Annotated Bibliography

Chen, C., & Lee, T. (2011). Emotion recognition and communication for reducing second-language speaking anxiety in a web-based one-to-one synchronous learning environment. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(3), 417-440.

The purpose of this experiment was to measure human pulse signals, as part of a human emotion recognition system, to help teachers provide learning assistance to L2 students who were experiencing language-learning anxiety in an online learning environment.  First, researchers sampled the pulse signals of 10 volunteers to identify three emotional states: nervousness, peace, and joy.  Then, the study recruited one English teacher and four students from a senior high school in Taiwan to conduct synchronous English speaking audio sessions.  While the emotional variations of all the students over time were automatically recorded, only the emotions of two students were conveyed immediately to the teacher’s computer monitor during the learning process.  Results showed that the emotions of all the students varied with English ability, different English conversational subjects and familiarity with discussing them, personality traits, mood, and health.  While acknowledging that the human emotion recognition system could aid in her feedback, the teacher also noted that, due to her teaching experience, she was not limited by the system when dealing with all the students’ needs.  Implications indicated that future research should investigate such variability in these findings, and that other physiological signals associated with human emotion be considered.

Doerr, N.M., & Sato, S. (2011). Modes of governmentality in an online space: a case study of blog activities in an advanced level Japanese-as-a-foreign-language classroom. Learning, Media and Technology, 36(1), 69-83.

While acknowledging the potential nature and/or intent of online activities for L2 learners as a communication space free of power politics, this study proposed that governmentality existed nonetheless. A blogging project was set up by an instructor and 11 students of an advanced level Japanese class at a university in the USA in order to have more opportunities to communicate, using Japanese, amongst themselves as well as with a variety of people outside the classroom.  As a case study of one blog’s postings and comments, the authors identified three modes of governmentality: schooling (“teacher”/student), language learning (NS/NNS), and mutual information exchange (self-regulation).  Examining the incidents in which such governmentality appeared in the blog, the study showed that the subjectivity, as well as the participants’ behaviour, was defined and redefined, shaped and regulated, unbeknownst to those involved.  The study concluded that such online activities needed to involve the students in analyzing comments in a blog so that they can understand the unconscious power dynamics that work outside the classroom and that transform relationships.  Language learners may then recognize, and be more responsible for, the way they deal with such modes.

Lin, M., Lin, C., & Hsu, P. (2011). The unrealistic claims for the effects of classroom blogging on English as a second language, students' writing performance. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(6), E148-E151.

The purpose of this study was to examine the performance effects of classroom blogging on ESL undergraduate students compared to the traditional classroom teaching method, reflecting on any associated increase in workload for the teacher.  Conducted in a university in Taiwan, researchers divided 50 ESL majors into two equal writing groups: the EG, who had lectures in a computer lab and who also had access to the Internet for blogging after class, and the CG, who were taught in a traditional language classroom.  Over the course of 18 weeks (with two 50-minute lectures per week), the same research instructor provided both groups with equal materials, assignments, peer-editing opportunities, and teacher feedback.  Through a pre-/posttest examination, two human raters evaluated the results and found that the students responded equally well to both approaches, and that both groups significantly improved in their writing performance.  Despite the initial assumption that the use of blogs in the ESL classroom would be justified, the practical implications of the study revealed that the instructional time and effort spent on the EG group made classroom blogging no more productive than a traditional classroom learning space.

Loewen, S., & Reissner, S. (2009). A comparison of incidental focus on form in the second language classroom and chatroom. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 22(2), 101-114.

The study compared L2 students’ FFEs in different CMC and F2F contexts in order to investigate the amount, as well as the characteristics, of student self-correction.  The researchers divided participants in the CMC context, a NS teacher and 14 NNS students enrolled in an ESL writing class at the University of Auckland, into two groups: students monitored by the teacher and students left unmonitored.  For the F2F context, conducted with three NS teachers and 27 NNS students in separate ESL classes at a private language school in Auckland, the teacher circulated amongst the students.  Findings showed that despite participants in both contexts being given the same task materials, focus on form occurred with varying frequencies between CMC and F2F, as well as between the monitored and unmonitored CMC groups.  Namely, substantially more FFEs occurred in the F2F context, while the unmonitored CMC context elicited no self-corrections at all.  As well, both contexts contained FFEs targeting vocabulary and grammar, but there was more attention to the use of emoticons in the monitored CMC context.  The study concluded that the mere presence of teachers resulted in more FFEs, and that online teachers encourage students to prioritize accurate, rather than simply fluent, communication.

