APVEA 2017 schedule

The second APVEA conference schedule

"Production of shared intercultural knowledge in an online intercultural exchange between Spain and Japan, and its difficulties"

In this paper, we describe an online intercultural exchange project that took place between university students of Hispanic Studies at a Japanese university and part-time students of Japanese at a language school in Spain, and analyze the interactions between the participants in order to know whether or not they constructed a shared intercultural knowledge.

The aims of the project were to improve the intercultural communicative competence of students and to learn on this methodology. A cooperation relationship between both schools, consisting in student exchanges, already existed before the project, and some teachers already knew each other. However, for both sides this was the first time to develop an online project of this kind. The project took place along three months and was inspired on the Cultura model. Through 9 units, participants, after answering to questionnaires and watching videos, engaged in diachronic discussions in forums in 6 binational groups, on the platform Canvas. For the Japanese side, the project was integrated in the course program and with off-line classes. However, for the Spanish side it was just an extracurricular activity.

Based on Byram’s components of intercultural competence, we consider what knowledge students shared, what they did with that knowledge, and whether or not students achieved “deep (intercultural) learning” (Byram, 1997). For this, we do a discourse analysis of the discussions in the forums of one of the groups along the project. For each unit, we first identify the different dialog sequences among students; then we analyze the kinds of talks –disputational, cumulative, or exploratory (Ferguson, 2009; Wang et al, 2001)— in each dialog. Finally, we consider how the institutional context and the specific characteristics of the project may have affected the participants’ interactions.