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Walther, J., Anderson, J., & Park, D. (1994). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: a meta-analysis of social and antisocial communication. Communication Research, 4, 460-487.

Subject: CMC; Discourse Analysis.

The focus of Walther, Anderson and Park's study is on "the way abbreviated time periods might interact with a communication medium in the development and expression of social relations". Walther et al. claim that the chief difference in the time element between CMC and face-to-face communication is that of "rate" rather than capability. In other words, although the "cue limitations" of CMC make it difficult to transmit task-related as well as social information, both types of information do get transmitted through CMC--it simply takes longer. For this reason, they believe that "other aspects than media alone may be responsible for the impersonal type findings in early CMC research". Walther et al. underline time limitations as a possible cause and set forth two hypotheses:

1. "Limitation on message exchange moderates the effect of CMC on socially-oriented communication so that

a. there is a greater proportion of socially-oriented communication in unrestricted (time-unlimited) than in restricted (time-limited) CMC interaction;

b. the difference between CMC and FTF interaction on socially-oriented communication is greater in restricted...than in unrestricted...interaction.

2. Limitation on message exchange moderates the effect of CMC on antagonistic/negative uninhibited communication such that

a. there is a smaller proportion of negative uninhibited communication in unrestricted...CMC interaction;

b. the difference between CMC and FTF interaction on negative uninhibited communication is greater in restricted...than in unrestricted...interaction .

The study performed by Walther et al. confirmed the "socially-oriented" hypotheses (1a and 1b), but failed to support the "flaming" hypotheses (2a and 2b). They cite other research which attempts to explain the occurence of flaming. Of particular note are such factors as size of the group involved in the interaction (more flaming occurs in larger groups), responses to previous flaming (flaming begets flaming) and personality (some studies have shown a correlation between extroversion and flaming).


Walther, J., & Burgoon, J. (1992). Relational communication in computer-mediated interaction. Human Communication Research, 19, 50-88.

Subject: CMC; Discourse Analysis.

Walther and Burgoon's study "involved an experiment of the effects of time and communication channel--asynchronous computer conferencing versus face-to-face meetings--on relational communication in groups". They criticize prior research which suggests "strong depersonalizing effects of the medium due to the absence of nonverbal cues". Walther and Burgoon claim that:

a social information-processing perspective offers an alternative approach to explaining relational communication development in CMC....This perspective recognizes that limited-time encounters in computer conferencing preempt normal social penetration processes in relational development. Extended interactions, however should provide sufficient information exchange to enable communicators to develop interpersonal knowledge and stable relations.

They found that "when CMC and FTF groups are allowed to continue over time and accumulate numerous messages, this continuity has significant effects on groups' relational communication, and social penetration effects occur". Walther and Burgoon found that time overcame the limitations of medium in the development of social relations.


Warschauer, M. (1995a). E-mail for English teaching: Bringing the Internet and computer learning NetWorks into the language classroom. Alexandria, VA: TESOL Publications.

Subject: CMC, Online Resources, Second Language Acquisition

This highly-readable book provides a general introduction to the use of the Internet and other forms of online communication. While it is especially written for ESL teachers, much of it is of interest to teachers of any language. Chapters cover what the Internet is and how to start using it; how teachers and communicate and collaborate with colleagues and access ESL materials and resources; the uses of e-mail and computer networking in a single classroom; the possibilities of e mail and the Internet for cross-cultural communication; the uses of the Internet in distance education; the uses of the World Wide Web and other Internet tools to gather data and resources; and successful models for integrating teacher-student and student-student relations in electronic classrooms.


Warschauer, M. (1995b). Heterotopias, panopticons, and Internet discourse. University of Hawai'i Working Papers in ESL, 14(1), 91-121.

Subject: CMC; Discourse Analysis

This article analyzes the discourse of student and teachers in a set of international e-mail discussion lists for ESL students. The article uses two metaphorical frameworks popularized by Foucault: the panopticon circular prison, in which prisoners (read students) are under constant unverifiable monitoring from a guards (read teachers) in a central control tower, and the notion of the heterotopia, a counter-utopian site which neutralizes or inverts traditional relations.

Several interesting aspects of the lists are examined: the general structure of the project, which includes various levels of teacher and administrative overview; the path taken by one outspoken student who comes under strong criticism for his frequent vulgarity; a sharp conflict between a student and teacher on the issue of capital punishment; and a break-out attempt by students who set up their own student-controlled lists after a period of frustrating conflicts.


