«Item type text; Electronic Dissertation Authors Goertler, Senta Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. ...»
NSCDanielle, NSCGeorge, NSCJennifer, and SSCTina pointed out that she corrected “all mistakes.” NSCMichelle and SSCAdrienne mentioned that she corrected “a variety of mistakes.” NSCJennifer reported that MorningTeacher corrects “any she sees” and SSCSamantha said that “she corrects most.” However, NSCMarkus stated that she only corrected “big mistakes.” For the chat environment the students who commented reported the following: NSCJennifer and NSCDanielle reported “she corrects what she catches.” NSCLaura and SSCAdrienne reported that the teacher corrected a variety of mistakes.
Again SSCTina felt that all mistakes were corrected. However, NSCDamion and NSCLaura did not feel that MorningTeacher provided corrective feedback.
The students in the ESC reported the following about EveningTeacher’s corrective feedback during class: ESCGerhard reports that “all mistakes” are being corrected and ESCIan reports “most” as being corrected. However, ESCTiffany reports that “she is often busy with other things to correct ALL mistakes” and ESCVirginia reported only having been corrected “once or twice.” For the chat environment, ESCTiffany said that the teacher corrects when she can, whereas ESCVirginia says that she was never corrected.
In summary, from the students that commented it appears that MorningTeacher used more corrective feedback in chat and in class than EveningTeacher. However, due to the fact that not all students commented and that student impressions are clearly subjective, this conclusion has to be viewed with caution.
The last three items on the survey were guided questions about the students’ experience during chatting, especially in regards to their teachers’ behaviors. According to the students, MorningTeacher (1) “went from chat room to chat room,” (2) “made corrections,” (3) “helped,” (4) “facilitated conversation” through questions, (5) “participated,” and (6) observed in the virtual environment during chatting. Only one student commented on MorningTeacher’s actions in the physical space: SSCAdrienne reported also that MorningTeacher “walked around” during chatting and that she fixed computer problems. Her role was described as “minimal,” “discrete,” “regulating,” and as an “administrator” and “advisor” by the students in NSC. The students in SSC described her role as minimal, helping with grammar and conversation, participating, “not pushy,” and as a “corrector,” “observer”, supervisor, student and teacher, and “moderator”.
The ESC students described EveningTeacher’s behavior during chatting in the following ways: (1) starting the conversation, (2) suggesting topics, (3) “some correction,” (4) going “from channel to channel,” (5) asking questions, (6) stating “her opinion,” (7) participating, and (8) “stimulating conversation.” In addition, ESCDominique explicitly (“She asked questions, and gave her opinions. [I did] not usually [like the teacher’s comments], as they would have usually nothing to do with our conversation.”) and ESCAmanda implicitly (“she would throw out subjects”) reported that some of EveningTeacher’s topic suggestions were irrelevant. Furthermore, ESCVirginia reported that EveningTeacher never chatted with her. The ESC students described EveningTeacher’s role as “active”/”God”/”omnipotent,” helping with conversation, “stimulating conversation,” “participating,” and as monitoring. ESCJames did not think that EveningTeacher was active in the chat and ESCVirginia also implied that EveningTeacher did not play an active role in her chat rooms.
To summarize the findings in response to research question 4a, there were no significant differences between the groups or the students taught by the two different teachers in terms of their reported opinions on teacher feedback preference and experience in the quantitative analysis. Students reported liking an active teacher and feedback from the teacher. In addition, several of the components of the teacher’s behavior during chatting were reported similarly by the students of the two teachers in the comment section. Both were described as correcting, participating, facilitating the conversation, and helping the students. However, there were some subtle differences. The students who commented generally reported experiencing corrective feedback from MorningTeacher more often than from EveningTeacher. Furthermore, interpreting the comments, the students may suggest more active participation by EveningTeacher than MorningTeacher and more expanding comments by EveningTeacher. However, as mentioned before, these conclusions have to be viewed with caution, since not all students commented.
4.5.2 Research Question 4b The question is: How do these perceptions correspond with actual practices? To answer research question 4b, the results from the previous question will be discussed in relation to the findings from the transcripts and the observation notes. As mentioned above, students taught by MorningTeacher experienced more corrective feedback than the students taught by the EveningTeacher, based on the qualitative analysis of the comments. This perception was also confirmed by the corrective feedback exhibited by the six case study subjects. MorningTeacher provided significantly more feedback than EveningTeacher. In addition, students described EveningTeacher as more active than MorningTeacher. The analysis of the word count of all subjects showed a statistical difference between groups of teacher output. Hence, the students’ perception corresponds with the quantitative findings from the transcripts. In the qualitative analysis of the teacher moves in the six case study subjects’ transcripts, it was found that MorningTeacher defined her role as providing feedback, participating, and keeping the conversations narrowly defined within the task. The EveningTeacher was found to provide less feedback, and exhibited more teacher turns that were expanding the task.
Looking at the variety of comments from the students, these modes of participation were confirmed. Furthermore, the teacher was described as going from room to room.
