COLLABORATION THROUGH BLOGGING TO DEVELOP WRITING AND SPEAKING SKILLS IN ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSE (ESP) COURSES
University of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Collaboration among students is believed to be very helpful in encouraging students at any level to become more motivated and engaged in the learning process, as well as achieve set tasks (Rummel & Spada, 2005; Johnson & Johnson, 2009; Fernández Dobao, 2012). Providing as well as receiving feedback by both their peers and their instructor via this process can also prove to be beneficial, especially in improving students’ writing skills and language acquisition in general. (Guardado & Shi, 2007).
There has been a growing interest nowadays in incorporating social media in education and in language teaching in particular (Chum Chan, & Tiwari, 2012; Deng & Yuen, 2011; Kang, Bonk, & Myung-Chun, 2011; Halic, Lee, Paulus & Spence (2010). For instance, blogs (or weblogs), which are tools that can be used for communication among students and the instructor, are proving to be effective in enhancing writing and/or reading skills (Montero-Fleta, Perez-Sabater, 2010; Akcay & Arslan, 2010; Noytim, 2010).
The use of weblogs in improving English language learners' writing and/or speaking skills appears to be supported in research (Montero-Fleta, Perez-Sabater, 2010; Akcay & Arslan, 2010; Noytim, 2010; Wright, White, Hirst, and Cann, 2014, 126), as their interactive platforms enable learners to exchange comments and offer feedback, which allows learners to reflect on their own work. While there has been extensive research on the use of blogs in language learning in general, and in English in particular, there has been little focus on whether blogs can be effective in developing learners’ writing and speaking skills in English for Specific Purposes’ courses (ESP). This study will seek to set out the research agenda for the effectiveness of collaboration through peer feedback in enhancing the writing and speaking skills of ESP students in an online setting. A preliminary analysis of data collected suggests that blogs appear to have a positive impact on students’ written and spoken development in an ESP university course.
Keywords: Blogs, collaborative learning, peer feedback, social media.