A Preliminary Report of the Use of Piazza for a Language Class


This paper presents a preliminary report of the project that investigates the impact of using an online forum for language teaching. The online forum used for this project is "Piazza" (https://piazza.com/), which has been widely used in science and engineering courses at MIT. The goal of the project is to learn how digital natives behave and collaborate on the online forum, so that we can move toward the blended learning. First, I provide the motivation of using Piazza for my Japanese language class. I address the types of benefits anticipated from using the forum for my students. Also I provide a brief description of how science and engineering courses at MIT are utilizing this online forum. Second, I present the design and the method of this project while describing my language curriculum. Third, I present various types of analytics on students’ activities on Piazza and address questions such as: (i) “What types of questions are most commonly addressed?”; (ii) “Is there any correlation between students’ grades and their participations in the forum?”; (iii) “Do students help each other on the forum?”. Last I share the subjective feedback from my students regarding the use of the online forum. The project gave me an opportunity to reflect the strength and the weakness of my teaching and language curriculum, and it certainly encouraged me to move toward the blended learning. I am confident that the paper can give us the insights on how an online forum can be utilized effectively in language teaching.

Author Information
Takako Aikawa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2015
Stream: Language education

This paper is part of the ACE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon