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Research proposal abstract and annotated bibliography


Title:

L2 learners collaborative on-line critical discourse analysis of native-produced social

 media texts: Pedagogy for the teaching foreign cultural knowledge in a hybrid class


Abstract

The following is a qualitative research project of student online collaboration for the co-constructive development of intercultural competence. It is a social constructivist pedagogical approach for a hybrid class. Through scaffolding, learners are introduced to native-produced online forums in class to raise language awareness through critical discourse analysis (CDA) of these texts which carry distinct underlying perceptions and pragmatic information. Class analysis and discussion is then continued online as students continue researching given topics through web quests of social media texts and then discuss these in online blog interactions with peers. The study found evidenced that under this pedagogical approach, learners collaborate to co-construct cultural knowledge resulting in development of intercultural competence, specifically in the areas of tolerance of ambiguity, self discovery, global-mindedness, and empathy.



 Below are summaries of five articles that I found
  useful for implementing this research idea.
  Some of these will be included in the literature review.



 Hoe Kyeung Kim (2011): Promoting communities of practice among non-native speakers
of English in online discussions
, Computer Assisted Language Learning, 24:4, 353-370.



Summary

Text-based computer-mediated communication can have promote communities of practice among second language learners because it encourages equal participation. This study is unique than others in that it looks closer at student participation patterns in online discussions and postings. The subjects were examined were three non-native and three native speakers of English. All were enrolled in the same online Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course. The researcher employed content analysis of 201 postings. The findings showed that the non-native speakers of English posted more messages in online discussions than the native peers. The qualitative element of the study is that the postings show more reflection on and accommodation of other students’ perspectives than the native peers’ postings. In sum, the results can conclude that L2 learners under these conditions may gain a legitimate status engaging in academic socialization. The instructor also plays a significant role in this type of participation. The types of discussion questions used on-line can influence the learner’s reflection thus, affecting the development of an online community of practice.  

Research questions

1)     
Is there a difference in participation frequency between NNSs and their native peers in asynchronous online discussions?
2)     
Is there a difference in collaborative interactions between NNSs and their native peers in asynchronous online
       discussions?

3)     
Is there a difference between NNSs and their native peers in their participation based on the types of questions? If so,
       how different are they?

4)     
Based on participation patterns, do online discussions promote a community of practice among NNSs?


Methodology


The participants were three non-native speakers (NNSs) and three native speakers (NSs) who participated in a 16 week online TESOL course that focused on language learning theories and pedagogies. NNSs were matched with NSs according to the Test of Online Learning Success (TOOL) which included computer skills, independent learning, dependent learning and need for online learning and academic skills. All students were required to make two postings per week in a discussion board. The frequency of postings in online discussions were compared. A content analysis method was used to understand NNSs participation patterns.The instructor was a facilitator who initiated and clarified discussion topics with the goal to foster collaborative interactions with minimal intervention. Two different types of discussion questions were used to observe participation patterns. One type aimed at encouraging students to share comprehension of materials (Type 1), as the other aimed at an collaboration of ideas related to the concepts and theories (Type 2). In sum, this is a social constructivist approach. To analyze the data, student posts were divided into six levels: social presence, articulating individual perspectives, accommodating or reflecting the perspectives of others, co-constructing shared perspectives and meanings, building shared goals and purpose, and producing shared artifacts. All the posts were transcribed and coded according to these categories.

 

Findings

The frequency and collaborative efforts were greater among the NNSs. They went beyond the minimal requirement of postings. Individual monologue-type patterns was more common than collaborative participation patterns in both groups. The results are displayed below:

Monologue-type postings = 62% of NNS and 67% of NS (individual opinions expressed with no response to others)
Accommodating other students' perspectives = 22% of NNS and 17% of NS
Co-constructed an understanding of knowledge = 16% for both.
No postings that shared goad and purposes or producing shared artifact were created.

In sum, the NNSs reflected more on the perspectives of the NS group, and the NS group articulated more on their own perspectives. But both groups contributed equally in co-constructing perspectives. Moreover, it is important to see the influence of the discussion question types since 40% (42% NSs) of the postings responded to the discussion type 1. 55% (46% NSs) of postings responded to type 2. The online environment allows a non-marginalized space for NNSs to share personal arguments, actively interacting in academic socialization community of practice. They experienced social bonding and gained legitimate status.


