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Developing Collaborative Learning Practices in an Online Language Course

Lookup NU author(s): Hee Chang, Dr Scott Windeatt


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There is much evidence to support the occurrence of learning in connection with collaboration, both in face-to-face and online teaching situations. There is much less research, however, on how such collaboration develops over the duration of a course. Using Dillenbourg’s concepts of situation, interactions, mechanisms and effects as a framework, the current study aims to fill that gap by following a group of 47 university students participating in a 15-week online English course for elementary to intermediate learners. Data gathered included participants’ reflective journals, questionnaires, written assignments, e-mails, web-board messages, and comments. These were analysed using open, axial, and selective coding. Three different forms of collaboration were identified - reading each other’s work, providing feedback, and working in groups. The main points to emerge from the study were the importance of the social aspect of collaboration, of allowing time for collaboration to develop, and effect of the gradual development of confidence among the participants. Patterns of collaboration which were evident at the start of the course changed as the group developed a sense of community and mutual trust, with students who initially held back from offering their work for comment gradually posting their work early to encourage feedback from others.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chang H, Windeatt S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Computer Assisted Language Learning

Year: 2016

Volume: 29

Issue: 8

Pages: 1271-1286

Online publication date: 30/12/2016

Acceptance date: 14/12/2016

ISSN (print): 0958-8221

ISSN (electronic): 1744-3210

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09588221.2016.1274331


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