The use of technology in language learning and teaching has become increasingly important during the past several decades, and effective application of CMC (computer mediated communication) to the English curriculum has permeated in higher education in Japan. This paper reports on an attempt of applying wiki writing to second-year undergraduate EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course at a national university in Japan and reflects on its benefits and deficiencies, aiming at future pedagogical improvement. To promote critical thinking and academic writing skills, collaborative writing using wiki technology was incorporated into a 15-lesson semester course through WebClass, an integrated e-learning program. Students worked in small groups cooperatively to create a passage for assigned topics. Though each wiki space was arranged for the use of group members only and not accessible by other groups during the writing phase, a teacher was able to observe the developmental process of writing to check the progress. Wiki writing activity seems to be useful from the perspectives of sociocultural theory and interaction hypothesis in that it facilitated collaborative writing by offering the environment where peer comments and more competent students' written text served as ‘scaffolding' to improvement, and peer interaction was promoted. Appropriateness of the CM-based wiki writing activity was evaluated out of consideration for Instructional Design perspectives, using Simplified Motivational Design (Keller and Suzuki, 1996). In addition, results from ‘jugyo hyouka', a questionnaire conducted by the university, indicate a certain degree of satisfaction of students concerning the use of wiki.
Yaoko Matsuoka, International Christian University, Japan
Stream: Technology in the Classroom
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