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«Item type text; Electronic Dissertation Authors Goertler, Senta Publisher The University of Arizona. Rights Copyright © is held by the author. ...»

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Furthermore, most students over the course of the semester were able to arrange the windows on their computer monitors, so that they could use an online dictionary, the chat window, and the course management web site all at the same time. Furthermore, students still asked the teacher and their peers questions in the physical and in the virtual environment. These human resources would have been harder to come by in an ACMC, dispersed or distance learning context.

Another logistical issue discussed in the research is technical difficulties.

Donaldson and Kötter (1999) found that experiences with technical difficulties minimized the benefits of CMC language learning encounters. While as such this finding cannot be confirmed, it has to be mentioned that the MorningTeacher experienced frustration and challenges due to technical difficulties. Furthermore, a few students commented on technical “hassles” as limiting the benefits of computer use in the classroom. In this study, from my perspective the most challenging aspect of the technical difficulties was the loss of transcripts for research purposes.

While tasks have been discussed in the SLA and the CMC research as a factor, in this study, task type was not analyzed. However, it appeared that the task type itself did not play as much of a role for the students’ experience according to their reports in the survey, as the implementation of the task by the teacher. The teacher moves during chatting appeared to be seen as a model by the students, again, making the implementation the factor in differences and not the task itself. Yet it cannot be excluded that the various task types also played a role in differences of language use in different transcripts by the same student.

5.11 Limitations As mentioned throughout chapter four and this chapter, while measures were taken to limit methodological problems, this dissertation has some major limitations. First and foremost, the small number of subjects, especially the teachers and the case study subjects, does not allow for generalization of the research results.

Furthermore, unanticipated differences and challenges influence the results of this study. Most importantly, the computer challenges in NSC and SSC, which led to partial and complete transcript loss, limit the comparability of transcript sets. In addition, differences in test administration between the morning classes and the evening class also influence the comparability of the results. The different labeling of data sets (screen names vs. descriptors vs. anonymous postings) and the subsequent difficulties in the attribution of data produced at different times to the specific individuals impacted my ability to triangulate data from the different sets in regards to specific subjects. The selfreport form was even further challenging due to the formatting provided by the coursemanagement software, so its results had to be eliminated in any discussion of teacher, group or individual differences. Also, the teachers rarely turned in the automated chat analysis sheet, which resulted in a need to find alternative ways to measure word count.

However, since the chat analysis program would not have been able to differentiate between German or English words and names or not names, some counting “by hand” would have been necessary regardless.

A limitation, and at the same time a finding, is the different implementation of the chat between the two teachers. Differences included the introduction of activities, the interpretation of the activities, the definition of the scope of the task through own teacher moves, the group assignments, and group size.

Another limitation of the study is the absence of inter-rater reliability for the scoring of the tests, as well as the coding of the data. While an attempt was made to make scoring and coding sheets as explicit as possible, it does not replace the coding and scoring by another trained rater.

Finally, since chatting was only a minor portion of class, students’ experiences, attitudes, and language learning were most likely influenced by the chat sessions only in a minor way. Furthermore, language learning is a multi-faceted process with many variables that cannot be controlled in a classroom-based study.

5.12 Directions for Future Research While this study provided some new and confirmed some previous results, it also posed new research questions. Limitations in the research design also provide new ideas for future research.

In regards to corrective feedback, several questions still remain open: (1) Can pauses be considered clarification requests? (2) If so, are self-corrections following clarification requests then forms of uptake? (3) What patterns exist between error type and error treatment? (4) Which forms of feedback are most effective during chatting? (5) Is the best time for a focus on accuracy during the chatting, or would it be better implemented by using transcripts to focus on accuracy or simply focus on fluency? (6) What are the short term and long term effects of the feedback received during chatting?

(7) Are weaker students more prone to error uptake than stronger students? (8) What are the qualitative and quantitative differences in corrective feedback, error uptake, and uptake when comparing face-to-face and chat conversations? (9) Are there individual factors that influence the patterns of feedback received or provided and effectiveness of feedback provided or received?

The following questions emerged from this study as open questions in respect to SCMC: (1) How do individual differences such as age, previous experience with technology, and previous experience with classroom language learning affect students use of the chat medium and the effectiveness of corrective feedback given in that medium? (2) Which of the proposed modifications for a distance learning environment are effective? (3) Are medium-specific writing conventions based on the English language such as “BRB” used by the majority of target language chatters, and if so, how should they be dealt with in a foreign language classroom? (4) What are effective grouping strategies for chat activities? (5) What are the effects of task type on language learning success?

Since there were various limitations of this study, the following recommendations are suggested: (1) an in-depth analysis of the remaining transcripts to confirm or question results found in the case study subjects’ transcripts; (2) further case studies with different teachers; (3) replication of the study with a more reliable chat server; (4) research methodology that captures more of the interactions in the physical environment, such as multiple video cameras; (5) correlation between structures receiving feedback during chatting and improvement on those structures on the test; (6) more refined and generally acceptable definitions of error types, feedback types, and uptake; (7) assessment of interrater reliability for test scoring, error coding, and feedback coding.

