Iowa State University
Department of English

 

TESL/Applied Linguistics: Conference on Technology for Second Language Learning

The role of CALL in hybrid and online language courses

Day 1 | Day 2

 

Abstracts, Day 2

 

 

Dynamic Assessment in Synchronous Computer Mediated Communication (SCMC)

Parviz  Birjandi
Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
Saman  Ebadi
Allameh Tabatabie University, Tehran, Iran

The theoretical motivation behind dynamic assessment (DA) emerges from Vygotsky’s theory of the mediated mind. At the heart of Vygotskyan and sociocultural approaches to language learning and dynamic assessment are the concepts of mediation and social learning (Lantolf 2000; Lantolf & Thorne 2006).These key components of DA have taken on special relevance with the advent of social networks and online communities through web 2.0 technologies that described by O’Reilly (2005) as an evolution from the linking of information to the linking of people with an increased emphasis on user generated content, data and content sharing and collaborative effort in Synchronous computer mediated communication (SCMC). The current study represents the first attempt to employ interactionsist DA which follows Vygotsky’s preference for cooperative dialoging in a SCMC environment using web 2.0 technology to shed light on learner microgenetic development of learners; L2 grammatical structure in writing. The present study sets out to open new horizons in DA implementation by employing the “boots trapping effect” of SCMC that reduces the cognitive demand of L2 language production (Blake 2005), and Web2.0 applications which provide for authoring flexibility, content creation and the generation of new knowledge through collaborative interaction. This study also addresses the inadequacy of proficiency levels obtained in the psychometric-based DIALANG in pinpointing learners’ future potentials for development. It is argued that two learners who are at the same A1 level might have different potentialities for learning the target structure. From a DA perspective we make very different predictions of each learner’s potentials for development and therefore prescribe different types of instruction. Through microgentic analysis in DA via web 2.0 based tools of Google wave and Skype in the current study, it is possible to obtain a richer and more accurate understanding of students’ potential level of development.

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The use of Automated Essay Scoring in a hybrid ESL writing course

Dr. Semire Dikli and Ms. Susan Bleyle Georgia Gwinnett College

The main purpose of this paper is to discuss the application of the results of prior research on Automated Essay Scoring (AES), a cutting edge technological tool within the area of CALL, to the development of a hybrid writing course in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program in a four-year Southeastern U.S. college. In order to exit the program, students are required to produce a multi-paragraph essay within a 90-minute time frame, which is a task they practice repeatedly in the writing course. In a face-to-face classroom environment, this is achieved during class time, in which the instructor acts as a proctor. As the college now moves to expand its hybrid offerings, the authors draw on a study they conducted in Spring and Fall 2009 which focused on the use of an AES program in a college classroom to provide insights about the possible use of this technology in a hybrid course design. In the study, approximately 30 ESL students completed surveys or reflection journals to ascertain their perceptions of using an AES program as compared to the more traditional essay formats. The results suggest important pedagogical implications for the use of an AES program in hybrid writing courses: 1. allowing face-to-face class time to be used for more focused instruction; 2. giving students flexibility to write multiple drafts on an unfixed number of prompts; and 3. providing students with instant computer feedback as well as the option for more timely teacher feedback.

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Plenary: For a smoother blend: Lessons learned from blended instruction

Dr. Senta Goertler
Michigan State University

Blended and online instruction is often favored by high-level administrators as it is argued to provide more access to prospective students, use less space, and cost less than face-to-face instruction (see for example, Sanders, 2005). As Blake (2001, 2009) has pointed out, technology and online delivery are neither monolithic nor a teaching method. While one implementation of a blended course may work well, another might fail. Correspondingly, research results have been mixed (e.g.,, Goertler & Winke, 2008). Researchers such as Garrett (1991) have argued against using a comparative research framework, which compare F2F with online courses, to investigate the effectiveness of technology-mediated learning; instead, researchers should focus on the learning process in technology-enhanced learning environments. Additionally, as Thorne and colleagues (e.g., Thorne and Black, 2007; Sykes, Oszko, & Thorne, 2008) have pointed out, the omnipresence of digital discourse communities necessitates the integration of CMC tools and the acculturation to these online cultures-of-use into the language classroom, which are most naturally integrated in blended or online learning environments.

