Challenges in a mobile English telecollaborative project: Towards a conceptual model


  • Junjie Gavin Wu Shenzhen Technology University, Shenzhen
  • Mark Feng Teng Centre for Linguistic Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai
  • Miller Lindsay City University of Hong Kong



telecollaborative learning, language learning, community of inquiry, autonomy, instant messaging


This paper, drawing upon a mobile telecollaborative project, resonates with the rapid development of technology in language learning. We employed the instant messaging app WeChat to create an English telecollaborative environment for two groups of Chinese students to communicate within. Interview data were triangulated with students’ chat transcripts and comments from a teacher’s reflective journal. A mixed-methods approach, including quantitative descriptive analysis, thematic analysis and content analysis, was used to investigate the challenges and the linguistic performance by applying the community of inquiry framework to the students’ chats. The analysis illustrates some of the complexities and challenges of using online apps as a way of communicating in a second language: students expected more teacher support, they struggled to use the app due to their physical environments and they felt that they were not sufficiently well prepared for chatting in an English medium environment. Based on the findings, a conceptual model is proposed for consideration when encouraging students to engage in telecollaborative learning.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • Teachers should enhance their visibility in mobile telecollaborative projects by promoting participants’ contribution through different facilitation techniques.
  • Teachers and educators can capitalise on the proposed conceptual model to guide their own design of such online learning experiences for their learners.
  • Telecollaborative learning can be improved by taking into account various factors such as physical environment, the medium of communication and the potential incentives.


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Author Biographies

Mark Feng Teng, Centre for Linguistic Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai

Mark Feng Teng is a language teacher educator with extensive teaching experience in China. His main research interests include CALL, metacognition and writing. His latest publications appeared in Thinking Skills & Creativity, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, and other international journals.

Miller Lindsay, City University of Hong Kong

Lindsay Miller is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong. His main areas of research have focused on self-access language learning, and academic listening, and he has published widely in these areas including Establishing Self-Access: From Theory To Practice (1999) CUP; Second Language Listening: Theory and Practice (2005) CUP; Managing Self-Access Language Learning (2015) CityU Press; and English in the Disciplines: A Multidimensional Model for ESP Course Design (2019) Routledge.




How to Cite

Wu, J. G., Feng Teng, M., & Lindsay, M. (2022). Challenges in a mobile English telecollaborative project: Towards a conceptual model. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 38(1), 1–19.