Implications

When instruction wants to encourage a specific online community of practice for second language learners, it is effective to include a collaborative blogging. The instructor plays a role of the facilitator, who 1) provides the reading materials and questions that allow expression of an understanding of the ideas in the text, and 2) the scenarios where questions aim at collaborative learning and application of the ideas. The instructor intervenes minimally to encourage this implicit social-constructivist learning.


Usefulness in my research project

This article does not state it, but it supports a constructivist model in language education. In my view, it is through social constructivism that a community of practice is achieved. The results of article provide insight on the more effective question types that induce a community of practice, as well as the teachers role. To further research in this area, I am interested in looking specifically at the development of intercultural communicative competence in a class of NNS's. The community of practice in the context of my project deals with co-constructed critical discourse analysis of native on-line texts.

         


Effie Lai-Chong Law, Anh Vu Nguyen-Ngoc, (2010),"Analysis of cross-cultural online collaborative
 learning with social software"
, Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 7 Iss: 4 pp. 247 - 263


Summary


Research in the use of popular social software in pedagogy that focuses on cross-cultural online collaborative learning environments (OCLEs) is limited. There are unexplored challenges to the software design and implementation in pedagogy or achieving the cross-cultural online collaborative learning goal. Different types of software support different types of interaction.  This study describes an OCLE (iCamp Space) which addresses the challenges by integrating cross-cultural collaboration, self-directed learning (SDL) with various types of social networking (chatting, blogging, emailing, and video conferencing). I will focus on reporting the context of blogging for this summary.


Research questions

1)    Which cultural factor(s) would play a significant role in the process and outcomes of the collaborative learning activities
        in the field study?
2)    Would the specific characteristics of the OCLE instantiated in the field study be conducive to SDL?
3)    What kinds of communication patterns would emerge under the conditions of the field study?
4)    Which implications can be drawn


Methodology

The pedagogy is grounded in social-constructivist theories, specifically in  (1) self-directed learning, (2) cross-cultral collaboration, and (3) social networking. Academic institutions of Turkey, Poland, Estonia and Lithuania participated in a three month field study. In each institution there were (1) four faculty members who where the facilitators,  (2) well informed site coordinators who were trained in the pedagogical and technical requirements, (3) a total of 36 students and 4) a research team who monitored the progress. Groups of students co-created a questionnaire, which was assessed to provide an indicator of task performance. Blogging and emailing, as a type of social software encourages the dimension of "participatory activity" in online  collaborative work. However, there are a significant number of students that prefer emailing over blogging for achieving participatory activity.


Findings

For OCLE to be successful (correlation with the research questions), (1) motivation to work with language and cultural difference among participants and facilitators is critical; (2) minimal intervention is beneficial and recommended to help students achieve tasks independently (SDL), (3) students should either be already familiar with or trained to use the social software tools, and (4) it is essential  that the setting is moderately structured and that task selection contributes to participants’ sense of ownership and moderately for encouraging the development of SDL competence.


Implications

Three key conditions for effective collaborative learning have been identified. These are; group composition, task features and communication media. Collaboration may fail if communication media and tools deployed are inadequate or irrespective of whatever group composition and task it features. In short, the nature of the collaborative task needs to line up the the online communication media tool. (e.g. If the task requires great reflection, blogging and emails should be encouraged.) There exist an abundance of multimedia tools supporting online collaboration and communication. In tellecollabration, these tools must selected carefully  based on their accessibility and ease of learning. Blogging an e-mail are collaborative writing tools for asynchronous work whereas instant messages and video conference systems are used for synchronous work. Pre-trial training and use of the software is essential to ensure that learners feel confident and comfortable to use them.


