the participants’ view of their
experiences in using webcam images of instant messaging software such as Skype,
Windows Live Messenger or Oovoo. These questions and their respective objectives are
described in Table 1, below:
1. In your opinion what is the contribution of
webcam image resources to your
To obtain participants’ verbal accounts of
webcam images as a learning resource
2. In your opinion, what is the difference
between having a teletandem session with
and without webcam images?
To obtain participants’ points of view on the
differences between using and not using a
webcam for teletandem sessions
3. What do you see in the image that comes of
your partner? Why?
To access the meanings that participants
construct when they look at the window that
shows the images of their partners abroad
To know the roles that these images play in the
language learning process
4. What do you see on the screen that shows
your own image? Why?
To access the meanings that participants
construct when they look at the window that
shows the images of themselves
To know the roles that these images play in the
language learning process
5. During your teletandem session to which
window do you look longer, your own or
your partner’s? Why?
To obtain information on how learners manage
the use of their partners’ and their own images
during the interaction process
6. During a teletandem session, when do you
look at your own image? Why?
To obtain information on how learners manage
the use of their own images during the
interaction process
7. When you talk with your partner, do you
To obtain information on how learners use the
look at his image or at the camera? Why?
webcam to manage eye gaze, as they talk with
their partners during the interaction process
8. When you listen to your partner, do you look
at his image or at the camera? Why?
To obtain information on how learners use the
webcam to manage eye gaze, as they listen to
their partners during the interaction process
9. Do you spruce or pay attention to how you
are dressed and combed before your
teletandem session? Why?
To obtain information on how learners wish to
show themselves to their partners during the
interaction process
10. Are you concerned with the webcam images
that you will be sending to your partner
(position of the webcam, what will be
behind you, focus, etc.)? Why?
To confirm previous question, but with focus on
other aspects rather than on oneself.
TABLE 1: The questions in the questionnaire and their objectives
All the participants had the time they wished to answer the questions
2.1.3. Procedures for data analysis
Data analysis was conducted following a hermeneutic approach (van Manen,
1990). First, the answers to each of the questions was read carefully, highlighting the
parts that were relevant to the objective of the question. Secondly, these parts were
grouped by themes (thematic analysis) in attempt to reach an the overall meanings of all
the answers given to each of the questions.
According do van Manen (1990), the process of writing about the results,
assigning meaning to the answers that were given by the participants and trying to
organize these meanings in relevant themes are parts of a hermeneutic, interpretive
approach to data analysis.
3. Results
3.1. The contribution of the webcam images to the teletandem sessions
The majority of the students who participated in this study believe that the webcam
images have an impact over (a) the communication and learning; and (b) the non-verbal
dimension of communication in the foreign language.
3.1.1. The impact over communication and learning
We did the first two sessions without video, because my partner said she did not have a
webcam in her computer. From the third session on, she started using her husband‟s
laptop that had a cam. Goodness! What an improvement! She herself, when saw her
image, exclaimed: „Wow, that‟s a different thing with two images!‟ As for me, I could
see her smile and face expressions and how excited she was in practicing teletandem
with me; and that motivated me even more. [P51]
According to the students, the webcam images give them feelings of closeness,
informality, reality, credibility and mutual identification during the communication with
their teletandem partners. In terms of learning, webcam images help them to solve
vocabulary and to learn cultural aspects by just showing something through the
webcam. In addition, the images provide cues whether they are or are not being
understood, and allow them to explore the space of communication. The answers
prompt us researchers to further explore what the students have meant by “mutual
identification” and “exploration of the space of communication”. Being able “to see”
(behaviour, ways of dressing, gestures and the living environment of) the people from a
different culture certainly adds new content and involvement when studying their
language and interacting with them.
3.1.2. The impact over the non-verbal dimension of communication in the foreign
(...) through images and gestures, we can also learn new words. [P29]
The answers given by the students show that their use of webcam images during
teletandem sessions focus on partners’ face expressions and gestures. Students said that
the image resource of instant messaging software provide feelings of closeness,
familiarization, warmth and sense of face-to-face interaction. Not only that, webcam
images affect the quality of communication because they provide access to partners’
face expressions, and through them, they can interpret partners’ reactions to what is
being said. Students will also know whether the subject being discussed is pleasant.