At Michigan State University we strive to improve our teaching to achieve the goals for today's students and to continuously assess the effectiveness of our pedagogical innovations in both traditional research paradigms and more exploratory qualitative research studies. In this presentation a continuum of technology-enhanced and technology-mediated learning will be outlined, and rationale for blending will be discussed. Previous research results comparing the effectiveness of online/blended instruction will be summarized and lead to an overview of the blending process in Michigan State University's German curriculum. Pedagogical choices will be explained based on the research results from the needs analyses (Winke & Goertler, 2008; Goertler, 2009; Winke, Goertler, & Amuzie 2010; Goertler, Bollen, & Gaff, forthcoming) and previous research. After a description of the course structures, tasks, and tools implemented in the 4-year curriculum, research results from the associated explorative (Kraemer, 2008a, b, c) and pilot studies will be discussed. Lessons learned: multiple goals can be achieved in a blended course; blending is not a smooth process; and blended curriculum design is an iterative process that involves a constant cycle of evaluation and revisions.  

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A balancing act: experiences developing an online program

Dr. Anne O'Bryan, Adolfo Carillo Cabello, Kimberly Levelle, Dr. Julio Rodriguez, Jim Ranalli
Iowa State University

This presentation will show how pedagogy, technology, and complex content were integrated into the development of a set of diverse language teacher development courses, which make up an online TESL/TEFL graduate certificate program. We will focus on the process of redesigning each of the courses that were originally created for face-to-face delivery and on the ways in which the program plans to meet the teacher development needs acknowledged in current CALL and distance education research (see Compton, 2009; Hubbard and Levy, 2006). We will also address course development aspects that are specific to teacher development contexts, such as the need to model effective technology use, and the need to integrate technologies that are flexible enough to allow student-teachers to experience them from both the learner and the instructor perspectives. This presentation will also address the particular challenges and opportunities that arise when various types of courses are moved to the online mode. Introductory, capstone and practicum courses, for instance, present different instructional design issues. For example, the selection and creation of resources, activities, and assessments for each of these types of courses varies according to the purpose of the course within the program. We will provide practical guidelines for the development of each of these types of course as well as for the choice of technologies used throughout the program.

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Comparison of E-learning, Cooperative Learning and Traditional learning in Teaching English as a Second Language to Male Sixth Grade students in Riyadh - Saudi Arabia

Mohammed S. Al Haidari
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

One of the new experiences in the Saudi Arabian school system is using e-learning in public schools which has been brought on by an increased government effort to improve the Saudi Arabian educational system by implementing newer methods of teaching and making them more mainstream. This experimental study seeks to explain the effects of two teaching methods on students studying English as a second language, by comparing the performance of a control group (group c), using more traditional learning methods, and two experimental groups,  group a (E-learning methods ),  and group b(cooperative learning). The groups are comprised of seventy-four sixth grade (the first year in the public school system, when students take English) public school students in Riyadh, during a time period of twelve weeks (three lessons per week and forty-five minutes per lesson). All of the students are males, between the ages of eleven and twelve years. Group a contains twenty-five students, whereas group b contains twenty-four students and group c contains twenty-five students. A pre-test and post-test are for comparative purposes. The skills which are to be monitored are: reading comprehension, composition, and speaking. Group a will be taught using: Video, audio and Web-based learning tools. Group b, on the other hand, will be taught using cooperative learning, administered by a teacher who has been trained in cooperative learning via a three day workshop on the subject. For statistical analysis, we will use ANOVA-2WAYS. To retain external validity, the same teacher was chosen to teach all three groups.

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Saturday, September 11 (afternoon)

 

The “Plinko” Principle and Language Programs: Designing Non-Linear Hybrid Learning Environments and Desiderata for Implementation

Dr. Sebastien Dubreil, Dr. Harriet Bowden, Doug Canfield, Jason Pettigrew and Dr. Dolly Young
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Successful hybrid courses have the potential to benefit immensely from efforts to foster personal, informal learning environments. Informal learning, regardless of age, is almost universally non-linear and multimodal. Unfortunately, the current constraints of educational systems at all levels (in diametrical opposition to our learning habits and personality traits) impose a formal learning model that emphasizes linear learning.

In addition to briefly discussing the existing platforms and presenting more traditional tools (web/language quests, collaborative learning tools), this paper will focus on presenting a battery of more innovative tools (Prezi, Twitter, Dropbox and others) that lend themselves to designing and implementing non-linear applications in the language classroom, allowing for more flexible, open learning environments as we adapt our ability to use mental and pedagogical capital appropriately to foster the ability of our students to transfer target language knowledge to novel situations. We will also discuss barriers to implementation, and hope to have an open dialogue on how to move forward.

