Interaction and task design in a collaborative learning environment: a case study of web conferencing in an introductory Chinese course

Sijia Guo
This study aims to explore best practice in applying a task-based language teaching approach via a web conferencing tool, Blackboard Collaborate. From both interactionist and sociocultural perspectives on second language acquisition, learner-learner interactions provide opportunities for negotiation of meaning, which may facilitate their second language learning. Few studies have investigated the effect of task design in web conferencing-based environments on learners' interaction and
more » ... ive language learning. The purpose of the current research was threefold: (1) to explore how the teacher and learners used multiple modes (video, audio, text chat, voting, raised-hand function, emoticons, and whiteboard) to make meaning in a webconferencing environment; (2) to examine whether learners engaged in negotiation of meaning in the completion of tasks in the web conferencing environment; and, (3) to evaluate the pedagogical values and limitations of the software in a beginner's online Chinese course and the tasks that were designed accordingly. There were two research stages in this study. In the first research cycle, eight elementary level students of Chinese conducted two online sessions-one jigsaw task and one information-gaptask-delivered by a web conferencing platform (Blackboard Collaborate). A mixed methods approach was adopted in that (a) the teacher's and learners' multimodal interactions were recorded and analysed quantitatively in order to illustrate participation patterns, and (b) Varonis and Gass's (1985) model was used to identify instances of negotiation of meaning in learner learner interactions through an interpretive analysis of the data. In the second research stage, Chapelle's (2001) six evaluation criteria for computer-assisted language learning task appropriateness and Wang's (2007) criteria for evaluating meaning focused video conferencing tasks were adopted and adapted to evaluate five tasks designed for an online environment in terms of practicality, language learning potential, learner f [...]
doi:10.25949/19441808.v1 fatcat:g6sxmgz7nvhp5mjffiv7dvvheu