Conflicts in cyberspace: From communication breakdown to intercultural dialogue in online collaborations

Date
2005-01-01
Authors
Schneider, Jeffrey
Von der Emde, Silke
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Publisher
Heinle Cengage Learning
Abstract
This chapter addresses problems of misunderstanding and conflict that arise in online collaborations between native speakers and language learners. Rather than devising strategies for avoiding conflict, it establishes a dialogic paradigm for making conflict and tension a valuable component of intercultural learning.To demonstrate the practical effects of this theoretical shift to a dialogic model and away from strategies embodied in the communicative competence model, we present a qualitative analysis of online discussion transcripts, face-to-face class discussions, and student postings gathered during a MOO collaboration in fall 2003 between fifth-semester students studying German at Vassar College in New York state and advanced students studying applied linguistics and English at the University of Münster in Germany.As our data suggest, online exchanges are most successful when they include a coherent, intercultural content focus with the potential to raise issues of cultural difference, meaningful project work, and regular opportunities for reflection on the exchange and meta-reflection on intercultural learning.
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Citation
Schneider, J., Von der Emde, S. (2005). Conflicts in cyberspace: From communication breakdown to intercultural dialogue in online collaborations. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 178-206. http://hdl.handle.net/102015/69624
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