However, even though being a minority, a few students reported that the images can
work on the opposite way, making conversation more tense and formal, particularly in
the first teletandem sessions, when you are starting an interaction with someone that
you do not know and wish to keep some distance (we must remember that webcam
images by most instant messaging software gets a close of our faces from chest up).
In sum of questions one and two of the questionnaire, regarding the contribution
of the resources to and the differences of practicing teletandem with and without
webcam images, we could say that students believe that webcam images: (a) make
teletandem sessions more interactive and dynamic; (b) provide access to facial and
gesture reactions of their partners to what they say; (c) facilitate comprehension by
providing visual cues whether they are being understood or whether the conversation
topic is enjoyable; (d) provide partners with a sense of self-confidence and security in
regards to conversation; (e) allow a better coordination of turn-taking during
conversation (preventing overlapping of conversational turns); (f) provide a sense of
proximity and intimacy. Students have also reported that teletandem without webcam
images make conversation merely technical, electronic, artificial, impersonal, and
resembles telephone conversation (distant).
Nevertheless, a few students have showed unfavourable opinions about the use
of webcam images. They reported that they felt ashamed when using them while
speaking a foreign language, and that webcam images can become quite intrusive, by
exposing feelings, gestures and reactions that they preferred to hide from their partners.
3.2. The mirror: What teletandem practitioners see in their own images during
Since most instant messaging software show one’s own image while interacting
with the partner(s), and since this is a distinguishing feature that makes instant
messaging interaction distinctive from face-to-face interaction, it is important for us to
know what exactly students observe in their own images that are simultaneously shown
with those of their partner’s during teletandem conversations.
The majority of the students’ answers to questions 4, 6 and 9 of the
questionnaire fall in the purpose of control; that is, they use of one’ own webcam image
to keep control of something during the interaction. Students reported that they look at
the window that shows their own image to: (a) control their self-appearance; (b) make
technical adjustments of the webcam (to control the framing of their own image) and (c)
to control one’s own reactions during communication. Within these three categories that
have controlling purposes, we have access to more complex dimensions of on-line
webcam image use during interactions.
3.2.1. Using one‟s own images to control self-appearance
According to students’ answers, they look at their own images with the purpose
to control how they are being shown to their partners. Their concern is mainly on face,
hair, clothes and looking neat, in order to give a good impression (an impression that
can turn to be an impression of their country Brazil, in the case).
I observe myself because I feel like controlling and following up how I am being shown
to my partner. [P25]
I believe that nobody on the other side wants to see someone in “rags”. So, I always
spruce and waste precious minutes by observing my own webcam image before starting
a session. [P23]
(…) in front of a webcam I will be exposed, I will be observed, just like by anybody else
that I see in the street, etc. So, I must be at least “presentable”. [P19]
Yes[I spruce]. I like to look good, particularly on video. And, who knows, maybe I will
find a nice marriage! [P11]
I spruce before a session, because it is not nice to catch your partner with a messy hair,
or with a low neckline, showing your boobs or a number of other things. [P52]
Hum... I keep trying to see if I look beautiful... I am serious... our image says a lot about
who we are, and without us being aware of it... I always try to look neat, so that I will
not convey a sloppy image. After all, I represent Brazil abroad, at least a part of it, and
I wish to convey a good impression of it… [P53]
3.2.2. Using one‟s own images make technical adjustments of the webcam
Students also look at their own images to make technical adjustments of their
webcam, with the purpose to control the quality of the image they will be sending to
their partners. The reports that fall into this theme were frequently focused on the aim to
improve (a) the quality of the interaction and (b) the improvement of foreign language
I check if I am framed appropriately, because I have the custom to move my body a lot
and, sometimes, I get out of frame, with only part of my face showing up. [P54]
3.2.3. Using one‟s own images to control one‟s own reactions during communication
Students also reported that they use they look at their own images to control
their non-verbal reactions that are being sent to their partners. Such control has the
purpose of either improving the quality of the foreign language communication, to
convey an image to the partner, or to hide undesirable responses:
I try to keep a close watch over [the word used in Portuguese was close to “to police”]
and to control some reactions that I might have and that I do not wish to convey to my
(...) when I did not understand the explanation and to refrain from making weird faces
when showing that I did not understand my partners explanation. [P52]
(...) to make sure that I am not making too many undesirable “faces and mouths”.
