Collaborative Italian: An Open Online Language Course

Written by
Language: English

© 2013


The focus of this case study is on the design and content of a module in Italian language, Collaborative Italian (Collit), which provides the empirical ground to implement open and student-led learning. Collit is an online learning initiative which targets adult students with at least an Intermediate (B1) level of Italian. It is free, optional and non-credit bearing. Most significantly, Collit is open in content and practice. By exploiting the openness and the flexibility of the online environment, Collit provides the learners with an overall communicative language learning experience based on collaboration and social interaction. Collit's central activities pivot around a wiki task for which the learners take responsibility for their learning outcomes by developing their own learning content in accordance with their needs and interests. That is, the learners actively contribute to Collit's curriculum by using open online resources to create new learning materials to be shared within the learning community. The result is increased engagement, participation and involvement with the learning process for the benefit of language achievement. The aim of this contribution is to present Collit by focussing on its design, its content and practice and to reflect on the affordances and limitations that have emerged from it.

Keywords: openness, collaboration, learner-generated content, online learning, MOOC, language learning.


Carless, D. (2007). Learning-oriented assessment: conceptual bases and practical implications. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(1), 57-66.

Cormier, D., & Siemens, G. (2010). The Open course through the open door: open course as research, learning and engagement. Educause Review, 31-39.

Draper, S. W. (2009). Catalytic assessment: understanding how MCQs can foster deep learning. British Journal of Education Technology (special issue on e-assessment), 40(2), 285-293.

Goria, C. (2012). Collaborative Italian - Pedagogy 2.0 for student-led language teaching. Paper presented at Learning Through Sharing: Open Resources, Open Practices, Open Communication. Eurocall CMC & Teacher Education SIGs Annual Workshop, Bologna/Italy, 29-30 March 2012.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999). Cognitive Principles of Multimedia Learning. The Role of Modality and Contiguity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(2), 358-368.

Park, J.-H., & Choi, H. J. (2009). Factors influencing adult learners’ decision to drop out or persist in online learning. Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), 207-217.

Rovai, A. P. (2002). Sense of community, perceived cognitive learning, and persistence in asynchronous learning netwworks. Internet and Higher Edication, 5, 319-332.

Toohey, S. (1999). Beliefs, values and ideologies in course design. In S. Toohey (Ed.), Designing courses for higher education (44-69). Buckingham: The Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.

How to cite

Citation is provided in standard text format below. For full citation export options, click Export citation.

Goria, Cecilia. (2013). Collaborative Italian: An Open Online Language Course. In Ana Beaven, Anna Comas-Quinn, Barbara Sawhill (Eds), Case Studies of Openness in the Language Classroom (pp. 189-201).

Request permissions

This article is published under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives International 3.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) licence. Under this licence, the contents are freely available online (as PDF files) for anybody to read, download, copy, and redistribute provided that the AUTHOR(s), EDITORIAL TEAM and PUBLISHER are properly cited. Commercial use and derivative works are, however, not permitted.

Permission is not required for the republication of tables, figures or illustrations, as long as they are reproduced accurately and the source material is fully cited. It may be the case that the licence does not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. If this is your current situation, please do feel free to ask at

From the same author

Open online language courses: the multi-level model of the Spanish N(ottingham)OOC
Goria, Cecilia; Lagares, Manuel.
Notes on contributors
Goria, Cecilia; Speicher, Oranna; Stollhans, Sascha.
“Innovative language teaching and learning at university: enhancing participation and collaboration” – an introduction
Goria, Cecilia; Speicher, Oranna; Stollhans, Sascha.
Cultivating a community of learners in a distance learning postgraduate course for language professionals
Konstantinidis, Angelos; Goria, Cecilia.