It is crucial that students feel at ease in communicating on the platform, especially in the context of a second-language course. In the distance classroom, if they feel that at every moment they are at risk of being corrected or chastised in the presence of the group, they may no longer wish to participate.

On a videoconferencing platform like VIA, an option makes it possible to move your mouse over the answers given by students on a whiteboard in order to see the name of the author of each response. The teacher is thus free to use or not use this valuable information, depending on the context.

For example, weak or shy students who have written a good answer can see themselves being encouraged or congratulated. On the other hand, if an error occurs, it can be noted without naming the student so as to avoid making him or her feel ill at ease.

You can also encourage a specific student by switching on his or her microphone or webcam so as to intervene online before the whole group.

Generally, at least for French courses, students are not eager to speak via webcam in that the chat room and the whiteboard are much more popular for reasons of the presumed anonymity they provide but also due to the habit of the current generation to communicate by simultaneous messaging. It is thus necessary to exploit this ease of communicating by writing, an ease that is even more apparent in distance courses. It is thus necessary to avoid discouraging learners by placing too much emphasis on errors that are made.

In any case, asynchronous modes of communication such as blogs, email, or discussion forum are certainly more appropriate for evaluating acquired learning, given that these mediums promote thought, consultation of resources, and self-correction.

Last Modified: November 1, 2017