(...) to check if I am showing my reactions to my partner appropriately, how I am
feeling in relation to her or to what she is saying; that is, if I understand or not, if I am
interested, if I liked it or not. (…).[P51]
3.2.4. Other uses of one‟s own images during teletandem interactions
Other three uses that students make of their own webcam images during their
teletandem sessions are related to (a) control of the surroundings; (b) avoidance, and (c)
conveying cultural aspects. The three may be mingled to the particular purposes of their
communication during teletandem sessions. The first case has to do with control of what
is shown about the environment that surrounds them. In the second case, they either
wish to avoid sending the image or pay little or no attention to it. Finally, the third case,
one’s own image or the image of one’s own surrounding is used to convey cultural
information (such as is the case of a grandmother passing in the background, a dog that
comes on the lap, an interruption by a phone call during a teletandem session).
What surrounds me, if I am presentable, if I am focused.[P9]
(...) and what there is behind me. [P14]
I almost do not look at my own image, because I keep observing the image of my
Nothing, because I do not look at it (the image] [P17]
I don‟t usually look at my own image, because my attention is focused on my
3.3. What teletandem practitioners see in their partners’ webcam images that come to
By order of importance, teletandem practitioners first look at the body of their
partners, then to their reactions, then to the surroundings where their partners are and,
finally, with a minimum of attention, to their clothes.
3.3.1. What do students look at their partners‟ body?
Because the webcam framing of the person is restricted to the chest above, students
mainly look at the face and its parts (particularly mouth and eyes), searching for
meaning expressions; at least by what they have stated in their responses. However, we
do have informal reports regarding sexuality, sensuality and gender during teletandem
sessions, even though these are quite difficult to obtain data about (students usually
report information about these issues to their classmates and not to us researchers or
teachers). For example, one of the respondents of this questionnaire reported: “In the
first session, I observe how my partner looks physically” [P51]. They report they
observe the mouth (a smile, a movement of it) for pronunciation, word articulation and
comprehension purposes, the eyes to check if their partners are paying attention, and the
face, as a whole, to verify reactions of interest, comprehension, irony, etc.
(...) I keep looking at the mouth, particularly during the time in Spanish (the foreign
language I study), so that I can imitate him when I talk.[P7]
3.3.2. What do students observe in their partners‟ reactions?
They wish to know (a) how the partner responds to what they say, (b) if their
behavior shows interest, (c) if they feel at ease or shy, (d) if they are afraid of making
mistakes, (e) if they feel tired, (f) to what extent they can go on with the argument or
topic, and (g) how the partner expresses himself verbally and non-verbally. All these
reports are turned to the potential of webcam images to affect the quality of on-line
One can observe many aspects by means of the webcam images, even the perception of
certain values of your partner, particularly if you can or cannot develop certain
subjects. For example: suppose someone is talking about a subject such as
homosexuality. By means of the webcam image and the return that it gives to us
(partner‟s reaction), it is possible to even perceive your partner‟s values and how deep
you can go on with the conversation. [P23]
3.3.3. What do students observe in the surroundings of their partners‟ images?
They observe the place where their partners are and look for cues from which to
draw cultural meanings. They believe that the surroundings of where their partners are
can provide them with information regarding the country and the life their partners lead.
I observe my partner, his expressions, gestures and also his house or the place where
He is. My partner from Texas has showed me all parts of his house indoors and
outdoors. It was cool to see the desert and the cactus in his backyard.[P25]
I see what the surroundings are, what he is dressing, how he is combed, etc., that
reveals a lot about his culture, what we have in common, how different we are. [P19]
3.4. To which image window do partners look when they talk with and when they
listen to their partners?
Finally, eye gaze during teleconferencing communication through instant
messaging functions quite differently from face-to-face communication. This is due to
the fact that, if we wish to look at our partners’ eyes, we must look at the object called
webcam, whether or not we like it. At least, this will be true until a device that works
simultaneously as a screen and a webcam is invented. For the time being, we must look
at the webcam if we want to show our partner we are looking at his/her eyes. Many
students who responded the questionnaire are aware of that, but they reported having
problems in looking at an object (the webcam), instead of at a person’s eyes. For them,
this is quite strange. Therefore, most of the students reported that they look at their
partners’ image window, whether they are talking or listening to them, for many many
reasons already stated above. Only a few students said they shift from their partners’
image window to the webcam while interacting.
