Iowa State University

Department of English



  About me

Research Interests

Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

Language Testing

English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

 Research Projects

5/2010- 3/2011. Applying Item Response Theory to establishing an item bank of General English for Non-English majors. CS-2010-19-97. Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy.


In the current educational context and with the needs for evaluating language performance of nonmajor English undergraduates at Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy, the study aimed at establishing an itembank of high quality which is reliable and able to discriminate studentsí language performance. For ten months, the study created a 180 multiple-choice question (MCQ) itembank of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary for General English (modules 1 and 2). These questions were validated qualitatively basing on Bloomís taxonomy and the modulesí objectives. Quantitatively, these items were analyzed on the ground of Item Response Theory with the one-parameter Rasch model.


07/2007- 01/2008. Synchronous communication in chat rooms: The use of online discussion to enhance argumentative writing. (MA thesis)

When starting to compose an argumentative essay and taking a position, many language learners tend to neither generate inspirational ideas nor put enough thought into their essays. However, many teachers tend to avoid discussion in the classroom. Thus, online discussion in chat rooms may helpfully encourage studentsí pre-writing discussion. This study aimed at investigating the impact of synchronous online chat, as a pre-writing activity, on enhancing studentsí argumentative writing. The empirical study was conducted to quantitatively and qualitatively examine ideas in the essays English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) participants compose after their engagement in traditional classroom meetings or real-time online conferences under an instructorís supervision. The quantitative findings revealed that both of the face-to-face and computer-based discussions brought about a non-significant effect on argumentative writing. However, the students who engaged in synchronous online discussion in the chatrooms tended to focus on supporting arguments with more evidence, and they showed their readiness to resist challenges from opposing views. Examination into the quality of idea production discovered more complexity of argumentative features in argument writing when the students critically accepted good points of the opposing views and made use of them to strengthen their own position.


Highlights of ENGL510
Computer methods for Language Teaching

* Online Reading guide: Automated Writing Evaluation

* Mini-project for Skill Consolidation  Activity

* Web-based Teaching Unit



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Courses taken at ISU

  About Ho Chi Minh City


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Moodle-based ISUComm Courses

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The Corpus of Contemporary American English


Online Oxford Dictionary

Oxford Dictionary

Ms. Vu, Hoa Ngan, PhD student in Applied Lignuistics & Technology, English Department, Iowa State University  © 2011, Ames, Iowa, U.S.A.
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