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Online oral skills practice in a blended learning environment: Teacher and student experience

Maja Grgurovic
Iowa State University

Blended learning, a combination of face-to-face and online CALL instruction, is seen as one of the most important advancements of this century (Thorne, 2003). While the developments of blended learning in other academic content areas are encouraging to see, Learning Management System (LMS) technology that provides content delivery is not specifically designed for language teaching. Therefore, blended language learning courses face some specific challenges such as the development of speaking in predominantly text-based LMS environments. For this reason, it may not be surprising that some foreign language students expressed concerns for the development of oral skills (Chenoweth & Murday, 2003).

New technologies within LMSs such as Wimba tools open possibilities for practicing oral skills in the CALL mode of blended learning classes. This study examines the experience of teachers and students who used the Wimba recording feature in ESL classes for one semester. The data were collected through interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The recording feature was a part of speaking and pronunciation activities and both teachers and students realized their advantages. Teachers felt the activities provided additional oral practice, increased student talking time, and allowed for individualized feedback. Students liked that activities resembled real-life and test tasks and valued teacher feedback. Positive teacher and student experience indicates that oral skills can be practiced not only in the face-to-face but also the CALL mode of blended classes and shows promises for the integration of this and other Wimba tools into blended and online language courses in the future.  (248 words)

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Learning to talk about language in an online linguistics course

Kimberly LeVelle and Dr. John Levis
Iowa State University

Online course offerings in all disciplines, including language and language-related courses, are becoming more common at universities across the US. Surprisingly, there has been little research done on the effectiveness of teaching linguistics online nor of how students in such classes develop in their command of linguistic knowledge and metalanguage to express linguistic reasoning.  In response to an increasing demand for remote instruction, the instructor and a PhD candidate in a program specializing in technology for applied linguistics (both who have extensively taught this type of course) developed an online version of our graduate introduction to linguistics course. Using a variety of online pedagogical options, including read-only and audio/video presentations, online analysis and practice activities, discussion forums, and online quizzes, we examined how well 20 graduate students developed in their language beliefs, linguistic knowledge and sophistication of linguistic reasoning. This presentation reports initial findings from the student feedback, student outcome measures, and designer and instructor feedback. We discuss the choices that were involved in the initial course design as well as the pedagogical innovations during the semester. We examine both student performance as well as analysis of qualitative responses to survey questions. In addition to student, instructor, and designer feedback on the course, we examine best practices for design and suggest revisions for the next iteration of the course. 
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Best Practices For Building Hybrid & Blended Learning Language Courses

Dr. Rama Sohonee
Foreign Service Institute, Department of State, VA

In this presentation I will discuss the best practices in selecting and creating multiple interfaces such as e-books, podcasts and using social media networking platforms as components of e-learning and hybrid courses. With examples from an online Polish Reader, Chinese e-book, Advanced Russian People-to-People course, Spanish m-learning and Macedonian podcasts I will point out the possible pitfalls and necessary steps to take before developing hybrid and blended learning courses.
During the presentation I will initially define both hybrid and blended learning, where Hybrid courses combine face-to-face (FTF) classroom instruction with electronic online devices while blended learning is the process of incorporating many different learning styles that can be accomplished through the use of 'blended' virtual and physical resources.

Language learning in the 21st century is anytime, anywhere and in any way possible—it can be ‘found learning’ as in when the learner finds the time to look at his vocabulary list on his mobile device or in the car listening to a podcast while driving.

Research had shown several advantages to a hybrid course. Students prefer a mix of learning environments. When asked what they prefer, 56.3% prefer courses that use a moderate amount of instructional technology (IT) and 49.5% of students reported that the use of instructional technology enhances their learning (MTSU ECAR, 2008). Many (37.3%) say that they get more involved in courses that use IT. In addition, requiring the use of technology in courses assures computer literacy. (Karen Ward. Instructional Design for Hybrid Courses: Deliberate design for the best of both worlds. )

In this presentation I will also look at some of the results hybrid course users have achieved at the Foreign Service Institute as opposed to those in a face-to-face language class setting.

