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Journal Article

The Global Classroom Project: Learning a Second Language in a Virtual Environment  pp90-106

Brant Knutzen, David Kennedy

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

This paper reports the progress of a pilot project exploring the integration of a collaborative virtual learning environment (Second Life) with the instruction of English courses at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. An educational partnership was developed with two TESOL teacher‑training courses at Texas A&M University in the US. The project enrolled over 200 participants, with about half from each participating university. Coordination of online activities was done using the Moodle learning management system. A large non‑traditional language learning facility was developed in the Second Life virtual environment in the style of a 1950's American diner on a private island, complete with Cadillac booths, traditional diner booths and tables, and outdoor campfire settings to facilitate conversational groupings. Both IM typed chat and VOIP voice interactions were explored inside the virtual environment. Student behavior observed during the study indicates the conditions which result in the most productive interactions, and also highlights several key problem areas which must be addressed before successful interactions can be achieved. This paper presents a process which has been developed and trialed, and the plans at Lingnan University to adopt it on a wider scale to support the development of language skills.

 

Keywords: collaborative virtual environment, language learning, ESL, educational partnerships

 

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Journal Article

Hypermedia Reading Materials: Undergraduate Perceptions and Features Affecting their Reading Comprehension  pp116-125

Nurul Adila Hamdan, Maslawati Mohamad, Shahizan Shaharuddin

© May 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp105 - 198

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Abstract

Due to the potential of the Internet and blended learning environment, students, especially L2 learners, are often required to read references available online. A study was conducted to identify the perceptions of L2 learners comprising TESL undergraduates towards TESL‑related hypermedia reading materials and the factors contributing to their reading comprehension. This case study involved eleven third‑year undergraduate TESL students enrolled in a course called ‘Teaching of Reading Skills in an ESL Context’. Data was collected using Think Aloud Protocol, semi‑structured interviews, and reflective notes. The findings of this study revealed various participants’ perceptions regarding hypermedia reading materials. Among the factors that improved their reading comprehension include the design of the hypermedia materials and content in terms of the manner in which information was displayed. The participants highlighted the difficulties associated with reading long hypertexts and expressed preference for texts which come in point‑form format. Other features cited as being helpful in their reading were the inclusion of pictures, tables, diagrams, audio materials, and videos along with the text. Some other features included hyperlinks and glossaries provided by the websites that the students found beneficial in helping them understand the text. Other less favorable aspects of reading hypermedia materials included advertisements on the websites, easy access to social media websites, and poor Internet connection and bandwidth speed. These were reported to affect the reading process in such a way that they distracted the participants’ concentration, and this ultimately affected reading comprehension to a certain degree. It is hoped that these findings could provide insights for course developers in developing or selecting websites to suit their teaching and learning purposes.

 

Keywords: TESL students’ perceptions, hypermedia reading materials, reading comprehension.

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 15 Issue 2 / May 2017  pp105‑198

Editor: Rikke Ørngreen, Karin Levinsen

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Keywords: active learning, higher education, student learning, student engagement, online course design and development, interdisciplinary collaboration, frustrations, TESL students’ perceptions, hypermedia reading materials, reading comprehension, virtual containers, STEAM, Open Educational Resources, content distribution platforms, e-learning platform, foreign languages, multilingualism, idiomatic competence, e-learning; global health education; connectivity; bandwidth management; capacity building; educational technologies, Clicker technology, Facebook, and Wiley Plus, Web-based homework, behavioral intention, cognitive load, germane load, e-learning, instructional design, MOOC, online community, Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), Communities of Practice (CoPs), nonverbal communication

 

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