Photo of Nandini Sarma

Nandini Sarma


Degrees:B.A. Honours French & Spanish (Carleton University); M.A. Linguistics (Montreal)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2193

Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 1:30pm-2:15pm

2023-24 Courses

  • FREN 1002C (Fall)


My adventures in teaching French began when, by chance, I replaced another instructor in a French language course at Carleton in 1982. I became fascinated by language learning and all that it entails, changed my career plans entirely and have continued to explore language learning in various settings. I am particularly interested in the integration of new technologies in language learning and their role in promoting learner independence and autonomy. Among other things, this led to my leading the VideoTech project, as well as becoming one of the co-investigators in the Technitude© research project.

Born in New York, I went to school in New Delhi (Mater Dei Convent 1962-64), Tunis (ACST, 1964-68), and Geneva (Ecolint, 1968-74) before moving to Kingtson, ON (Frontenac SS, 1974-75) and finally to Ottawa (Carleton University, B.A. Honours in French and Spanish). I then went on to complete my Masters at the Université de Montréal.

My mother tongue is Tamil, French was chronologically my fourth language, I have four children. I love languages, dogs, winter, singing, downhill skiing, and talking about language teaching and pedagogy.

Current Projects:

VidéoTech (

VidéoTech is a free, open-source project for the collaborative development of multimedia video content for language teaching and learning.  It is an open educational resource with an online repository of authentic language videos, transcripts, language learning exercises and the tools to create them.  Once teachers create an activity, they can share the resulting lesson worldwide to help others teach and learn languages.  In addition to accessing videos and activities online, teachers can also download, remix, edit, and adapt these materials for their distinct educational purposes. Originally created for French as a second language, Video-Tech is now expanding to include other languages.

VidéoTech was developed by Nandini Sarma (Carleton University), Hélène Knoerr (University of Ottawa), Patrick Lyons and Matthew DiGiuseppe (both with EDC, Carleton University). The project was funded by Inukshuk Wireless and has the ongoing support of the Educational Development Centre of Carleton University. VidéoTech is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Research Interests

  • Virtual communities (eg. AvayaLive, Second Life, video games, video-conferencing, blogs, fora,…) and language learning
  • Open educational resources and communities of practice in language teaching and learning (eg. VidéoTech, ISL collective…)
  • Second language reading acquisition: teaching methods, evaluation
  • Self-instruction, distance education, online learning
  • French colonization in Pondichery, history and perspectives; translation of the Rangapillai diaries written in Tamil in 1753


2015    Knoerr, H., Sarma, N. Utiliser des documents vidéos authentiques à tous les niveaux : possible et facile!. Reflets du 34e congrès de l’AQEFLS, Vol. 32, n° 5, 2015

2012    Peters, M., Weinberg, A., Sarma, N. Les étudiants ont la parole : typologie des caractéristiques des activités technologiques de langue. Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée. Vol. 15, No. 1.

2011    Peters, M., Weinberg, A., Sarma, N., Frankoff, M. “From the Mouths of Canadian University Students: Web-based Information-seeking Activities for Language Learning”. Calico Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3.

2009    Sarma, N., Weinberg, A., Peters, M. “Cliquer, glisser, dactylographier ou sélectionner dans un menu déroulant : manipulations préférées des étudiants universitaires”. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, Vol. 35, No. 2.

2009    Peters, M., Weinberg, A., Sarma, N.  “To like or not to like! Students’ Perceptions toward Technological Activities for Learning French as a Second Language at Five Canadian Universities”. Canadian Modern Language Review, Vol. 65, No 2.

2005    Weinberg, A., Peters, M., Sarma, N. “Préférences des apprenants face à l’utilisation de la technologie dans l’apprentissage des langues”. Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée, Vol.8, no 2, pp. 211-231.


2011 Carleton University Teaching Achievement Award (15,000$)
2002-2003  Professional Achievement Award (1,500$)
2001  CUSA Teaching Excellence Award (Priceless J – it is awarded by students!)


2008 $87,000 : Inukshuk Wireless. Jan 2008 – June 2010.  Project title: Vidéotech. Principal grant holder: Nandini Sarma. Project team members: H. Knoerr, (U.Ottawa). Patrick Lyons ( Carleton University), Matthew diGiuseppe (Carleton University).
2006-2007 $43,903 (2006-2007): SSHRC – Official Languages Research and Dissemination Program. April 2006-July 2007. Project title: Activités technologiques et perceptions d’étudiants universitaires de français langue seconde. Principal grant holder: M. Peters, UQAM, co-investigator: A.Weinberg, U. Ottawa.