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DOTI: Databank of Oral Teletandem Interactions

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© 2016 Solange Aranha and Paola Leone (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
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DOTI: Databank of Oral
Teletandem Interactions
Solange Aranha1 and Paola Leone2
Abstract
This contribution aims at (1) discussing the characteristics of
collecting, ling and storing data to have a databank of oral
interactions between university students whose main objective is the
learning of a second language through teletandem; and (2) dening
the steps for further collections and storage. Our data are Skype
sessions of foreign language learners who interact via Voice Over
Internet Protocol (VOIP) with a procient partner in the language
they are learning. Our databank aims at (1) giving value to teletandem
as a situated learning context, (2) substantiating the research carried
out in the eld, and (3) offering other researchers the possibility to
access data to conrm or refute published research. We rst dene
a schema for interpreting teletandem sessions according to the
Interaction Space (IS) Model as dened by Chanier and colleagues
(2014). Subsequently, we discuss metadata concerning contexts
(e.g. description of the university and of the language courses) and
learning scenarios (e.g. objectives, materials).
Keywords: teletandem, databank, oral communication, language learning, interaction
space model, computer mediated communication.
1. Universidade Estadual Paulista - São José Do Rio Preto, Brasil FAPESP # 2015/02048-6; solangea@ibilce.unesp.br
2. Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy; paola.leone@unisalento.it
How to cite this chapter: Aranha, S., & Leone, P. (2016). DOTI: Databank of Oral Teletandem Interactions. In S. Jager,
M. Kurek & B. O’Rourke (Eds), New directions in telecollaborative research and practice: selected papers from the second
conference on telecollaboration in higher education (pp. 327-332). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/
rpnet.2016.telecollab2016.525
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1. Introduction
Teletandem (Vassallo & Telles, 2006) is a form of computer mediated
interaction by which two students, procient in two different languages,
interact via VoIP technology and/or via text chat. This telecollaborative
practice respects the principles proposed by Brammerts (1996): autonomy,
separation of languages and reciprocity. Teletandem is nowadays a teaching/
learning context which has been institutionalized in different universities
around the world and has become a relevant research eld in applied
linguistics. Over the years, researchers have been collecting, transcribing and
analyzing data in different ways according to the needs of their studies (c.f.
www.teletandembrasil.org).
As part of a shared project between UNESP and University of Salento, we
are now aiming at building a databank with common characteristics (same
methodology of collection and transcription) which may be useful for
researchers in planning their tasks within telecollaboration activities, in
understanding how telecollaboration works and may be optimized, and in
developing linguistic research within telecollaboration environments, among
others. Our rst step is to apply to teletandem data the IS model (Chanier
et al., 2014), by which some researchers are trying to characterize different
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) genres (mostly written, such as
Facebook). IS is dened as “an abstract concept, located in time […] where
interactions between a set of participants occur within an online location
(Chanier et al., 2014, p. 5).
Considering that teletandem is organized around various tasks in which a
language instructor and a class group are involved, the concept of Learning
Scenario (LS) becomes relevant, since it describes different task sequences
(Mangenot, 2008; Foucher, 2010). LS helps us determine the characteristics that
underlie teletandem practice. In this paper, we show how these concepts (IS
and LS) are applied to our data and how they can contribute to dene Data
of Oral Teletandem Interactions (DOTI) metadata which are mostly created for
interrogating the databank.
Solange Aranha and Paola Leone
329
2. Methodology
At UNESP and at University of Salento, teletandem is not a stand alone practice
but it comes together with other tasks, carried out both via Information and
Communication Technologies (ICT) and in the classroom. Each teletandem
session takes about one hour and occurs once a week. At UNESP, Brazilian
students, whose mother tongue is Portuguese, interact with American students,
procient in English. At UNISALENTO, Italian students interact with British
students.
Both contexts – UNESP and Unisalento (and partner institutions) – have
students from different courses who are learning the language and practising it
via teletandem sessions. The levels of prociency vary and are not a key factor to
be enrolled in the activity. Each partnership usually lasts from 8 to 15 sessions,
depending on the learning scenario. All participants signed a consent form
developed within the exigencies of each university – for video recording oral
sessions3 which are stored4.
DOTI contains data from 2012 to 2015, in a total of over 650 hours of
conversation (Portuguese and English Italian and English). Some data have
been transcribed. Among other communicative data so far described during
conferences and in literature following the IS model, DOTI is peculiar since it is
compiled by synchronous multimodal interactions during which different modes
are employed for communication (text, gestures, oral, images, etc.). Thus, DOTI
data represent a complex environment.
Teletandem interactions are part of different learning scenarios which, in both
institutions, are shaped in macro and microtasks (objectives and description).
UNESP and Unisalento share the macrotasks’ aim which is preparing students
to participate actively in (computer mediated) oral interactions with a procient
speaker and be aware of all the linguistic and cultural strategies that such a
3. So far we have been using Evaer, a capture Skype video and audio data to record (see www.evaer.com).
4. In Brazil, a detailed description of storage process can be found in Aranha, Luvizari-Murad and Moreno (2015).
Chapter 40
330
practice involves. In the Brazilian and Italian universities, such an objective is
reached via different microtask sequences carried out during mediation sessions
and computer mediated oral sessions.