However, none of the students commented on MorningTeacher’s use of the “invisible” function. In that same vein, none of the students commented on EveningTeacher’s use of the “to all” function. However, ESCDominique’s and ESCVirginia’s critical comments could be comments on experiencing the “to all” function, namely feeling that EveningTeacher’s comments were unrelated to their discussion or not addressed to them.
While students’ descriptions of the teacher behavior in the virtual environment mostly matched the findings from other data sources, the description of the teacher’s role in the physical environment was not present in the survey. Only one student commented on MorningTeacher as walking around in the classroom and fixing computers. However, in the classroom observation notes, MorningTeacher was found to walk around and assist students frequently, and to provide help with computer problems. Furthermore, EveningTeacher spent some time explaining the activity in the front of the class at the beginning of chatting, and during chatting, she commented out loud in the physical environment. These behaviors were not reported by the students. This may mean that students were not aware of the teacher’s behavior in the physical environment as being part of the teacher’s implementation and interaction during chatting.
In discussing these findings, one challenge is that different data sets were labeled in different ways. For example, the transcripts were stored with the students’ self-selected screennames. However, since I did not know the identity of the students, I could not use the students’ screennames to describe their behaviors in the classroom observations.
4.6.1 Research Question 5a The question is: Which parts of the interaction are happening in the physical space and not in the virtual space? While the responses to the previous questions mostly discussed the interactions in the virtual space, it is also important to understand the interactions happening in the physical space. As universities are growing, classroom space becomes more and more limited, and creative solutions have to be found to deliver instruction with the limited classroom space. One of those solutions is to move some or all instruction into distance learning environments, creating online or web-enhanced classes. In order to understand how to effectively use a component, such as SCMC in a classroom setting or alternatively, in a distance learning environment, it is important to understand which interactions are occurring in the physical environment during chatting, so that changes can be made to accommodate the new delivery form if distance learning is chosen.
To respond to this research question, information from the classroom observation notes, the surveys, and the self-report forms will be discussed. I will not differentiate between teachers or among classes. First the behaviors by the teacher will be discussed, and then those by the students.
During chatting the physical space was used for group assignment as mentioned in response to question 1. In addition, the discussion of the task for the most part occurred in the physical environment, with EveningTeacher providing lengthy explanations of the
MorningTeacher, on the other hand, did not introduce the activities to the whole class, but, walked up to students and assisted them when they were confused about the activity.
Computer problems were attended to by the teacher or the Lab Assistant in the physical environment. Furthermore, when one student experienced technological problems, he or she was able to shout across the room to the partner or partners that his or her screen froze. This way the other partners knew that the “silence” in SCMC was due to technical problems. In addition, if an entire channel crashed, the teacher or the Lab Assistant was able to reassign them to a new channel and provide them instructions on the procedures to fix the computer problem. All computers in the lab had the same connection speed, and usually problems with slow internet servers were experienced by multiple students at the same time.
Besides logistical issues, the EveningTeacher also used the physical environment to comment on students’ writings in one or several chat rooms. Sometimes she laughed, or she spoke out a comment loudly. Furthermore, she sometimes stopped the interaction, if she felt that students were not understanding the activity, and either told them how to complete the task correctly, or provided more examples. MorningTeacher did not use the physical environment for these purposes according to my classroom observation notes.
However, according to my notes, and also one student’s comment on the survey, she did use the physical environment to walk around amongst the students.
Another element of the interaction in the physical environment is the general shared experience of the students. For example, both teachers played music occasionally during chatting, which was an element of the physical environment. In addition, it was sometimes a point of discussion either in the virtual or the physical environment, with students either asking about the music, or commenting on it. Being in the same room also allowed students to experience some of the same distractions, such as ringing cell phones, or a computer repair man showing up, according to their self-report forms. These common elements in the physical environment may be an important component of the chatting in a classroom context.
The students interacted with each other in the physical environment also – though these interactions were more common in the ESC than the other two classes, according to my classroom observation notes. The students laughed together, read each others’ transcripts, asked each other questions when they had problems understanding, and commented on events in the physical and the virtual environment. All of this information stems from my classroom observation notes and comments from the self-report forms and surveys. In the beginning, students were also observed trying to find out who they were talking to, since the students used screennames and not their actual names.
Students were also observed using several different resources, such as the internet dictionary Leo (leo.dict.org), paper dictionaries, their textbook, the course management software, and internet translators. The students also reported using such resources in their self-report forms. Some students had several windows open and placed them on the screen so that they could read them all at the same time. In addition, some students also consulted task-unrelated websites, such as their email accounts, newspapers, the latest sports results, and websites popular among our students such as “Facebook.” From my classroom observations, this appeared to only occur when students were waiting for a response from their partner(s).
In conclusion, the physical environment was utilized for a variety of activities.
Furthermore, the common setting allowed students to have some of the same experiences even if they were in different chat rooms. In addition, the staff was able to assist and solve technological problems, and students who were in a room where one or more students experienced problems knew about the problem quickly. The physical environment also served the purpose of dealing with logistical issues (such as group assignment, introduction of activities, and technological support) and for bonding (such as reading each other’s conversations, laughing together, and commenting out loud).