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Telecollaborative desktop-videoconferencing exchange: the case of Mark

This presentation is a case study of the Intercultural Communicative Competence development in “Mark”, one of ten American students engaged in a desktop-videoconferencing telecollaborative exchange with a class of French students. Due in part to its inherent complexity, this context has not been widely researched. To observe ICC development, I use a combination of a priori categories based on the « Attitude » component of Byram’s (1997) model, that is, the willingness to show value to one’s partner or relativize self, and a set of emerging themes (Boyatzis, 1998) gathered from the data. The video-recorded sessions are analyzed in conjunction with data from background surveys, autobiographies, journal entries, and email exchanges. This methodology sheds light on the behavioral choices of a participant who, despite a high level of engagement and motivation, does not appear to take advantage of the exchange for the purpose of ICC development, a behavior that I did observe in other members of his class. While linguistic development can be observed, there is little display of “self-relativizing and valuing other” (Byram, 1997). These results underline the value of using a variety of data collection instruments and a case study approach to get a deeper understanding of complex intercultural exchanges. They also raise the question of how the methodology could be modified to better foster ICC development in students like Mark, or whether it is even possible to reach this goal within such a mediated-environment.

Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.


Véronique Martin    
Languages, Literatures and Cutlures
University at Albany, SUNY
United States

Véronique Martin is a Lecturer in French and a Liaison for the University in the High School program at the University at Albany, SUNY. She holds a PhD in French Studies. Her research interests include the development of intercultural communicative competence, synchronous CMC and the use of desktop-videoconferencing in online intercultural exchanges.


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