Towards best practice for use of computer mediated communication in virtual learning environments
AbstractAs web 2.0 technologies are increasingly integrated in teaching and learning, it is more widely accepted that real time and asynchronous communication using voice over the internet adds value to the learning experience. However, technical challenges and learner engagement can present the practitioner with real obstacles. Careful consideration needs to be given to the choice of technologies and how they are deployed if they are to enhance the learning experience. “Whereas at the moment, face to face communication ranks as primary, in any account of the linguistic potentialities of humankind, in the future it may not be so. In a statistical sense, we may one day communicate with each other far more via computer mediation than in direct interaction.” Crystal (2001, p241)** has been developing the use of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) over recent years and we have a story to tell. Language teachers have extensive experience in the delivery of opportunities for interaction in the classroom and our community of practice approach is helping us to identify how best to apply these to our online courses, identifying tips for best practice. This presentation will highlight tips for language teachers implementing the use of voice in online support for language learners. Showcasing our experiences, examples will be provided from Chinese and French teaching where voice boards were used to give feedback on students’ pronunciation and voice conferences for real time online oral discussion and tutorials with students. In Japanese, PowerPoint presentations were narrated and provided as archived resources for students to review. Student reflections on these resources will be presented. The content will be of interest not only to language teachers but also to any discipline using computers to mediate communication. Issues addressed include the tutor’s perception of their role in the language learning process. Extensive reading from the fields of second language acquisition and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) point to a “double hit” of affective factors when CMC is employed to support language learning. These factors relate to: • tutor expertise in the choice and deployment of the technology • learner engagement with the provision Through analysis of our most and least effective interventions we have started to identify key criteria for success which we hope to contribute to the evolving field of CMC.
MacKinnon, Teresa, Guo, Z. and Katsuko, N. (2011) Towards best practice for use of computer mediated communication in virtual learning environments. In: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain, 4-6 Jul 2011. Published in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings pp. 2203-2211.