Exploring New Ways of eTandem and Telecollaboration Through the WebRTC Protocol: Students’ Engagement and Perceptions
Keywords:Telecollaboration, Teletandem, WebRTC, P2P, Virtual Exchange, eLearning, eTandem
The present research investigates students’ degree of engagement and per-ceptions in a telecollaboration project which incorporates the use of the WebRTC (Web Real-time Communication) protocol and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) communication to develop a virtual exchange in a second language envi-ronment. WebRTC is an open source technology that simplifies the tele-communication process thanks to its inherent characteristics such as P2P connectivity, no plugins installation, scalability and accessibility. The study involved 32 participants from two different universities who partici-pated in a teletandem exchange over a period of 4 months. Task design con-sisted of information exchange and information gap activities that were giv-en to students in order to foster the interaction. A mixed methods approach was used and students’ engagement was measured through the use of a log, a pre-existing knowledge survey and an engagement scale. An additional sur-vey analysing students’ perceptions was also given to students at the end of the project. Inferential statistics showed significant results in terms of emo-tional, behavioral and cognitive engagement. Furthermore, WebRTC earned a high acceptance among students participating in the virtual exchange and advantages and pitfalls of using this technology were observed throughout the project.
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