I know I should look at the webcam when I talk with my partner during the sessions, but
that is practically and unconsciously forgotten. [P23]
This is kind of strange. I try to look at my webcam [when he talks], but it is difficult. We
are used to looking at people‟s eyes when we talk, so it seems more natural that we look
at the window of my partner‟s image. [P54]
Final Comments
Due to the restrictions of space, my attempt in this paper was to plot a few
important issues pertaining to the use that foreign language students make out of
webcam image resources that are offered by recent instant messaging software available
in the market. The particular context which these images were used in the paper
intercontinental communication by means of teletandem foreign language practice,
raised several issues that still deserve much investigation from linguistic, pragmatic,
sociological, anthropological, intercultural, and multimodal communication
I have posed I few challenges with which we have been dealing in the Project
Teletandem Brasil: Foreign languages for all ( ). The
research perspectives are quite intriguing and themes plotted by the students’ answers
that were thematically organized in ways that can offer several research perspectives.
In response to the first question posed in the title of this paper Do we really
need a webcam?, the results obtained from the analyses show that the answer is “yes,
we do need it” if we wish to take advantage of the multimodal communication resources
that instant messaging software have to offer to distant foreign language teaching and
learning nowadays. The days of using frontal teaching, blackboard and chalk to teach
foreign languages are gone, at least in many parts of the world where people can have
access to computers and the internet; and that will soon be true in developing countries,
as communication hardware and software become less expensive. Students of the XXI
century will be able to access the languages and cultures of the world faster than we can
think of, and they will be able to interact with the target language, culture and social
spaces virtually, as the Brazilian student reported to enter the backyard of his partner in
Texas and see a cactus.
Finally, the students’ answers to the questions posed by the questionnaire, poses us
several research challenges, particularly to foreign language pedagogy and teacher
development that adopts instant messaging technology. Teachers, students and their
pedagogical environment, must be prepared for that. For example, one of the challenges
of such pedagogy is the collaboration between foreign language teachers and their
respective institutions around the world they must collaborate pedagogically, even
though their teaching environments and cultures may be quite different. After all, this is
the gratifying task of teaching and learning foreign language the diverse and
intercultural contact amongst the different people, languages and cultures of the world.
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The purpose of this research study was to delve into Business English learners’ perceptions of synchronous online tuition and its potential as a substitute for face-to-face tuition in a one-to-one educational context. It involved nine French-speaking students spanning different proficiency levels and who completed at least a course consisting of twenty lessons which involved voice and text-based communication using Cisco Webex Meeting Center. They were asked to complete questionnaires and to attend semi-structured interviews in French, which were recorded and transcribed.The results show that the learners were generally pleased with the course and its medium. They commented on its flexibility both in terms of space and time, the former enabling them to have lessons from their office or home and the latter allowing them to schedule lessons according to their schedules. The respondents believed that the voice-based nature of the medium was effective in enhancing their listening and speaking skills, but not all acknowledged the benefits of text-based communication. Technical issues were considered a hindrance by several participants, while digital literacy, learning disabilities and learning styles were alluded to as factors which could affect the learning process. Blended learning was suggested to include further practice with colleagues or face-to-face tuition.
... However, one participant also noted the problem of keeping mutual eye-contact via webcam. Using webcams in student-to-student dyadic foreign language practice emerged as crucial for the creation of informal and credible communication; with some study participants also reporting that seeing themselves on video also worked as control function in regard to their non-verbal communication ( Telles, 2010 ). The study on 56 teacher education students by Nilsen et al. (2013) likewise shows mixed results as students reported increased awareness of posture and conduct since "broadcasting with your own web camera also makes you feel more visible " (p. ...
... Develotte et al., 2010 ;Lenkaitis, 2020 ), on rather specific contexts of dyadic conversation (e.g. Kozar, 2016 ;Telles, 2010 ), or on one discipline ( Nilsen et al., 2013 ) -with these studies relying on overall small sample sizes and employing mostly qualitative approaches. With the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in increased reliance on videoconferencing and institution-wide application, research into this topic has taken to target webcam (non)use ( Castelli & Sarvary, 2021 ;Gherhe ș et al., 2021). ...
