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Keywords:

  • cooperative learning;
  • assessment;
  • online learning;
  • intercultural communication;
  • second language learning;
  • German;
  • relevant to all languages

Abstract: This article reports on a study carried out twice on an online second language course that was set up between a Canadian University and a German University. In that course, students of German in Canada and students of English in Germany exchanged 2,412 messages in 2004 and 1,831 messages in 2005. A list of processing criteria for assessment was developed so the assessment process was transparent to instructors and students alike. The main research question was if these processing criteria led to the development of an intercultural communicative competence as defined by Byram (1997). Results showed that students who asked wh-questions, shared personal experiences, gave examples, and found material that was not provided in the course, engaged in the online dialogue with great success.