Murphy, E. (2009). Online synchronous communication in the second-language classroom. Canadian Journal of Learning & Technology, 35(3), 1-1. 1p.

The purpose of this study was to identify the benefits, challenges and solutions of synchronous online communication in elementary FSL classrooms.  Participants included four geographically and organizationally distributed IF teachers who helped researchers design and redesign web-based activities for 92 grade 6 FSL students of various abilities.  The teachers and research team collaborated through an asynchronous discussion forum and email while students communicated through the online synchronous FSL activities. The results were based upon interviews with all participants; teacher emails, discussion postings, and blog entries; and observations of student online sessions.  Rather than measuring any improvement in students’ speaking skills, qualitative findings showed a promotion of independence and learner control in addition to increased motivation, confidence and self-esteem.  The study also showed how challenges like teacher mult-tasking, poor sound quality and time lags, momentum and dead space, and technical problems were resolved through student moderators, audio tutorials and direct messaging, activity tutorials, and clearly identified technical support, respectively.   In terms of implications, the author proposed pedagogical training in such challenges and solutions to promote the identified benefits in the study.  The successful interaction between FSL peers online further suggested an L2 social-networking site might considerably heighten student interest.

Radia, P., & Stapleton, P. (2008). Unconventional internet genres and their impact on second language undergraduate students’ writing process. Internet and Higher Education, 11, 9-17.

The purpose of this study was twofold: to investigate and assess how the use of unconventional Internet sources influenced the academic writing of L2 undergraduate students, and to propose strategies for instilling greater critical research skills in such linguistically and culturally naïve students.  Participants consisted of 70 undergrads, spanning all four years in a Canadian university, enrolled in either an EAP writing or communications course.  After participating in workshops on basic research guidelines, both groups wrote a final argumentative paper presenting an original viewpoint supported by relevant print or web sources.  Research logs, and individual interviews with twelve random students, helped the authors identify the unconventional Web genres being cited by the participants, and to what extent these biased sites pervaded the students’ own writing.  Findings confirmed that students treated such sites as credible academic evidence to support, if not construct, their own viewpoint.  Despite the extended instruction on how to assess web sources, L2 students still lacked the experience to decipher manipulative rhetorical strategies used by unconventional sites.  The study recommended that strict guidelines for web-based academic citation need to be established, and that L2 writers need more hands-on, task-based workshops to practice content analysis and critical research skills.

Shih, R. (2010). Blended learning using video-based blogs: public speaking for English as a second language students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(6), 883-897.

The study’s primary goals were to establish and then investigate the effectiveness of a blended learning model using video-based blogs in an ESP university course.  The research method combined quantitative and qualitative approaches to collect data from 44 senior English majors enrolled in an English Public Speaking course in Taiwan.  Students posted initial English speeches on their Chinese blogs and then, through a combination of F2F, online, and collaborative learning, uploaded revised (and much improved) video clips.  The results of student self-reflection sheets, a survey, and a student interview questionnaire revealed that such L2 learners responded well to the blended instructional model.  While these students appreciated the blogging technology, which enabled them to improve weaknesses and to learn from others’ strengths by watching videos on the blogs repeatedly, they worried about the time they spent on their own learning about the technical component of the online requirement.  Therefore, implications for practice focused on the need for a balanced instructional plan where both F2F in-class instruction and blogging should be equally budgeted.  Further to this recommendation, the author foresaw video-based blogs as an effective way for ESP instructors to facilitate better learning outcomes.

Stapleton, P., Helms-Park, R., & Radia, P. (2006). The web as a source of unconventional research materials in second language academic writing. Internet and Higher Education, 9, 63-75.

