A Study of Social Media Supported Activities in Three Language Courses

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Claire Bossavit, Department of French

Project Team: Linda Bruneau-Jolly, Department of French, and Laurena Geay and Camille Panier, research assistants

Timeframe: January 2015 to June 2016

Funding: $5,000

Courses addressed:

  • FREN 210 – Intermediate French I
  • FREN 211 – Intermediate French II
  • FREN 215 – Intermediate French (Oral Practice)

Final report: View Claire Bossavit's final project report (PDF)

Description: In the past few years, we have introduced the use of two formats of social media: web journals (blogs) and short message broadcasts (tweets on Twitter), in three intermediate French courses: FREN 210, 211, and 215 (50, 50, and 25 students respectively). The activities were designed to open the classroom doors to the francophone world and to new learning spaces. The main objectives were to encourage students to share their learning experience outside the classroom, to help them develop an interest for the francophone world, and to give them an opportunity to practice their writing skills in a different environment.

In FREN 210 and FREN 215, students must maintain a blog to share their learning and cultural experience outside the classroom. In FREN 211, students have to write tweets on a topic they are passionate about. In previous semesters the experience has been positive. We have observed an impact of the activities on students’ engagement in the courses, on their openness to francophone culture and on their communication skills. However we feel it is important to conduct a formal study of these impacts to review the use of the two social media formats in the three courses and possibly extend the experience to other courses.

Questions addressed:

  • Do students feel that social media activities helped improve their writing skills?
  • Do students feel that social media activities helped expand their vocabulary?
  • How much does the activities contribute to the cultural content of the course?
  • How well do students transfer the grammar content of the course in their written productions?
  • Which social media formats, blog or twitter, more helpful or more suitable for different levels?

Knowledge sharing: A departmental presentation of research results will be given, and will include an invitation to the Language Learning Institute.

Bossavit, C. (2015, May). Social media supported activities in two intermediate language courses.  Presentation at the annual general meeting of the Standing Committee on Language Articulation (SCOLA). Douglas College, New Westminster, BC.

Bossavit, C., & Bruneau-Jolly, L. (2017, April). Using blogs to go beyond the classroom walls. Paper presented at the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers: Languages Without Borders National Conference, Edmonton, AB.

View Linda Bruneau-Jolly's ISTLD-funded projects:

A Study of Social Media Supported Activities in Three Language Courses (G0117) - with Claire Bossavit