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Professoressa Associata





Francesca Helm is associate professor of English language and translation at the Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies. She teaches in the second-level degree courses on International Politics and Diplomacy, European and Global Studies.

Her research is in the area of Applied Linguistics, particularly in applications of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the socio-cultural context of Web 2.0 for language and intercultural learning, the development of multiliteracies and multilingual higher education. She is particularly interested in dialogic approaches to virtual exchange, tension and conflict resolution, the use of English as a ‘glocal language’ and decolonial perspectives and approaches to language education. Her research also regards the ethical internationalization of higher education, the role of English in the internationalization of higher education, linguistic diversity and social justice, language and education policies, academic freedom.
She was chair of the Working Group in Education Innovation in the Coimbra Group of Universities from 2018-2021, and has been co-coordinator of the Italian section of Scholars at Risk (with Claudia Padovani and Ester Gallo) since February 2019. She is also board member of the academic association UNICollaboration. She has worked on several European projects, the most recent being the European Commission's Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange pilot project, for which she was responsible for monitoring and evaluation.


Office hours

  • Wednesday from 9:00 to 10:00 Si prega agli studenti di contattare la docente per mail prima di venire al ricevimento.



Recent Publications

Articles in refereed journals
Dalziel, F. & Helm, F. (2019). Introduction. Special section: Language learning for and with refugees in higher education. Language Learning in Higher Education. 9(1): 1-6.
Helm, F. (2019) EMI, internationalisation and the digital. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2019.1643823
Helm, F. (2019) Languages and International Virtual Exchange. Introduction to special edition of the European Journal of Language Policy. 11(2): 139-142. DOI:
Helm, F. & Acconcia, G. (2019). Interculturality and language in Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange. European Journal of Language Policy. 11(2): 211-233.
Helm, F. & Padovani, C. (2019). Living up to a university motto: Universa Universis Patavina Libertas. In Promoting Core Higher Education Values. eHandbook, 86-87. http://www.unicanetwork.
Helm, F. (2018) The long and winding road … (Keynote article). Journal of Virtual Exchange 1(1). DOI:
Helm, F. & Dabre, T. (2018) Engineering a ‘contact zone’ through translanguaging, Language and Intercultural Communication, 18:1, 144-156, DOI: 10.1080/14708477.2017.1400509
Helm, F. & Dooly, M. (2017). Challenges in Transcribing Multimodal Data: A Case Study.
Language Learning & Technology,
Helm, F. & Dalziel, F. (2017). Beyond the classroom: The impact of EMI on a university's linguistic landscape. L'analisi Linguistica e Letteraria, vol. 25, p. 372-399, ISSN: 1122-1917
Guarda M. & Helm F. (2016). ‘I have discovered new teaching pathways’: the link between language shift and teaching practice. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, p. 1-17
Helm F. (2015). The practices and challenges of telecollaboration in higher education in Europe. Language Learning & Technology, 19(2): 197-217.
Helm, F. and Guarda M. (2015). “Improvisation is not allowed in a second language”: A survey of Italian lecturers’ concerns about teaching their subjects through English. Language Learning in Higher Education, 5: 353-373

Book chapters
Helm F. (2017). Critical Approaches to Online Intercultural Language Education. In S. Thorne S. May (Eds), Language and Technology, Encyclopedia of Language and Education. Cham:Springer International Publishing.
Helm F. & Guarda M. (2017). A survey of lecturers’ needs and feedback on EMI training. In: (Eds): Katherine Ackerley M. Guarda & F. Helm, Sharing Perspectives on English-Medium Instruction. LINGUISTIC INSIGHTS, vol. 222, p. 167-194, Bern: Peter Lang,
Helm, F. (2017) Two Models of Online Intercultural Exchange in Higher Education Contexts. In M.J. Ellis & E. Riley (Eds). Practices in Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning. pp. 131-144. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Helm F. (2016). Facilitated Dialogue in Online Intercultural Exchange. In T.Lewis & R. O’Dowd (Eds) Online Intercultural Exchange: Policy, Pedagogy, Practice. vol. 4, pp. 150-172, New York: Routledge.

Research Area

My research is in the area of Applied Linguistics, particularly in applications of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the socio-cultural context of Web 2.0 for language and intercultural learning, virtual exchange and the development of multiliteracies.
More recently I have also been researching the internationalisation of higher education, multilingual practices in higher education, translanguaging, migration discourses, academic freedom

Thesis proposals

I follow theses written in English related to the following themes:
Analysis of language and discourse (in media, in political speeches and documents, in protest and social movements);
Study and analysis of language policies and practices in different countries and institutions;
Education policies and internationalisation
Racism and language
Linguistic landscapes
intercultural dialogue