The question of appropriate Web-sourcing for L2 academic writing led to three purposes in this study: to illustrate the types of web-based resources being used by EAP students, to assess the quality of such unconventional sources, and to examine guidelines and propose steps for improved pedagogical approaches to the issue.  A research-based class, in conjunction with a first-year academic writing course, investigated 19 L2 participants who came from a variety of academic programs.  Provided with basic guidelines by the instructor, students submitted an annotated bibliography as part of a research paper in order for three trained raters to evaluate, through a web site acceptability checklist, what these L2 students determined as valid academic sources.  Findings revealed that such students lacked an awareness as to the questionable status of source materials due to an unfamiliarity with the lingual, cultural, and/historical connotations that underlie a number of the sites listed.  For instructors, the study had specific pedagogical implications that included the need for developing familiarization with, improving identification of, and demonstrating actual examples of conforming and non-conforming Web-genres for academic citation.  While more labour-intensive for instructors, the study concluded that such an interventionist approach in any introductory EAP course would help produce better research papers.

Sun, Y. (2010). Extensive writing in foreign-language classrooms: a blogging approach. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(3), 327–339.

            The aim of the study was to examine the learning effects, processes and perceptions of extensive writing for EFL blogging.  Participants were 23 undergraduates taking an academic writing course at a university in Taiwan.  The blog, informal in structure and open to the public, provided data-management and error-annotation features for increased learner control and motivation.  The teacher-researcher evaluated the blog assignments, on any topic the students wished, solely on the quantity of entries (30 discussion posts and 10 comments) to encourage expressive, autonomous, and authentic blogging.  Two raters scored the effects of extensive writing on student performance by comparing the first three and last three blog entries on a six-point holistic scale, while the teacher-researcher quantitatively analyzed the change in syntactic complexity.  Finally, a survey measured attitudes, processes, and student evaluations of the blog features.  The results showed that while CMC learner writing became more simplified syntactically, the overall performance improved significantly.  Also, students greatly appreciated the error-annotation and spreadsheet features which allowed them to spend more time reviewing and revising their own blog, as well as to learn from others’ mistakes.  The study concluded that since such features enhanced online textual communication, they should be considered in future blog tool development.

Wang, L.C., & Sutton, R.E. (2002). Effects of learner control with advisement on English-as-a-second-language students in a web-based learning environment. International Journal of Instructional Media, 29(3), 317-324.

The purpose of this study was to examine WBL for ESL students, and the effectiveness of learner control with advisement compared to learner control without advisement.  The authors also looked at whether such variables as previous knowledge of English and familiarity with American culture influenced improvement or motivation.  The participants were 81 ESL undergraduate students enrolled in an elective computer education course in Taiwan.  All students completed a lesson on American shopping malls that included a pre-test, a brief article, basic hypermedia elements, and a post-test.  The EG, however, also had access to a comprehensive hyper-linked glossary of vocabulary.  The results showed that while both groups improved over time, the EG improved significantly faster than the students without advisement, regardless of prior proficiency in English.  Findings also indicated that neither advisement nor previous English skills related significantly to motivation.   The authors suggested that Web designs for ESL users should focus on hyperlinks for vocabulary support for a wide range of English skills rather than on separate environments for each individual skill level.  Subsequently, the study concluded that future research needed to determine reliable guidelines in the effective use of content and frequency of effective hyperlinks in WBL.

Key: Initialisms and Expansions 

CG - Control Group
CMC - Computer-Mediated Communication
EAP - English for Academic Purposes
EG - Experimental Group
ESL/EFL - English as a Second/Foreign Language
F2F - Face to Face
FFE - Focus on Form Episode
FSL - French as a Second Language
IF - Intensive French
JFL - Japanese as a Foreign Language
L2 - Second Language
NS - Native Speaker
NNS - Non-Native Speaker
WBL - Web-Based Learning

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advisement - additional support for learning in the form of hyperlinks

blended learning - course methodology or learning activity that combines online and traditional face to face instruction

conventional sources - print sources found in a library; screened by reviewers, editors, publishers, and librarians

focus on form episodes - the discussion concerning a linguistic item, starting from when the mistake or miscommunication is first realized to its resolution

governmentality - practices that seek to shape conduct or other's behaviour

incidental focus on form - the opportunities for learners to correct formal aspects of language (grammar, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, etc.) as they may affect meaning

learner control - learners make their own decisions, to various degrees, as to the direction of their instruction

unconventional sources - many pages from the Web, unscreened and subjective; ideologically and/or commercially motivated

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