The VCL module was implemented at “Fan S. Noli” University in Korça, as part of its BA level Translation course in the third year of the Bachelor Programme “English Language”, in the winter semester of 2021. A case study was developed, in which students must work on collaboratively to set up and operate a Virtual Translation Centre using virtual information and communication technologies. The Translation Centre operates fictively but is contextualized, as students must translate real university documentation. During the course, 13 students participated in 20 classes. The VCL module was 2 ECTS from a total of 6 ECTS.
Surveys were used to evaluate the course, with one survey collecting student expectations and another collecting feedback after the course. Responses to these surveys identified areas in which students lack expertise, need improvement, or specificities about online collaborative learning. Findings showed that students improved their collaboration, gained experience of virtual and blended learning, and developed soft and communication skills. The virtual translation centre was successful in developing students' self-awareness and responsibility for their individual role and role within the team. Students were provided opportunities to translate documents for real organizations. Furthermore, VCL changed the teacher’s perception of online classes, while students were more involved in team work as well as individual effort that contributed again to team goals. Also, students changed their perception of teamwork and stated that teamwork has been more effective. The role of the case studies as a proper teaching/learning tool is significant, as presented the case study at the beginning of the course, helped students visualize themselves within the situation and generate ideas that would be implemented at a later stage. But the students were already familiar with the Platform Teams and had already theoretical and practical knowledge on the subject Translation, which presented as advantage during the course. E-Tutors’ expertise and assistance was vital in some of the module aspect.
- More tutorials could be given to students and teachers beforehand, as Some of these tools (e.g., Miro Board) were not quite familiar for students.
- Students might be given some funding to operate on a fictive budget (it would introduce a more challenging approach).
- Students can participate in competitive international activities and benefit from other’s experience for future VCL case studies, but also, if possible, receive some motivational prize.
- Since the VCL takes more time than the actual classes of its implementation, carefully detailed design of the VCL module, tasks, problems and solutions, roles, teams, activities should be made by the teacher beforehand.
- Students need to be involved in learning goals – this is the key to successful implement and get rewarding results.
- Evaluation is also a debatable issue. More assessment tools need to be provided to teachers so that they could be able to select the relevant ones.