Agile Kommunikationskompetenz: Herausforderungen und Loesungsansaetze fuer den Fremdsprachenunterricht an Hochschulen durch Interaktion in neuen Medien. [Agile communicative competence: Challenges and solutions for foreign language teaching in higher education via interaction in new media]
Fostering foreign language competencies for specific purposes in higher education contexts often relies on classroom-focused and text-based forms of language teaching. Yet this form of learning makes it difficult to develop the kind of real-life communicative and cognitive skills future graduates are likely to need. Global business life nowadays typically involves international cooperation and is often set in virtual space, where various members from different countries or contexts come together to collaborate. This calls for "agile communication skills" which enable learners to respond to the communicative needs in evolving collaborations. Web-based language learning has created new opportunities to promote these forms of communication in the foreign language classroom. However, research shows that the mere adoption of technology does not suffice on its own to motivate language learner to interact. Design principles need to be identified and carefully implemented to promote communicative activity among students, for example in eGroups, which promote joint project work online with distributed partners over a specific period of time. This paper reports on the conceptualization and implementation of an eGroup in a longitudinal study designed to foster collaboration among foreign language learners at Massey University in New Zealand and the University of Münster in Germany. We introduce the notion of "agile communication skills" which are evidenced in our case study data and reinforce the need to adopt new forms of communication. Finally, we evaluate the matured eGroup model and its potential for promoting agile communication skills in a university setting. (Verlag).
Fremdsprachen und Hochschule [Foreign languages in higher education], 2012, 85 pp. 5 - 38 (33)