5.13 Final Comments In conclusion, chatting and corrective feedback were seen as positive learning experiences by the majority of students. In contrast to the overall experience by the students, the MorningTeacher experienced some struggles with the implementation of SCMC. From the researcher’s perspective, and contrary to expectations, corrective feedback was infrequent in general. Despite the differences between the two teachers, there were not many differences among students’ experiences and learning irrespective of their teacher and class. An incidental finding, was that students made no indication, through comments on questionnaires and surveys, that they were aware of the teacher’s role in the physical space of the CMC classroom, nor that they were responding to the teacher in the physical space when the SCMC context is most salient.

While the study was able to respond to the research questions and provide futher insights to the field of SLA research, it also posed new questions. Furthermore, due to the limitations in research design and implementation, no generalizations were possible.

Hence, as always, more research needs to be done.

–  –  –

Student 1 (11:12:10): Connected & Entered Channel 1 Student 1 (11:12:28): was haben?

Student 1 (11:12:33): hallo...

Student 2 (11:12:37): hallo Student 2 (11:12:43): wie geht's?

Student 1 (11:13:23): du hast eine gut tage?

Student 2 (11:13:45): ja, danke Student 2 (11:13:48): und du?

Student 1 (11:13:49): ich bin gut Student 1 (11:14:20): ja Student 2 (11:14:39): hast du die anweisungen gelesen?

Student 1 (11:15:5): was du im einer Friezheit?

Student 2 (11:15:38): ich gehe ins Kino Student 1 (11:15:56): nein, ich lese nicht Student 2 (11:16:1): haha Student 2 (11:16:55): Wan musstest du aufstehen, als sie in der 8.

klasse war?

Student 1 (11:18:11): Deustsch ist meine erste Klasse Student 1 (11:18:46): ich stehe um 10 Uhr auf Teacher (11:19:50): Ja, aber wann musstest du aufstehen, als du in der Schule warst?in der 8.Klasse?

Student 2 (11:20:43): Als ich in der 8. klasse war, bin ich um 7 uhr aufgestanden.

Student 1 (11:21:49): ich will schalfen um 7 Uhr Student 1 (11:22:4): Welcher Film du hast gesehen?

Student 2 (11:22:46): Ich habe viele Film gesehen Student 1 (11:23:27): was ist einer lieblings Film?

–  –  –

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. This survey is intended to provide background information about your language learning and computer-mediated communication experiences. The surveys will not be shown to your instructor and will have no effect on your grade. The screenname you picked and will use throughout the semester, will be replaced with a pseudonym, so that any publication of the research results will not contain your name or your screenname.

I. General Information

1. Screenname: _______________________________

2. Section: _______________________________

3. Age: _______________________________

4. Gender: F______ M_______

5. Which languages do you speak?

native language: ___________________________

foreign/second language: __________________________

Others: ______________________

6. How would you describe your German ability?

7. Is German the first language that you are learning in a classroom? Yes ____ No_____

8. Is German the only foreign language that you have learned? Yes _____ No __________ II. Please respond to the following statements by circling the appropriate answer: strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), agree (3), strongly agree (4). Feel free to explain your answer in the space provided.

1. When I say something wrong, I like it when the teacher explains to me what is wrong in front of others.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

2. I like it when my teacher corrects me.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

3. I don’t think my classmates should correct me.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

4. When I say something wrong, I like it when the teacher writes the correction on the board.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

5. I like it when my teacher helps me in getting my meaning across rather than fixing every error.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

6. When I say something wrong, I like it when the teacher tells me that what I said was wrong without telling me the correct form.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

7. I believe using technology in the language classroom is beneficial for language learning.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

8. When I am in a language classroom, I want the teacher to focus on the grammatical accuracy of what I say and not focus on responding to what I am saying in terms of content.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

9. When I say something wrong, I like it when the teacher rephrases what I said and asks if that is what I meant.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

10. When the teacher corrects me, I am uncomfortable.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

11. In a foreign language class using computers gets in the way of really learning the language.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

12. My classmates can help me by pointing out my errors.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

13. When I say something wrong, I like it when the teacher rephrases what I said so that it contains no errors and them moves on.

strongly disagree disagree agree strongly agree Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

III. Please respond to the following statements by circling the appropriate answer: never (1), rarely (2), sometimes (3), or always (4). Feel free to explain your answer in the space provided.

1. I have used chat/ messaging software (ICQ, Instant Messenger, etc.) to communicate with friends.

never rarely sometimes always Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

2. I have used chat and messaging software to communicate for work or for school.

never rarely sometimes always Explain: _______________________________________________________________________

3. I have used chat in another foreign language classroom.

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