Classroom experiences with Microsoft Teams® for foreign language teaching
Journal Title:INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES AND ART RESEARCHES
When Benjamin Franklin carried out his well-known kite experiment in 1752, he had a strong feeling that along with light photons, there were other concepts traversing distances in a blink of an eye. The discovery of electricity was one of the biggest achievements in civilization. As human beings, we have always dreamed to reduce distances and to be as fast as we can. The supersonic aircrafts, the high-speed trains or fast cars are all the reflections of this vision. Even in ancient times, before electricity and other technological improvements, faster tamed birds, which reduced the distance, were used to communicate between people. The distance has always been an obstacle between us and the people or concepts that we would like to reach, but the progress welcomes us when we overcome these obstacles. Education is also an important area that we are eager to solve distance-based problems. However, it was the 20th century that technology and mass communication enabled alternatives to traditional offline learning. Although education was an important area in which we were eager to solve distance-based problems, it took the 20th century for technology and mass communication to provide alternatives to traditional offline learning. Distance learning "is a form of education which does not involve the physical presence of a teacher and is not carried out within the framework of a school establishment", according to the definition given by service-public.fr, official site of the French administration. In other words, distance learning is accessible wherever you are, in the presence of other participants or not. There are two forms of distance learning first of which is the so-called synchronous distance learning. It is a virtual class; it takes place in real time. You are attending a videoconference according to a defined schedule. The second one is the so-called asynchronous distance learning. Lessons take place offline. You have access to your courses in pdf or video format, they are accessible at any time. Distance learning makes education accessible to as many people as possible. It is intended for anyone who wishes to acquire new skills and new knowledge throughout their life. Although most universities around the world have programs that allow students to study through distance education, their numbers were not as high as the ones which have occurred in the first quarter of the 2020. The fact that large number of students have started to take part in the distance education has brought some important problems with the process and needs to be examined. For this reason, this study aims to compare the distance education process at a foreign language school of a public university and online exams conducted on the basis of Microsoft Teams software and traditional paper-based exams and interpret them from an instructor perspective. In this paper, it has been analyzed the use of Microsoft Teams as the major distant education support which is a proprietary collaborative communication (SaaS) application officially launched by Microsoft in November 2016. The service integrates with Microsoft Office 365 and Skype and offers extensions that can be used with products other than Microsoft. It is currently available in 181 countries and is translated into 25 languages. Microsoft Teams is a customizable collaborative platform that integrates video conferencing, file storage and transfer with SharePoint, a note taking block with OneNote. Instant messaging allowing to exchange in a team or in a work group while keeping a record of all exchanges. The research is conducted in descriptive survey, which is one of the quantitative research designs. The data was gathered through students’ exam papers. The study was conducted with 21 prep -class students. The study group was chosen through purposeful sampling. They were all French preparation class students. At the end of the study, the results showed that the distance education process at a public university and online exams conducted on the basis of Microsoft Teams software have been more effective and successful than traditional ones.