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The pandemic situation continues to influence teaching and learning in higher education, with students oftentimes participating in synchronous videoconferencing sessions as a means to interact with peers and instructors. The frequently noted non-use of webcams by students incited the current study, investigating usage behavior as well as potentially related course variables and individual characteristics. N = 3,527 students from a German university took part in an online survey at the end of the regular summer term 2020 (August 2020). Findings indicate that students’ webcam usage behavior was related to personal thoughts and feelings (e.g., privacy), to course characteristics (e.g., group cohesion), and it differed due to specific groups (gender, study level). With the ongoing importance of videoconferencing in higher education, this study provides a foundation for further investigation into this synchronous learning context.
... Using a webcam during the course is determined as an anxiety-provoking factor because of its sharing feature. This finding is in agreement with Kozar's (2015) findings which show perceptions of teachers and learners about webcam use in the context of computer-assisted foreign language learning as well as studies of Burger (2013) and Telles (2010), although these results differ from some published studies (Jauregi et al., 2012;Marcelli et al., 2005) which report the engaging and motivating effects of using webcam in the process of online foreign language learning. More than half of learners also state that they feel more uncomfortable when they are supposed to turn their webcams on, while some indicate that they feel more comfortable even if they are required to turn on their webcams compared to traditional class experiences. ...
With a prompt rise in the development of technology and with the advent of the internet in the 1990s, walls of classrooms have been demolished by the innovations of the current century. These developments also breathe new life into foreign language education and change the concept of the classroom while casting challenging roles for both learners and instructors, which ends up a new type of education on the stage of online education platforms. This brand-new way of foreign language learning has brought about extra anxiety in learners. In order to find out the reasons for foreign language anxiety, which affects learners’ process of foreign language learning in the online world, a total number of 75 undergraduate foreign language learners (n=75) who are taking online oral communication courses in the English Language Teacher Education Program (the Spring of the academic year 2019-2020) at Ondokuz Mayıs University in Turkey are involved in this research voluntarily. This study aims to investigate what kind of effects online learning has on foreign language learners’ anxiety in the process of online foreign language education, what the challenges are for online foreign language learners, how learners perceive online foreign language education, and what the learners' perceived reasons are for anxiety in an online foreign language learning environment through semi-structured interview forms. Certain significant factors which affect learners’ foreign language learning anxiety in an online world context have been determined. Some certain suggestions are made to alleviate the foreign language anxiety levels of the learners in online foreign language learning contexts.
... Once online learning became the norm with COVID-19, the previous understanding that inclass learning involved either focus on the teacher or on peers now had to be modified to include an additional focus on the self as seen with webcams. Learners have described this normative shift, requiring that they look at themselves, as giving them personal discomfort-making them feel ashamed and exposed [118]-putting them in the position of considering themselves as other. Prior studies have shown that physical self-concept accounts for most of the variation in self-esteem-academic and social self-concepts play a much lesser role [119]. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted continuing constraints on the ability of students to interact with teachers and peers. Regarding this imposed segregation, what has not been considered is the effect of learners seeing self as other. With respect to augmentations of their body in interpersonal space by, (1) extending the body through witnessing themselves regularly in videoconferencing learning sessions, (2) isolating the body as a result of spending time apart from peers, social distancing at home, and (3) protecting the body through required mask-wearing where learners now consider who they represent in a mask, there are three important ways in which learners have felt unable to recognize themselves as they did pre-COVID-19. This migration from self to other, involving ingroup/outgroup distinctions, will be investigated from a number of perspectives—both sociological and psychological. Why the turning of self into other is problematic to the psyche will be discussed, as will the possible consequences for this ongoing lack of learner recognition long term, including focus on the new norms or embracing self-directed learning. Based on this analysis, the type of mentorship by teachers and parents that may be appropriate for helping learners contend with these changes will be recommended.
