This paper reports on a pilot study designed to develop writing proficiency in French via collaborative writing activities at intermediate level at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Twenty four students in the final year of French studies program took part in this innovative approach which integrates multimodal functionality of the e-learning platform combined with face to face interaction and discussions. Methodology draws on educational practice influenced by a socio-constructivist approach, and particularly on the importance of relevant meaningful tasks in the target language as well as ‘constructively aligned’ (Biggs, 1999: 11) assessment in language learning. The results show that groups used the online functionality to scaffold their writing skills and that collaborative tasks were perceived as an effective way of consolidating grammar knowledge and enhancing individual literacy skills in the foreign language. Qualitative analysis of students’ evaluation of their writing skills at the beginning and the end of the semester shows that group work acts as activator in the meta-learning that was occurring online as well as in the face -to -face discussions resulting in critical reflection in the independent learning process.
Recommended CitationBissoonauth-Bedford, Anu. and Stace, Ray, Building a writing community through learning of French, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 12(2), 2015.