Tandem Mooc experience: results

cropped-logo_mooc_speakapps_small1 Tandem MOOC was a language MOOC (LMOOC) run through the SpeakApps tools (Tandem and Videochat) and addressed to upper intermediate and advanced students of Spanish and English. The course, which lasted 6 weeks (November 3 – December 14), was organized by the Open University of Catalonia, the University Rovira i Virgili and the University of Barcelona and funded by the AGAUR. It aimed to develop students’ speaking interaction through the completion of online language tasks in pairs. The course consisted of 8 learning units, 36 conversation activities, a learning portfolio, games, quizzes and social networking spaces such as Twitter and Facebook.

Here, we will report the main results obtained by the data analysis of Tandem MOOC. The data analysis was carried out by Ljubica Damevska, Master’s student at the University of Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, who collected some quantitative data from the Moodle platform and also interviewed a small number of participants (see her MASTER’S THESIS for more detailed information). According to the results, female participants dominated over male participants and more than 50% of the participants were between 18 and 35 years old. The initial number of students registered was 1284, the number of students who completed the course was 173, with a completion rate of 13%, which is a positive data in comparison with other MOOCs (below 10%).

The participants considered Tandem MOOC as an innovative idea but had some problems with the platform. These problems were mainly related to the connection to tandem and videochat and to the visual organization of the activities within the platform. Another problem regarded the fact that there were more learners of English than learners of Spanish and that, for this reason, it was difficult to find language partners (Spanish /English learners’ ratio 40-60 %).

Furthermore, according to students’ perceptions, during the language exchanges, disparity in the proficiency level of the target language was found between the language partners, which influenced the quality of language exchanges. Results also evidenced that students felt anxious at the beginning of the Tandem MOOC as they were uncertain whether their Spanish or English was at a sufficient level to practice with native speakers of both languages.

To conclude, students in general evaluated Tandem MOOC as a positive learning experience and reported that the course was successful in creating closer relationships between students, who tightened their bonds after the end of the course. This means that Tandem MOOC fulfilled the basic principles of interactivity and connectivity of cMOOCs.