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Volume 5 Number 4, Winter 2008, Pages 1-210   

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Cross-border Telecommunication: A Task-based Collaboration at College Level

    I-Jung Chen and Wen-Chun Chen

Learner-centered classroom practices have been emphasized greatly in recent times since communicative language learning has become the major trend in the TESOL field. With the advancement of technology, language learners are able to directly and autonomously interact with native speakers of the target language and culture. The two-way communication via electronic mediums offers learners a meaningful context to engage in natural conversations with the aid of visual display on a monitor. This study intends to investigate the effectiveness of a task-based telecommunication in which 52 Taiwanese college students are paired with 52 American students to collaborate in three culturally related learning tasks. Quantitative and qualitative data serve as the evidence that the task-based CMC allows EFL students in large classes to gain individual feedback from language models (native speakers), as opposed to solely relying on the single authority (i.e. instructors) in the classroom to give input. The Taiwanese students' learning behaviors, learning performance, and their motivations to communicate in target language had overall increased. Several suggestions with regard to online project design and execution are also presented to classroom practitioners and future researchers based on the findings of the present study.

Keywords: communicative competence, computer-mediated communication, e-mail, instant messenger, task-based language learning