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The development of an online content-based university level language course for non-native English speakers

Patricia Glogowski
York University, Ontario, Canada

In this presentation, the presenter will discuss the development of an online content-based language course for non-native English speakers, which was offered at one of the universities in Canada.  The presenter will discuss both the pedagogical and technological contexts of the course as well as describe the SLA and CALL theoretical bases, which have informed the development of the course.
The content-based online course titled Language and Public Life focuses on the role of language in the popular media. It aims to improve learners’ academic reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through thematic discussions.  The 12 week-long credit course is offered entirely online using the Blackboard content-management platform. Learners are required to read the content modules on a weekly basis and interact with the instructor and other students via three major tools: announcements, email, and online discussions.  
The course design was informed by both the SLA and CALL theories (Bax, 2003; Chapelle, 1997, 1998, 2005; Egbert, 2005; Egbert & Petrie, 2005; Kern, 2006; Warschauer & Healey, 1998; Warschauer, 2000). The course designer aimed at making CALL as ‘normalized’ (Chambers & Bax, 2006; Bax, 2003) or integrated (Warschauer & Healey, 1998; Warschauer, 2000) with language learning as possible. Online activities were structured appropriately to fit the technological environment and to provide sound pedagogical benefits for the students; the principles of CALL classroom practice (Egbert, 2005) were used to guide the process.  In accordance with Warschauer’s (2000) argument that integrated CALL supposes the socio-cognitive view of language learning, the course development was also guided by the principles of the socio-cultural theory (Vygotsky, 1962, 1978). Specifically, the idea of a Community of Practice (Wenger, 1998) which suggests that learners acquire skills and knowledge through interaction with others in a tightly-knit community was used in structuring the course content and activities. Finally, the course development was also informed by the interactionist theory (Long, 1985, 1996), which emphasizes the dynamic interplay between learners, their peers, and their teacher in a given social context. “A social interactionist approach emphasizes linguistic and personal benefits to be gained through stretching competence with a partner or within a community of learners” (Chapelle, 2005, p. 60). 
In this presentation, the presenter will discuss how the above mentioned SLA and CALL theories informed the design of the course; the presenter will also discuss the benefits and shortcomings of the online language course teaching and learning.

Recursive Search and Social Media for STEM Vocabulary Learning

Dr. Gregory Aist, Dr. Tammy Slater, Dr. David Oakey, Heidi Ramaeke
Iowa State University

Lists of academic vocabulary do not generally focus on STEM. For example, the 570-item Academic Word List (AWL) science coverage is the lowest of its four subject areas (Coxhead 2000). In previous work (Aist et al. CALICO 2010) we delineated four processes for developing a STEM-specific vocabulary from a general resource such as the AWL: selecting STEM words, filtering out non-STEM words, pairing some words with related non-AWL words (qualitative, quantitative), and extending some words into STEM-specific phrases (genetic factor, algebraic factor). Extension was aimed in part at recontextualizing vocabulary items to specify their STEM meaning.

This presentation discusses an interesting finding emerging from two extension methods. The first method was recursive search on the corpus of Web pages indexed by Google: searching on Google for documents containing a STEM term (e.g. science) and the word itself, and then recursively searching for the collocation (if any) that appeared most frequently in the top ten hits. The method finished successfully when results were stable -- when search on a collocation yielded many top ten hits containing that same collocation. The second method was based on social media: deriving STEM-specific collocations from the user-edited Wiktionary. From these methods an interesting pattern emerged. Wiktionary yielded a STEM-specific meaning in an apparently linear pattern - more often for more frequent words. Recursive search, by contrast, yielded a STEM-specific meaning in an apparently normal (bell-shaped) distribution with respect to frequency. These differences suggest that learners or teachers would be able to gather more examples of STEM collocations by combining search-based and social media-based methods.

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A hybrid course for introductory Chinese lectures at Kyoto University

Yasushi Tsubota and Masatake Dantsuji
Kyoto University, Japan

At Kyoto University, we hold a hybrid course for introductory Chinese. The course consists of two classes, one for grammar and one for practice.  We have developed a textbook to use in both classes, and multimedia teaching materials based on the textbook, which we use in the practice class.  In our lectures, a teaching assistant operates the equipment and supports class activities such as reading example sentences. We have set up a website for self-study, which contains the same material as that in the classroom.

However, the videos are not available for the sake of fast access.  The end-of-semester exam for the practice class is a listening comprehension test using the e-learning system, in which students can listen to the audio files as many times as they wish. The exam scores were higher than expected, which shows the efficacy of our system. Last year, we introduced self-introduction exercises to the curriculum because we thought there was a lack of speaking practice in class. Using the webcams installed on all PCs in our CALL classrooms, students record themselves and add subtitles to their videos. In certain classes, the best videos are played to the class.  Furthermore, we had our students record self-introduction videos in Japanese and exchange them with students at Chinese universities. Our surveys have shown that both Japanese and Chinese students are keen to further study each other’s languages and countries, an ideal use for our system.

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