Warschauer, M. (Ed.) (1995c). Virtual connections: Online activities and projects for networking language learners. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.

Subject: CMC, Online Resources, Second Language Acquisition

This vast and highly-useful resource book contains 125 articles submitted by teachers around the world describing their use of online activities and projects for language teaching. Part I, "Electronic Communication in a Single Class," includes sections on Teacher-Student Dialogue; E-mail Interaction; Bulletin Boards; Real-Time Rapping; Topics, Topics, and More Topics; and Supporting Student Writing. Part II, "Cross-Cultural Communication," includes sections on Getting Going; Cyber-Surveys; Keypal Connections; Learning in Tandem; Class-to-Class Connections; Sharing Stories; Global Cafés; Looking at Language; Multi-Class Projects; MOOving Forward; and Electronic Courses. Part III, "Using Online Resources", includes sections on Online News; Data-Bases and Bilbilographic Research; Traveling the World (Wide Web); Net Navigation; Multimedia via the Net; Teacher-Designed Web Pages; and Student Publishing on the Web. Also included are two lengthy appendices, one introducing the FLTEACH online resource for foreign language teachers, and one providing an introduction to basic Internet tools for foreign language educators.


Warschauer, M. (1996a). Comparing face-to-face and electronic discussion in the second language classroom. CALICO Journal 13(2/3), 7-26.

Subject: Classroom Dynamics; CMC; Discourse Analysis; Equality Issues; Second Language Acquisition

This study compared ESL students' discourse and participation in two modes: (1) face-to face discussion and (2) electronic discussion using the Daedalus Interchange program. A repeated measures, counter-balanced experiment was set up to compare student participation and language complexity in four-person groups in the two modes.

Using a formula which measured relative balance based on words per student, the study found that the electronic discussion featured participation which was twice as balanced (i.e., more equal among participants) than the face-to-face discussion. This was due in part to the fact that the Japanese students in this multi-ethnic class were largely silent in the face-to-face discussion, but participated much more regularly in the electronic discussion. The study also found that students' increased participation in the electronic mode correlated highly with their relative feelings of discomfort in face-to-face discussion.

Finally, the study looked at the lexical complexity of the discourse in the two modes (using the type-token ration, which measures word repetetion) as well as the comparative syntactic complexity (using the coordination index, which measures the ration of subordinate clauses to coordinate clauses). The electronic discussion was found to be significantly more complex both lexically and syntactically. This finding was highlighted by the use of examples which illustrated some of the lexical and syntactic differences between the discourse of the two environments.


Warschauer, M. (1996b). Computer-mediated collaborative learning: Theory and practice. (Research Note #17). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i, Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center.

Subject: Classroom Dynamics; CMC; Second Language Acquisition.

In his study, Warschauer examines "the nature of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and...its potential in promoting collaborative language learning". He examines various features of CMC "in terms of their relationship to theories of collaboration and interaction in education and in language teaching". The most significant of these theories in this study is the "text-mediational interpretation of Vygotsky". Warschauer cites Lotman in describing this interpretation in which texts "are not seen as links for conveying information, but rather as 'thinking devices' used to collaboratively generate new meanings". Warschauer states that:

by bringing together the concepts of expression, interaction, reflection, problem solving, critical thinking, and literacy, and seeing how these concepts are tied together through various uses of talk, text, inquiry, and collaboration in the classroom, the text-mediational view of Vygotsky provides an extremely useful framework for understanding collaborative learning in the language classroom and...for evaluating the potential of online education to assist that process.

The article then explores several aspects of text-based and computer-mediated interaction and how these aspects relate to the text-mediational interpretation of Vygotsky. Among the apects of CMC examined by Warschauer are "many-to-many communication", "synchronous discussion in the composition classroom", "synchronous discussion in the foreign language classroom", "time- and place-independent communication", "long-distance exchanges" (both one-to-one and many-to many), and "hypermedia information and student publishing". Warschauer writes that:

all of the long-distance activities described above...have several important elements in common. First, the activities are experiential and goal-oriented, with collaborative projects carried out and shared with classmates and foreign partners via the Internet and other means. Second, issues of linguistic form are not dropped out but rather are subsumed within a meaningful context. Finally, international collaboration is combined with in-class collaboration; students work in groups to decide their research questions, evaluate responses from afar, and report and discuss their findings.

Warschauer believes that "when viewed in the context of sociocultural learning theory...these features appear to make online learning a potentially powerful tool for collaborative language learning".