... Teletandem (Telles & Vassallo, 2006;Vassallo & Telles, 2006;Vassallo, 2009;Telles, 2015aTelles, , 2015b has resources such as voice, image and writing, and can be defi ned as video conferencing between two interactants 7 who are learning each other's language (Vassallo, 2009). The three guiding principles of teletandem are the following: reciprocity, autonomy and separate use of languages (Telles, 2009). Reciprocity, according to Brammerts (1996), refers to mutual support and interdependence between the two language learners, whereas autonomy is related to the commitment of both interactants regarding their own learning process. ...
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Telecollaboration relates to the use of online technologies in the context of language teaching and learning (O'Dowd, 2013). This study aimed at discussing how pedagogical mediation can contribute to the co-construction of interculturality in teletandem, the specifi c "mode of telecollaboration" (Telles, 2015a:604) in my research. Data analysis showed that opportunities for at least initial steps of a decentering attitude (Liddicoat & Scarino, 2013) came about due to pedagogical mediation, which means that teacher-mediators can encourage discussions that go beyond superfi cial cultural representations in the teletandem context.
... surroundings (Telles, 2010). This is similarly concluded by Develotte et al. (2010) who stress in their study on preservice language teachers, the social aspects of relationships as aided through webcam use: "Webcamming creates presence at a distance, installs an obvious connection between the participants and, furthermore, develops the quality of the pedagogical relationship [...]" (p. ...
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The Spring term 2020 saw a global switch to emergency remote teaching in higher education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside asynchronous online learning activities, students were called to participate in synchronous videoconferencing sessions, substituting the traditional on-campus face-to-face courses. Given the preponderance of students to avoid using webcams, this study sought to investigate usage behavior, as well as potentially related course variables and individual characteristics. 3,527 students from across all institutional faculties of a comprehensive German university took part in an online survey. Students' webcam usage behavior was related to personal thoughts and feelings (e.g., privacy), to course characteristics (e.g., group cohesion), and it differed due to specific groups (gender, study degree). Results of this research shed light on a globally present phenomenon and provide a foundation for further investigation.
... Током чета парови имају скоро синхрону комуникацију, која се брже одвија него мејлом, али у складу са претходно утврђеним правилима. Наиме, у чету се често дешава да један партнер (обично 6) Према новијим истраживањима (Telles 2009), утицаји web камере у Телетандему ипак дају позитивне резултате. онај којем је језик комуникације матерњи) брже пише, те самим тиме "ускаче" и прекида поруке свог партнера. ...
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The aim of this paper is to present the first experience in application of Teletandem method as additional tool for learning a second foreign language in context of University in Venice, Torino and Novi Sad. Teletandem enables students to develop some very important language skills, to access to a foreign culture in a new and original way, as well as to develop their didactic abilities. Learning a foreign language in a virtual social ambient can develop autonomy of students, who have the opportunity to practice a foreign language with native speaker in authentic communicative situation, through bilingual discussions and conversation of their own choice. Key words: second foreign language learning, e-learning, on-line interaction, Teletandem, distant education.
Les auteurs rendent compte de la façon dont les participants à un échange anglais-espagnol en tandem virtuel par vidéoconférence ont utilisé les possibilités offertes par la plateforme WebEx à titre de ressources multimodales en situation de négociation du sens. L’échange faisait intervenir cinq dyades d’étudiants universitaires ayant un niveau intermédiaire de compétence linguistique. Au total, sept tâches ont été réalisées dans chaque langue. L’analyse de la transcription de l’interaction a permis de dénombrer 915 épisodes mettant l’accent sur la forme (FFE — focus-on-form). Une analyse plus poussée des FFE a révélé que six types de ressources multimodales entraient en jeu au cours du processus de négociation : le clavardage, les images, l’ardoise blanche, la traduction électronique, la webcaméra et le dictionnaire papier. Parmi ces ressources, les plus fréquemment utilisées étaient le clavardage (comptant pour plus de la moitié de l’ensemble des FFE), les images et l’ardoise blanche. Bien que l’importance des ressources multimodales au cours de la négociation du sens ait été établie dans de précédentes études, les auteurs confirment ici la fréquence du recours à une combinaison de ressources, données statistiques à l’appui. À la différence des études précédentes, qui ont principalement porté sur Skype, la présente étude fait ressortir en quoi les possibilités accrues de la plateforme WebEx améliorent l’aptitude des participants à négocier le sens, particulièrement en ce qui se rapporte au clavardage, à la propriété du document partagé facilitant l’utilisation des images et à l’ardoise blanche pour les dessins. Bien que leur appréciation de la webcaméra ait été modérée pour ce qui a trait à l’apprentissage de la langue en soi, les participants en ont reconnu l’importance au niveau socioaffectif comme mécanisme permettant d’établir une présence sociale et de créer un lien avec leurs partenaires.