Usefulness in my research project

What I found useful of this research in fostering student SDL is that multiple familiar software could to be available for learner online collaborative work without obligation of suing a particular social software due to learner preferences. Learners must also be familiar with the software used, if not, they must be trained. Different social software's induce a different dimensions of interaction. In my study, I could make an option between emailing and blogging. I would especially foster the sense of ownership for SDL, in that the participants will have freedom of task selection. More research is needed in the context of using multiple social software for SDL tellecollaboration, specifically, in the context of second language learning.
 





Lee, L. (2012). Engaging Study Abroad Students in Intercultural Learning Through
Blogging and Ethnographic Interviews
. Foreign Language Annals, 45, 1, 7-21.



Summary

Due to an increase of globalization, there is a demand for foreign language learners to develop intercultural competence. Intercultural competence is constantly evolving, it involves the following; cultural knowledge, skills of discovery, interaction with others, open attitudes and critical awareness. Blog are an asynchronous mode of technology that is becoming more popularly used to foster cross-cultural communication and awareness, and build communities of practice. This article is a study of the intercultural learning through blogging, participants show an increase of this competence through stages and in its particular areas. It concludes with a few essential pedagogical implications on using blogging for this purpose.


Research questions

1)      How can instruction develop learners’ intercultural knowledge and awareness through reflective blogs?
2)      How can instruction foster cross cultural communication through ethnographic interviews with native informants?


Methodology

Sixteen American undergraduates in a study abroad program were participants. The assignment of weekly blogs with conducted ethnographic interviews with native speakers were used to develop their intercultural competence over the course of one semester. Selected blog entries, post-surveys, and final interviews were collected and analyzed to report the findings. Three types of blog tasks were carried out. One was personal blogs where the students observed and reflected upon cultural differences. In this, students were not required to read and respond to each others posts. Another was the class blog. This was a weekly assignment of class readings where external resources were required for supporting content. In class blogs students had to share ideas and comment on each others postings. The final type of blog was the group project blog from which they reported the findings from their ethnographic interviews.


Findings

Blog entries indicate that students demonstrate stages of intercultural competence development, starting from recognizing and understanding cultural differences to demonstrating open mindedness and appreciation for the new culture.Blog tasks provide additional opportunities for students to reflect upon cross-cultural issues and exchange cultural perspectives with native informants. In sum, the essential elements for success in blogging for intercultural learning is (1) the accessibility to networking, (2) the option of using the first language for self-reflection, and (3) the use of effective strategies for interpersonal communication.


Implications

Using blog technology needs to be meaningful to students to engage in the learning process with both free and assigned topics. Combining blogs and ethnographic interviews provides an empowering element in developing intercultural competence. In other words, the integration of native informants is beneficial in this development. It is most important that it is all well designed so that the majority of the students will have a rewarding experience with blogging.


Usefulness in my research project

Lee (2012) shows that blogging, when accompanied with ethnographic interviews of natives, provides and opportunity to engage with and reflection on the cross-cultural issues. In the context of my study, sharing findings with ethnographic interviews among peers  parallels with sharing analysis of native discourse found on-line. Among the technologies available in social media, blogging would be the most beneficial to use for this type of reflection and peer interaction. This study seems to support a social constructivist approach that seems to induce learners to notice and participate in the sociocultural dimension of the target language, then reflect on the encountered cultural phenomena through blog posts.





Zeng, G. (2009), Text-based peer-peer collaborative dialogue in a computer
mediated learning environment in the EFL contex
t, System, 37, 3, 434-446.



Summary

Two key concepts of language learning are used in this study, these are (1) the sociocultural theoretical framework and (2) collaborative dialogue and peer-peer collaboration. First, according to the perspective of sociocultural theory, learning is socially situated and is a semiotic mediated process. It happens at the interpersonal level then in the interpersonal level. This involves a Zone of Proximal Development, which is the distance between what an individual is able to achieve alone and what is achieved with others. This leads to valuing the internationalist approach to language learning, or peer-peer collaboration. This approach is still within the sociocultural framework, and involves peer scaffolding. In other words, language learners help each other, particularly in form. Within these two concepts, the study exams the foreign language learners dialog that is motivated by collaborative tasks in the computer-mediated learning context.