Warschauer, M. (1996c). Motivational aspects of using computers for writing and communication. In Warschauer, M. (Ed.), Telecollaboration in Foreign Language Learning (pp. 29-46) Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Second Langauge Teaching and Curriculum Center.

Subject: CMC, Classroom Dynamics, Second Language Acquisition

This study researched the effects on student motivation of using computers for writing and communication in the language classroom. A 30-question survey investigated the attitude toward using computers of 167 ESL and EFL students in 12 university academic writing courses in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the U.S. It was found that the students overall had a positive attitude toward using computers and that this attitude was consistent across a number of variables, including gender, typing skill, and access to a computer at home. Further analysis showed that two variables in particular, self-reported knowledge of computers and amount of experience using electronic mail, correlated positively with student motivation.

A factor analysis revealed that factors which influenced students' positive attitude toward computers included (1) the perceived benefits of communicating via computer; (2) the feeling of personal empowerment which came from using computers; and (3) the perceived enhancement of learning opportunities which arose from using computers. Another possible factor was the sense of achievement which learning to use computers helped bring about.

Finally, differences were found in in student motivation among the 12 courses, and these differences were seen to be due at least in part to the degree to which computer-based projects were integrated into the overall goals and structure of the course.

The author concluded that teachers can enhance motivation by helping students gain knowledge and skill about using comptuers, giving them ample opportunity to communicate via computer, and carefully integrating computer activities into the regular structure and goals of the course.


Warschauer, M. (Ed.) (1996d) Telecollaboration in foreign language learning. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.

Subject: CMC, Discourse Analysis, Second Language Acquisition

This anthology consists of 14 chapters, based on presentations at the Symposium on Local & Global Electronic Networking in Foreign Language Learning & Research, held in Honolulu in 1995. Particularly interesting are a study by David Pinto, based on his use of MOOs in an ESL classroom; a paper by Richard Kern, based on a cross-cultural e-mail exchange between students in Berkeley and France; a paper by John Barson and Robert Debski, outlining a theory of technology in the service of language learning based on creativity, contingency, and goal-oriented activity; a paper by Joan Plass and Dorothy Chun, outlining their attempts to adapt a hypermedia reading program to a networked environment; and a paper by Mark Warschauer, detailing an international study of the motivational aspects of using computers for writing and communication.


Warschauer, M., Turbee, L., & Roberts, B. (1996). Computer learning NetWorks and student empowerment. SYSTEM 24(1), p. 1-14

Subject: Classroom Dynamics; CMC; Equality Issues; Second Language Acquisition

This conceptual article analyzes the potential of computer learning NetWorks to empower second language learners in three ways: (1) by enhancing student's opportunities for autonomous control and initiative in language learning, (2) by providing opportunities for more equal participation by those students who may be otherwise excluded or discriminated against, and (3) by developing students' independent and critical learning skills. The article reviews the literature as it relates to these three points and also includes a discussion of potential problems. The final section, "Suggestions for the Practitioner," discusses some general principles for effective use of computer learning NetWorks.


Wiener, R. B. (1989). Computer-assisted instruction (CAI): current issues, gender implications and future directions. In M. Taylor & J. Draper (Eds.), Adult literacy perspectives. (pp. 165-172). Toronto: Culture Concepts, Inc.

Subject: Computer Tutoring; Education.

Wiener defines five different types of software for use in CAI--tutorials, drill-and-practice programs, demonstrations, simulations, and instructional games. In addition she provides a checklist of criteria instructors should consider when seeking new software for CAI. The checklist includes items such as program operation, program content, student outcomes, and educational and pedagogical concerns.


Wilson, J. M., & Mosher, D. N. (1994). The prototype of the virtual classroom. Journal of Instructional Delivery Systems, 8, 28-33.

Subject: Classroom Dynamics; CMC; Videoconferencing.

Wilson and Mosher discuss Interactive Multimedia Distance Learning (IMDL) which is a prototype model of a "virtual classroom". Technically, the system is comprised of "2-way video teleconferencing with real-time, synchronous data communications for sharing of computer generated examples and data". They underline the implications of this virtual classroom in terms of "learning theory". These implications include the following points:

1. Teachers are no longer "simply the delivery mechanisms of the content of a curriculum";

2. Student-teacher interaction is increased;

3. Learning is placed in a real-world context beyond the confines of the classroom;

4. Cooperative learning structures are facilitated.

In addition to pointing out the advantages of the IMDL prototype, Wilson and Mosher discuss "workforce training and IMDL", as well as the effects of future technological advances on IMDL.


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