This chapter will trace recent trends in research on audio and video conferencing for language learning and teaching and outline the affordances and mediating effects of each platform that have communicative, socio-affective, and cognitive implications. On the basis of these characteristics, the author will argue that both audio and video conferencing have the potential to foster language learner interaction; however, neither medium is appropriate for all tasks, learners, and learning contexts. The focus of future inquiry should be driven by the need to better understand the complex interrelationship of interaction and the multimodal context in which it occurs. The chapter will conclude with considerations for selecting the platform most appropriate for task goals and learning setting.
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This article examines the importance of paralanguage (kinesics, proxemics, and paraverbal features) in communication. Gestures, facial expressions, interfactional synchrony, eye contact, use of space, touching, aspects of voice modification, and silence are shown to play a crucial role in human interaction and to be highly culture-specific. The implications of this broad paradigm of communication are discussed with respect to language development, and it is suggested that paralanguage be included as a primary facet of communicative competence. Finally, the importance of awareness of paralanguage in the classroom is discussed, and a number of suggestions are made to facilitate students' acquisition of paralanguage.
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This paper describes an intercontinental project with the use of interactive tools, both synchronous and asynchronous, which was set up to internationalize academic learning of Spanish language and culture. The objective of this case study was to investigate whether video-web communication tools can contribute to enriching the quality of foreign language curricula, by facilitating a motivating virtual communication environment for purposeful interaction between non native and native speakers of Spanish to accomplish learning tasks. The project was carried out between a class of twenty Spanish as foreign language students from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, and a class of twenty Chilean trainee Spanish teachers from the University of Concepción, Chile. Students interacted weekly, over two months, in dyads and small groups making use of a video-web communication tool, Adobe Connect. The video-web communication tool enabled synchronous interactions, during which participants could see each other while talking and sharing audiovisual documents on-line. A blog was also used to promote collaboration, reflection and exchange of ideas about issues raised during the synchronous sessions. Qualitative data was collected through a questionnaire, analysis of recordings of learners' interaction sessions and the project blog. Results show a positive impact on motivation and on learning outcomes, particularly regarding understanding of the use of language in given contexts, and of cultural issues.
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In a previous paper on this journal (Vassallo & Telles, 2006), we presented the theoretical bases and practical procedures of two modes of foreign language learning in-tandem approach – face-to-face tandem and e-tandem. Now, in this article, we introduce our proposal of a third mode of Tandem – the Teletandem, as an alternative in CALLT. Teletandem is a virtual Tandem that uses the online writing, reading, audio and video resources of the Windows Live Messenger. Next, we wish to outline and to argue for the applicability of the theoretical and practical principles of this third mode of Tandem within the context of a research project – Teletandem Brasil: Foreign languages for all. One of the central aims of this project is to promote, by means of the virtual space of the Teletandem, the contact of Brazilian university students with the peoples of the international community and the exchange of their respective languages and cultures.
Cover Blurb: Researching Lived Experience introduces an approach to qualitative research methodology in education and related fields that is distinct from traditional approaches derived from the behavioral or natural sciences—an approach rooted in the “everyday lived experience” of human beings in educational situations. Rather than relying on abstract generalizations and theories, van Manen offers an alternative that taps the unique nature of each human situation. The book offers detailed methodological explications and practical examples of hermeneutic-phenomenological inquiry. It shows how to orient oneself to human experience in education and how to construct a textual question which evokes a fundamental sense of wonder, and it provides a broad and systematic set of approaches for gaining experiential material that forms the basis for textual reflections. Van Manen also discusses the part played by language in educational research, and the importance of pursuing human science research critically as a semiotic writing practice. He focuses on the methodological function of anecdotal narrative in human science research, and offers methods for structuring the research text in relation to the particular kinds of questions being studied. Finally, van Manen argues that the choice of research method is itself a pedagogic commitment and that it shows how one stands in life as an educator.
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