Research questions

1)      Do learners engage each other in attending to language form in a text-based CMC learning environment motivated by
         collaborative tasks?
2)      If so, how is their mutual attention to language form related to their language learning?



Methodology

There were 16 Chinese learners in the study. They were randomly put into 8 pairs. They were ESL learners in China. The Moodle site was used for task presentation and for recording the collaborative work. After learners were familiarized with the technology, the learners chatted with each other once a week for five weeks with five different tasks. Post-task surveys were also given to record the learners perspective on this collaborative online learning.


Findings

Results show that (1) there was an mutual engagement in attending to language forms in the collaborative dialogue. Through various discourse moves, learners initiate, negotiate and follow up on each others contributions. In other words, learners are recognizing, monitoring then readdressing specific form issues they noticed in the assigned partner. The survey supports these aspects of mutual engagement in language learning. There was also (2) a positive impact on language learning. Learners are triggering each others meta-linguistic awareness of language form. It is important to note that these are learner-to-learner interactions. There is a shared language learner identity and practice. These factors contribute to the focus on language form and language learning experience.  


Implications

The results show that online collaborative tasks work within a sociocultural framework. Learners mutually attend to each others language use as well as form. In other words, they mutually enhance their language development. External factors, such as the learners busy scheduled and access to technology must be taken into account because this causes instability in the class social network. The study did not address the impact of proficiency differences in second language learning, nor did it look closely at inter-cultural aspect of language learning.


Usefulness in my research project


This study is useful because it informs instructors that students do tutor each other, mainly in the use of language form when given the space to do so online. The question still remains, if they will assist each other on interpretation of native produced texts which carry significant underlying cultural expression.





Miyazoe, T., & Anderson, T. (2010). Erratum to Learning outcomes and students perceptions of online writing: Simultaneous implementation of a forum, blog, and wiki in an EFL blended learning setting [System 39 (2010) 185199]. System, 38, 3, 515.


Summary

This project examines the effectiveness of forums, blogs and wikis in the formal online writing, language learning context. They foster a a constructivist approach to language learning. Research on forums have been focused on intercultural exchange among participants of two classes, effectiveness of online forum instructions, discussion topic, and analysis of student written contributions. Blogs are slightly different than forums in that they are in more control of an individual student. Research has shown that their use has a positive role in self-reflection, students provide feedback that is related to language use on blogs. Wikis have received less attention in second language education research, but studies have shown that this tool supports collective knowledge construction and ownership, peer correction, positive effects in writing.


Research questions

1)     How do students perceive each of the three online tools?
2)     Are they effective in helping the students acquire the target language?
3)     If yes, in what way(s) can we quantify the resulting progress?


Methodology

Three sections of the same course in upper-intermediate level of English in Tokyo Japan revived the same treatment. All groups received in-class instruction and out of class online writhing activities in the semester. The instructor did not participate in the online activities. Forums were found on Moodle. Forums and wikis were public, but students had the option to make blogs confidential. Surveys, interveiws and text analysis were tryanguluated to see the technologies effectiveness and address the research questions.


Findings

Surveys show that student's have a positive perception of using combined technologies for writing online. Wikis were the most favorable, followed blogs then forums. The qualitative text analyses of the forum and wiki writings show progress in students ability to differentiate second language writing styles. Students enjoy a blend of technologies in the course design. Lexical density of students postings increased, more so on forum and blog postings. Forum discussions encourages the concept of "myself" ability to form opinions and express ego in interactions. Students enjoy the blending of technologies. Learners also began to different in their writing styles in using the different technologies. Using wiki had a higher level of difficulty when compared to forum and blogs, but was enjoyable.


Implications

The use of multiple technologies in a course is beneficial in allowing students to interact differently. However, a few considerations need to be made. When these three technologies are available for learners to use what they prefer, the blogs receive less collaborative interactions. This is because when provided with wiki and forums, blogs will be used as a private zone for more private interpersonal expressions since students choose to not make them public, limiting access that others may have to them.


Usefulness in my research project

This article informed me of the differences of the use of these technologies when made available to students choice. To support a constructivist approach in language learning, I would implement the forum instead of the blog. This is because of the fundamental difference of the two.