These mentioned features are useful guidelines for dening metadata.
3. Discussion
Some metadata will be presented: rst of all, those concerning teletandem as IS
and secondly, those related to the learning scenario.
DOTI will be described according to the data type it contains:
interactions are dyadic; teletandem involves just 2 participants;
the environment is synchronous (as opposed to non-synchronous such
as blogs);
the time frame is one session (usually from 50 to 60 minutes);
the communication modality is via VoIP technology;
communication modes are different such as oral, written via text chat as
well as gestures and emoticons.
Specically, concerning each time frame (i.e. session), the option is given to
choose among languages used for communication (e.g. English, Italian) and the
number of online sessions (e.g. S1, S2, S3).
Regarding participants, data can be interrogated according to student´s course at
the university (e.g. UNESP), gender, and language level (broadly assessed based
on performance during teletandem sessions).
In relation to the discourse type, DOTI will be described using free discussion,
topic discussion, and task completion (e.g. information/opinion gap).
Solange Aranha and Paola Leone
331
Metadata for LS are typology of tasks (alternate monolingual interaction or
intercomprehension), integrated and non-integrated teletandem modalities
(Aranha & Cavalari, 2014), descriptions (aims, materials), teachers roles, and
macrotask and microtask sequences.
DOTI will allow researchers within teletandem contexts to be more coherent
in generating, collecting and annotating procedures and thus, will save them
time to analyse such multi-faceted, multi-tasking environments more deeply
and thoroughly.
Although all the participants have signed consent forms5 and are enrolled
in one of the courses or universities that participate in the Teletandem
Network (Leone & Telles, 2016), there are still ethical issues concerned with
identication in the future. Hence, we are now considering if the degree of
anonymization can be decided on the basis of what participants opt for (i.e.
blurring or not their faces).
Besides, a wide range of data is generated every year due to the increasing
number of students that participate in the telecollaborative practice. This poses a
question of keeping the databank open for including ongoing sessions.
4. Conclusion
For developing criteria of a DOTI, two important concepts have been relevant:
interaction space and learning scenario. The former framework places DOTI in
a broader eld which includes research in corpora compiled by other computer
mediated communication such as Facebook or Twitter. Dened metadata will
allow us to cross data with other colleagues who are working in the eld and
there will be guidelines for sharing data collection principles among other
colleagues from the teletandem network.
5. The items of the terms vary from institution to institution and an agreement of common ones is still in progress.
Chapter 40
332
DOTI is compiled in an open access corpus perspective. We strongly believe
that it will be useful to (applied) linguists, professors, and computer experts who
want to develop software based on CMC for language learning.
References
Aranha, S., & Cavalari, S. (2014). A trajetória do projeto Teletandem Brasil: da modalidade
institucional não-integrada à institucional integrada. The ESPecialist, 35(2), 70-88.
Aranha, S., Luvizari-Murad, L., & Moreno, A. (2015). A criação de um banco de dados para
pesquisas sobre aprendizagem via teletandem institucional integrado (TTDII). (Com)
Textos Linguísticos, 9(12), 274-293.
Brammerts, H. (1996). Tandem language learning via the internet and the International E-Mail
tandem network. In D. Little & H. Brammerts (Eds), A guide to language learning in
tandem via the Internet. Dublin: CLCS.
Chanier, T., Poudat, C., Sagot, B., Antoniadis, G., Wigham, C. R., Hriba, L., Longhi, J.,
& Seddah, J. (2014). The CoMeRe corpus for French: structuring and annotating
heterogeneous CMC genres. Journal for Language Technology and Computational
Linguistics, 2(29), 1-30.
Foucher, A.-L. (2010). Didactique des langues-cultures et Tice : scénarios, tâches, interactions.
Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand II.
Leone, P., & Telles, J. (2016). The teletandem network. In T. Lewis & R. O’Dowd (Eds), Online
intercultural exchange: policy, pedagogy, practice (pp. 243-248). London: Routledge.
Mangenot, F. (2008). La question du scénario de communication dans les interactions
pédagogiques en ligne. Jocair (Journées Communication et Apprentissage Instrumentés
en Réseau, 13-26.
Vassallo, M., &Telles, J. (2006). Foreign language learning in-tandem: teletandem as an
alternative proposal in CALLT. The ESPecialist, 27(2), 189-212.
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Tandem language learning via the internet and the International E-Mail tandem network
  • H Brammerts
Brammerts, H. (1996). Tandem language learning via the internet and the International E-Mail tandem network. In D. Little & H. Brammerts (Eds), A guide to language learning in tandem via the Internet. Dublin: CLCS.
Online intercultural exchange: policy, pedagogy, practice
  • P Leone
  • J Telles
Leone, P., & Telles, J. (2016). The teletandem network. In T. Lewis & R. O'Dowd (Eds), Online intercultural exchange: policy, pedagogy, practice (pp. 243-248). London: Routledge.